What do you ache for? Is there a goal that seems just out of reach? Are you longing for a deeply satisfying career or a meaningful and purpose filled retirement? Do you yearn to follow your bliss, climb out of ruts, or leave the status quo behind? Or maybe you’d just love to bring the joie back into the vivre. If it becomes a struggle it can be exhausting!
A gap can emerge between what you want and what you have; where you want to be vs where you are. That space can often feel like an abyss. You feel like you’re standing on the edge and looking out into nothing and that you are all alone.
That gap is your creative play zone.
When I was a little girl we had a swing set in our backyard. It was a simple set. Two swings, a small glider and a monkey bar on each end. The four poles that held it all together were anchored in small cement feet on which my father had carved his and my mother’s initials: pk+ rk.
I loved to swing. I can feel the pumping action even as I type this. And, as I pumped that swing, I would sing. When I taught my granddaughter to swing we sung. It’s a requirement. The louder you sung the higher you swung! Or maybe it’s the other way around. No matter.
Our backyard was a safe place to be. Fenced, and accessible only through a small walkway on the side of the house, it was its own world. We could sing, swing standing up, hang upside down on the monkey bar and be on our own with no supervision.
Back then the yard was big. It got smaller as we grew. No, it wasn’t perspective. As we got bigger the house got bigger. An addition took up yard space; pools grew from kiddie pools to big ovals with a deck. Eventually, the swing set got crowded out and fun went from boisterous singing to cool lounging in a bikini.
Where does creative play go?
A time filled with the moment. The only rules were those you made up on the spot, in a safe place without judgment or comparison, a place to feel exuberance throughout your whole body. No gaps; just fluid movement from one brilliant idea to the next.
6 Ways to Slip into Your Creative Play Zone and make your way to the things you ache for
1. Ask yourself if the gap is really as big as it feels. What is the essence of what you want? Draw on the mindfulness of children at play and check your personal sandbox. Are any elements of your dream already there? Awareness is always the place to start. With this awareness you’ll feel more pleasure and appreciation and moving forward will become easier. Think about using those essences as a bridge.
2. Is the other side a little foggy? Often we feel a yearning for something but can’t put a finger on it. Like the feeling of hunger with no idea what will satisfy it. What are some ways to gain clarity? One way is to not strain for it. Play a more Kaizen-like game of twenty questions by asking yourself one small question at a time. Don’t push for an answer; let your inspiration emerge. It will if you don’t bully it. Be a kind friend to yourself.
3. Be selective in your playmates. This is your playground and you get to make the rules. Consider holding at arm’s length those who will tell you what to do and how to do it. Hang a “keep out” sign for the ones who pass immediate judgment on a fresh, new idea. Be especially wary of the naysayers (as well as the well-meaning) who tell you it’s already been done or you’re too old or it’s too hard. NOT!
4. Let your dreams evolve the same way childhood games did. As one client told me, “I know something’s ahead. I just don’t know what it is… yet.” (Hire a coach!) Adopting a let’s see attitude instead of having a concrete end game will open up possibilities not even considered. Goals are great but let them be fluid. It really is about the journey, hackneyed as that may sound. (Remind me to tell you about a long-ago car ride in search of the Delaware Water Gap.)
5. Consider that there can be a world of riches in the gap. It could be like going into your grandmother’s attic and finding a whole new dimension. Or a scavenger hunt where the objects to be discovered pop up on their own and give a hint of where to go next. It’s a sense of adventure that can bring the gap to life. Sometimes you need to fall into the gap rather than bridge it. Yes, it might be part of the journey.
“Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people.”- Earl Nightingale."
6. Are you really alone? Look around you. Who else is there? How might you band together. It’s hard to do it alone. It stinks to feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out (Hint: we never do) As adults we can look back and see how just about every teenager feels the same insecurity and fear and yet each one still feels that her zit is the only one visible. Trust me, there are many folks out there who are feeling just the way you do! And, with the internet that number becomes bigger and bigger each day. Find a group whose interests pique yours. Join a master mind. Pick your head up and go out into the world and explore others’ playgrounds. Find new friends, a new tribe.I did that years ago when I first left my corporate job. I never knew these wonderful folks were out there! They made all the difference for me as I found my way across my gap. They provided dots for me to connect. They still do.
It really is all about creative play.
Actually, there’s lots more than this but let’s start here. Let’s pull back the curtain and take any mystery away. Oh, and don’t get hung up on the “creativity” part. It doesn’t mean you need to be working on something in the arts. It means you will tap into your creativity – yes, you are a creative soul – and use creative thinking and creative tools to get where you want to go. The creativity part is not as much about your goal in coaching as it is about how you will get there.
