These 6 Creatives Will Help Reignite Your Creative Genius

Living and working in one of the most unique startup communities for 4 years quickly taught me that entrepreneurship is both magical and destructive.

In the small Vegas startup community that was launched by a famous CEO, we lived in a real-life entrepreneurial wonderland where top minds visited daily, people had the courage and the encouragement to launch their ideas, and art was the cornerstone of every building and event. But, it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows. Many of us had never been entrepreneurs and had a TechCrunch-like vision of founders raising millions, envisioning the success and just how darn fun the whole thing looked. Many of us in the community, including me, had a harsh reality hit us sooner or later when the realizations of struggle, uncertainty, and failure became a very real part of the entrepreneurial journey. I saw a very scary side of business, that sent myself and many into what I call a "functioning depression" and more tragic events that to this day deeply pains my heart to remember.

But I also noticed something else during the down times in our small community. I worked at a large arts festival that happened on the First Friday of every month in downtown Las Vegas, and met many of the artists that showcased at our event. What stuck with me was how positive, fulfilled, and inspired these artists were during their toughest circumstances. And every single time I asked what pulled them through, they said the act of being creative and simply creating was what kept their spirits high, their stress low, and their creations beautiful. Since then, I've always believed that entrepreneurs and anyone feeling the stress of their job can find balance and fulfillment again through rediscovering their creative genius.

I asked 6 highly creative individuals to share their stories to help entrepreneurs and business people alike reignite their creativity and find balance in their daily life.

Greg Kozera
Creative Director at eLearning Mind

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"I've always loved the idea of creating something from nothing. I was always a doodler growing up, but never knew I could take it somewhere. I also got into music, movies, acting, and realized that I got this unmatched natural high from creating. Whether it's to learn or just for the entertainment of it, it's lead and shaped my career. If you met me now, you'd never guess I'm from New York and grew up with the 90-hour a week grind in the restaurant business. But I believe growing up in New York where you "work to live" gave me a competitive edge when I made the move to San Diego, where you "live to work". It was culture shock at first coming from a city where what you did demanded such replies like "I'm the head of marketing" versus San Diego where many would reply "yoga" to that same question.

Today I am the Creative Director at an eLearning creative agency where I get to combine my passions for learning, art and animation into one. Like many business people, I deal with frustrations during the workday, which are the biggest blockers of my mind's eye hindering creativity. So I like to just embrace insanity and let loose after work, whether that's taking my ukulele to the boardwalk and singing super silly songs and dancing, or letting go of those frustrations through surfing. I'm really into making other people smile and they do the same for me. Frustrations melt away when you start contemplating why you are even on this planet right now, at this very moment to begin with. You realize that you get caught up in the grind, but in the bigger picture ask yourself "Am I making this world better?" and "Am I happy with the person I am, and the life I am building?" Asking myself what the heck am I doing on this flying rock in space instantly melts any kind of frustration and centers me."

What is creativity?

"There is a huge misconception about creativity being attached to disciplines like drawing or painting, but it's not attached to any of that. Creativity is attached to intelligence and imagination. Solving a business problem is just as creative as painting a picture."

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

"Stay present in the moment. Whether I am leading a creative meeting, or just sitting under a tree in the sun, I am always immersed in the moment at hand. Enjoy each moment, and trust that your future self can handle whatever is in store for future moments.

Reconnect with nature. There is something so indescribably humbling about being surrounded by something so much bigger than you. This is why surfing has become my religion. Paddling into a wave and feeling so small reminds me to be grateful for all that around me, and that everything is fleeting, including your current worries.

Find your reset button and be responsible for your own work-life balance.
Living in a capitalistic system, you can never put the responsibility of your mental well-being in the hand of your employer. For entrepreneurs, realize when when you've hit your limits, and find time to do things that simply fill your soul, and not your ego. Hit reset and bring the mind back into focus."

Wilson Bridges
Actor

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"I was always that kid in the backyard going on imaginary adventures, inventing stories before I had any inkling storytelling was my calling. That is what art is in every form: storytelling. Whether to move or to emote or to express any piece of human existence, it's an old need imbedded in our history on this planet, and I am only one of a long line of storytellers.

It was an unconscious and natural progression for me to move from telling stories in my backyard to exploring them on the stage. But I never considered it could be a profession till I attended the Governor's School for the Arts in Kentucky, a state funded program that allowed young artists to study their art form for three weeks on a college campus. I attended as a Music Theater student, the bug bit deep, and my experience there shaped the rest of my life.

