How to Live Creatively When You Think You're Not Creative

I'm not the creative type. I'm just not -- never have been. I can't sing, draw, my paintings look like a third grader's, I can't cook and scrapbooking makes me nauseous. Don't ask me to brainstorm on new ideas for increasing productivity (just work harder?) and please just let me stay in my box instead of asking me to think outside of it.

In my college days, I thought the typical artist/poet/early 19th century French Literature majors were cute, but they weren't real life. Real life was graduating, starting out at a boring job, working your way up to a higher position at same boring job, buying your first Pottery Barn sofa, etc.--this is just what we do. But after all of doing all of the "normals", all of us, even the accountants, insurance salesmen, actuaries (ok, maybe not actuaries) feel a pull to do something more. It's kind of a deep rustling -- like there's something missing. It may just be indigestion or it may be the pull of creating, doing, being that makes us feel good, satiated -- alive. I feel strongly that we all were born with a talent -- a gift let's call it -- that no one else quite has, but it goes unnoticed since it may just fall outside the realm of the traditional definition of artistry. Maybe we just need to be creative with our definition of creativity -- it's likely right in front of us -- just waiting for us to tap in. Here are some things to think about that just may give you an "Aha" moment (thanks, Oprah):

1) What Do You Do Well? Let's be honest, very few of us are the next Mozart or Rothko or Beyoncé -- so don't quit your day job--but we all do have something special. In fact, it's so personal and ingrained that you probably use it/do it/embody it everyday. Are you a fabulous organizer (of people or things)? Can you talk to a post? Do you make people laugh? Can you make a mean cocktail? These are all talents, but I bet your don't even regard them that way. Why? Because they come naturally to you--they just are you. Realizing these gifts is a first step to finding your natural creativity.

2) What Makes You Different? Once you begin to acknowledge some of your inherent talents--think about how you make them individual to you? I love this one because it helps to ask someone you like/love/completely trust to write down a few things about you that they admire or that they think are unique about you. The list could be endless, and although it may be hard for you to actually listen to (and believe) all of the beautiful and special things that they say--try to sit in it. Allow yourself to feel it. Yes, that is you. You are a person who has special gifts that are peculiar only to you and people love you for them. For instance, maybe your ability to talk to a post also makes you a really thoughtful and effective communicator to whom people will listen. Or your OCD about organization innately helps you to bring people together for a common cause. Or your love of reading makes you an exquisite conversationalist. And if you can make a fabulous cocktail? Well, you can pretty much do anything.

3) What Makes You Feel Alive? Think about the moments when you feel sweet, at peace, encouraged--full. I dare even call it "At Home" because it is where your senses rest and feel secure. You can't purchase it or eat it or drink it. Trust me, I've tried. No--this feeling is one you feel deeply -- in your belly. Like it's smiling. When or where do you feel it? Is it when you are hiking? Or when you are petting your dog? When you are volunteering at a shelter or with children? Or when you just encouraged all of your colleagues at the Christmas party to do the Electric Slide? It's different for everyone. (And yes, everyone needs someone to start the Electric Slide at a lame event--let's just be honest.)

4) Use All of These to Evolve Some Part of Your Life or Someone Else's. By seeing and using what comes easily for us, that also makes our bellies smile and our brains at peace, we are tapping into our own very unique and personal brilliance. Our own form of creativity. We don't have to sit down at an easel or pound out a manuscript--we can each be creative in what we do everyday. If you make people laugh--don't be afraid to lighten up your office with your humor. People will noticeably feel happier in your presence, and they don't even know why. If you are a supreme organizer, don't be afraid to speak up and ask to help with a fundraiser or at an organization that could use your help. If you thrive in the outdoors, invite some others to join you. Take your kids with you and let them live new experiences through your eyes. Your passion will be contagious.

5) Then Try New Stuff. Once you feel/know/live what makes you distinctive and how that affects the people and world around you--broaden it. Introduce yourself to new ideas, places, people or things that you would never have thought you might enjoy. Once you let yourself do and be what you naturally enjoy and are good at--new ideas will be drawn to you--and you to them. Maybe your love of nature does take you to gardening or your empathy towards pets leads you to starting a charity or your humor allows you to throw one whopper of a dinner party--even if you just pick up take-out. The best part about it is the affect you will have on everyone around you. Because what you are doing or saying or how you are acting is fun for you--you make it fun for everyone else. And guess what? All of that will inspire their innate creativity too. Sweet.

The point is that we are all creative. We can put our individual mark on what we do everyday--just by using our respective gifts. Try new things, yes, but don't get yourself all in a tizzy if you can't master iambic pentameter. We can all create a life that is amazing and alive and really fulfilling by just adding our flavor to everything we do and to our interaction with all of those around us. We can sprinkle it on everything. I mean, it's crazy how much more fun the DMV is when the patrons are doing the Electric Slide in the queues. It's Electric.