And we will do all this in a rich space that is confidential, safe and accepting.
So, where do we start?
First, I will ask you a lot of questions. Especially in the beginning.
I ask you what brings you to coaching. In general, people hire a coach to help them reach a goal. That goal can be any number of things. It could be figuring out who you’ll be in the second half of life; wanting more joy in life; wanting to find “you 2.0”; looking to get back some of who you used to be and yes, it could be that there’s a book inside you screaming to get out or you’re not getting to your ______ (you fill in the blank).
I ask you what gets in the way. Often, it’s those old gremlins of procrastination, fear, self-sabotage, feeling overwhelmed or not enough time. Sometimes it may just be that you need the catalyst of coaching: the accountability, the appointment, the saying it out loud to someone else. Getting your dreams out of your head and into the world can be a gigantic jumpstart!
Second, you talk, I listen.
My ears are scrunched. I listen very hard to hear what you’re saying and what might be between the lines. I tell you what I’m hearing and let you tell me more. I want you to feel heard and witnessed because sometimes a coaching session is the only place this will happen for you! Listening might prompt some more questions and I will continue to listen. I don’t tell you what to do. The best solutions come from you. These solutions will be the most resonant and make the most sense for you. When that’s the case they become much more do-able. I’m the one holding the light so you can see them.
Third, I get you to your next small step.
The small steps of Kaizen let us build sustainable momentum while engaging the thinking part of the brain. "]This works so much better than expecting big leaps that engage the fight or flight response and get us nowhere. We don’t stop at a small step; the small step gives us a success moment that makes us feel like continuing. Which we do. One small step at a time.
A small step could look like asking yourself a small question over the next few days and seeing what comes to mind. It could be five minutes of doing something you’ve been wanting to do. If, after five minutes, you want to continue, great! If not, you’ve kept your commitment, done what you said you would do and that’s success. Having said all that, a really important part of #Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching is that if you don’t get to your small step I still want you to show up next time. The step may not have been small enough. It may not have been the best step. Come back and we’ll explore it and tweak it. Or you may have made a creative detour which is normal and very okay. Or you may have done many other things for which you need to give yourself credit. We’ll do that, too.
I will continue to listen intently and ask you more questions. You will sense the next best step for you. And, step by step, you’ll move toward your goal with joy and wonder and ease.
How might this make a difference for you? Schedule a 45 minute free discovery call here and find out!
When I first started my coaching business 7 years ago I was gung-ho. Although a self-proclaimed networking avoider, I started calling people and making connections. I even went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I didn’t join but I did make a connection that continues and I did get some work out of it.
I met people who were so much more aligned to who I was. I no longer felt like a square peg in a round hole as I did in my full-time corporate job. Eyes didn’t glaze over when I talked about what was dear to my heart. People didn’t squirm and pass sidelong looks at each other. And, really, I’m not that weird!
I had found my tribe. But it was lonely. And the longer I went the more I knew how much I didn’t know! I was full of ideas but couldn’t figure out how to bring them to life.
Looking for support, I started joining groups. There were informal get-togethers, Toastmasters, writing groups, discussion groups. Then someone invited me to join a #master mind group. I had no idea what it was but I jumped in.
I learned about Napoleon Hill and his studies and his view of the “power of the master mind.” He said “no two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” Great! I was in.
That master mind group fell apart. Another group became more of a social group which was wonderful but didn’t help me move forward. I tried to put another one together but the commitment was missing.
I still believed in the concept of a master mind and was convinced it was a great answer to the solitude of entrepreneurship. There had to be a better way to put them together. I believed they would work better with a facilitator. I knew what I needed but couldn’t find it.
Then I found fellow Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach, Mary McDowall, who had the same idea. We knew what we needed and knew we were not alone. So we created it.
The KMI Master Mind was born!
KMI Masterminds create space that supports you with imaginative tools, no pressure and permission to be yourself.
(And it doesn’t have to be just about business.) Free from comparisons. Free from competition. Free to be who you are and operate in the way that works best for you. Freedom that clears the way to sustainable momentum with some ease and joyful anticipation.
Mary and I have seen the results. We use the techniques in our collaboration. We see the progress of the members of the Master Minds we run. We see the impact of the facilitator training program. It works. People thrive in a KMI Master Mind. We’re thrilled!
You can read more about it here on our website.
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Kathy Kane blogs about the creative process in the everyday, in writing and in the magical transition to the second half of life.
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