I was accepted into the music theater program at Baldwin Wallace University, which brought me to New York and a professional career doing what I love. Seniors of the program perform a showcase their final year in New York for agents and casting directors, I secured representation right away, and I'm grateful to say I've been working as a professional actor ever since. I have two national tours under my belt, Cameron Mackintosh's revival of My Fair Lady and the national tour of La Cage Aux Folles, and most recently ended a beautiful production of Lion In Winter as Geoffrey at the St Louis Repertory Theater. When you are earning a paycheck doing what you love, the word "work" never enters your mind. It's replaced with "surreal" and "gratitude" and huzzah!"

What is creativity?

"Creativity is giving yourself permission to be a kid again, before anyone told you what you should or shouldn't be. It's expression without restrictions or expectations. I think most of us as adults strive to learn the lessons we knew instinctively as children. It's important to see the value in finger painting again, whatever that means for you. Kids don't care if what they draw looks anatomically correct or is commercial or tweet-worthy. Creativity is peeling the onion of our years on the planet, and discovering that green joyful center that's always been there, waiting for us to push back tears and dig in."

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

"Write morning pages. Julia Cameron encourages this of her readers in her book "The Artist's Way". All you do is write three pages unreserved, every morning, about anything you want. Creativity is a muscle, so if you want to cultivate it in your life, you have to hit the creative gym.

Be aware of self-maintenance. If I want my creativity to flow, I have to make sure nothing is blocking the pipes. I check-in with myself a lot: where is fear lodging in my life? Where do I feel stagnant or resistant? What voices am I listening to that prevent me living the life I've always wanted? The more things I clear from my path, the more creativity can pour forth.

Take a moment to turn down the white noise in your head that's murmuring like a negative mantra: "You're not good enough"; "You'll never succeed"; "Quit while you're ahead". Getting lost on your way is part of finding yourself, and you will. Simply stopping in your tracks and recognizing what you're doing is not what you want is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT! And sometimes you might find this white noise simply comes from feeling stuck and stagnant in routine. Creativity doesn't flourish when we feel like drones accomplishing the same tasks, day after day. Break up the usual routine of your life and blaze a trail off of the path you've been walking on."

Brock Nordstrom
Artist at Voyager

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"I seem to tackle the theme "creating something out of nothing" with every project I take, and more than anything else I feel the same has happened with my career.

I had a young start in the motion graphics industry, working professionally at age 19 for advertising agencies and production studios. As soon as I saw the first projection mapping videos, coupled with a yearning to create tangible things in real life instead of solely in the digital realm, stirred something inside me. I knew where I wanted to be.

Now, Voyager is my small art studio I run. I create art pieces using the most recent techniques and technical advancements, pushing art and technology as far as I can."

What is creativity?

Creativity is the intelligent organization of elements to achieve a pragmatic or artistic goal.

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

Exploration. My life is a mixture of working on projects and exploring the earth. This past winter I spent as much time as I could in the mountains, studying the cold, crystal structures of H20 in its frozen form. I was fascinated by the contrast of freshly fallen snow versus ice, what bitter wind feels like against bare skin, and what it's like to have your vision reduced to near zero in 40 mile per hour winds as you find your way down a mountain alone. It's a thrilling beautiful thing. I believe it is important to keep a thirsty exploration for what the earth has to offer and implement it into your life every day. You can see and will see this reflected in my work in upcoming projects involving cold, crystallized structures.

Go into nature. Go into silence. Look inside.

Fly Musiq
Artist, Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur

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"I was a former educator. My passion has always been to reach and empower young people.

I was born with the name Cierra Reed, now Cierra Bobo, and raised in a home that cultivated my musical growth. I've been an artist since the age of 5 and have cultivated a sound that is uniquely me. I also grew up as an at-risk teen and it took someone believing in me to shift my direction in life. Because of this, I committed my life to being and catalyzing that shift for thousands of young people, as many as I can reach.

I left the classroom to become a Hip Hop artist, author, and speaker. I now use my creative skills to empower and inspire young people. This has led me to start two companies, my entertainment company and speaking platform FLYMusiq Group LLC, and my nonprofit for inner city girls called FLY Life Inc. In June 2013, I published my first book, "Recognize Your Fly," created to help individuals identify what they were born to accomplish and who they are destined to reach. In the same year, I published my second book titled "Redefine Beautiful" and by 2015, I published a third book, Residue, which is a powerful book discussing the negative effects of unhealthy sexual relationships.My passion to reach young people and help them live from their highest potential is my motivator, therefore, I discipline daily to do what is necessary to be an effective and creative entrepreneur."

What is creativity?

"Creativity is the ability to cause new and inspired things to exist. That is why music and meditation catalyze me to be more creative. It relaxes my mind and births new concepts and ideas."

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

"Have a morning ritual. My daily rituals help me stay creative. I love early morning workouts that I create to music, and I have quiet prayer and meditation time daily. I also study my craft weekly, and watch others for reinvigorated inspiration.

