Posted by: healingtheworkplace | December 29, 2010

Personal Leadership, Mindfulness and Creativity!

Hello again!

Today I’d like to explore the concept of personal leadership, creativity and mindfulness.  I ended the last post by saying,

“Being mindful is also a way to improve your problem-solving ability in the moment by making space for creative thoughts to emerge.”

Problem solving and creativity go hand in hand.

As leaders, no matter who we are or what we do, we need to be creative and we need to be good at problem solving.  We are all leaders some of the time!

I used to think that only artists, musicians and writers were creative. Now I understand that we can all be creative whether we are cooking a meal, raising our children, planning our workday, or planting a garden.

As children we are very creative and inventive but as we grow older most of us lose this ability. Some people argue that we lose this ability because we don’t use it.   Once it is gone it’s hard to get back.

According to David D. Edwards in his book, How to Be More Creative, we face three main blocks in our attempt to more creative:

  • Emotional
  • Perceptual
  • Cultural

For most of us the biggest emotional block is the fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, and fear of appearing stupid.

These fears are so strong that we often react quickly, without thinking, to prevent looking foolish or stupid.

The authors of the book Personal Leadership note that,

 “one of the biggest blocks to creativity is identification…being so closely invested in our beliefs and our interpretations of things that we are them and they are us…there is no room for other perspectives and choices.”

In other words our perceptions (beliefs, assumptions and interpretations) limit our ability to see new ways of doing things. We block ideas that don’t “fit” with the way we view the world.

 This is very common. In fact it is something that we all do and it has dire consequences for our workplaces affecting our relationships, our ability to be innovative, our ability to learn new things, even our ability to be good leaders.

So, what can we do?

The following six practices of Personal Leadership described in Schaetti , Ramsey and Watanabe’s book are a place to start:

  • Aligning with vision
  • Engaging ambiguity
  • Cultivating stillness
  • Attending to judgment
  • Attending to emotion
  • Attending to physical sensation

These practices can be learned.  The more you practice the more creative you will become in the face of uncertainty and challenges. To learn more you’ll have to read the book!

I want to leave you with two more quotes from the book Personal Leadership!

 “Mindfulness is a quality of presence that allows us to access the full scope of our intelligence: thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.”

 “Creativity puts us at the center of our own life, as the artist of our own experience, able to tailor uniquely appropriate responses to each situation and encounter.”

 Thanks for listening!    Lesley

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Responses

  1. I found this post (in case you are wondering how people find your posts) by using a Google alert for web postings on mindfulness and creativity. I second the desire to follow you on Twitter – in fact, I just put this post into my tweet scheduler to retweet. It should appear on 5/23/2011 at 4:30 pm under the hashtag #mindfulMonday. On my own account @prnancarrow, that is the day that I focus on finding resources discussing the intersection between mindfulness and creativity that are helpful to me. Then send them out to the universe, and see what comes back. Is your blog an attempt to share knowledge gleaned over years of workplace consulting, or an attempt to generate business, or both? Either way, you need to do more than just hit the post button. Happy to help in any way I can.


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