Go back to your reason "WHY". Why did you start this business and why was it a passion for you? Reflect on your reason why rather than the challenges that come with the job. Shift your thinking and focus. Focus on your passion and purpose and don't dwell on the things that are stressful. I live from purpose and passion and that keeps me excited daily about new discovery and opportunities. Challenges are mere puddles that stand in my way, that I have power to jump over."

Ulysses Diaz
Recording Artist, Songwriter, Entrepreneur

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"I always knew that I was meant to inspire and lead a movement, I felt it since birth almost like a longing to re-visit a once lived life. In 2011, I began managing a good friend of mine - naive and not realizing what the music and Hip-Hop industry would entail. Three years later, I found myself in a situation where he and I parted ways due to an ego struggle. I began to find an outlet by writing poems and lyrics. Originally, my outlet was martial arts, but I ran into some issues with the law which landed me on house arrest for 9 months and changed my life for the better, a true blessing in disguise. It was a very difficult chapter in my life because the people I loved and did everything for left my side because I was no longer living for them.

I found a form of expression that gave me my own voice and life. I had a bit of a rough childhood, my father passed at age 9 and this lead to a lot repressed anger and feelings I could not understand. I thought this was just the reality I had to accept until I picked up the pen and began unleashing my thoughts into the world. I quickly realized how many people also lived with repressed anger, pain, and emotions that they hide in lieu of being judged or ridiculed for not being "OK". In that moment, I knew I had found my purpose, which is to inspire and be a voice for the everyday individual whether they're working toward greatness or just looking to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Realizing I found my calling through music transformed me into a relentless machine driven to succeed, the rest is history. Since then, I've formed my movement #MMXIII (The Twenty Thirteen Nation) and strive to be the difference in the world that I want to see by leading through example of artistic, creative, and conscious expression."

What is creativity?

"Creativity to me is the ability to express who you are and how you feel without fear of judgement. Creativity is your individual voice shining through that of the masses and it doesn't matter if you're not good at bringing it to life. Any skill can be acquired through conscious action. As long as you accept yourself as a whole person, good and bad, your light will shine."

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

"Don't have fear in disconnecting from this fast-paced world that we live in to recharge your batteries. Disconnecting and centering yourself is essential to maintaining balance mentally and physically whether it be a hike, painting, or spending time with family. It is important to remind ourselves why we started and who is counting on us.

Maintain balance. I stress that maintained balance is essential to life in general to achieve your dreams, ideas, and passions when they can have a life of their own. In order for you to be able to cultivate them in an environment where they can flourish, you must first make sure you are the best you can be. Balance will bring the peace you need because it breeds a stillness of mind that allows you to go at things with a grounded mind, body, and soul. Define what balance means to you and work towards it on a daily basis by planning your day in advance. Be positive and understand you are in full control of your reality and how you let things affect you."

Shana Ames
Stand Up Comedian and Actor

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"My biggest challenge has always been having a lot of different interests. It was hard to channel into one path. I majored in Sociology because I have always been interested in people and how they react, and after graduation that translated into a lot of things. Though I had always had an interest in pursuing acting, I decided to go with an interest aligned with job stability and bounced around industries through the years. From non-profit and publishing, to restaurant and retail, I pursued things that excited me and attained a wide variety of work experience. Then one day I finally noticed a pattern. I kept pursuing "the new" and once I felt like I had hit a plateau in whatever I was doing I lost interest. I realized I was bored, unhappy, and would have to psych myself up every single morning I had to go to work. I didn't want to live that way anymore.

I decided to quit my job and all of my friends thought I was crazy. I was making a really great living, but even though my job seemed glamorous, I wasn't waking up feeling creatively engaged. And so, feeling like a black sheep I moved into my current career path and followed my passions of acting and stand-up​ comedy. Anyone looking to make a big change that doesn't make sense to the outside world, just do it, because the odds are, society is not going to give you the support or approval you seek to take the leap."

What is creativity?

"Creativity is whatever makes you feel alive and engaged. It doesn't follow the traditional notion, is intrinsic, and takes many forms. You can get creative with accounting, as long as that's what makes you feel alive and inspired."

Tips for reconnecting to your creative side

"Ask yourself, "Would I do this if I wasn't getting paid?" If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track, but if the answer is no then it's time to rethink your current job situation.

Make sure to get out of your "workspace". Whether you are in an office or work at home, make sure to get out and switch it up. Go to a coffee shop, take a walk, or check out a coworking space for a change of pace.

Manage your time wisely. The admin parts of your daily work can feel redundant and draining, so get smart with your schedule. Make sure to schedule your least favorite parts of the job and then when that time is up, stop and do something you love.

Try improv. This is so valuable for any business person. You learn a plethora of hard to teach skills, and also get a nice escape from reality to really expand and grow your mind."