Talent is All About the Possible

Everyone is talented – it’s natural to us.

Watching my 2 ½ year old granddaughter over the course of the last week has reminded me of that. I’ll see another expression of it this weekend at my grandson’s 5th birthday party – all about dragons! And even in the curious eyes of his 4 month old sister – her expressions are just waiting to blossom.

As the parent of 4 children, I think I knew that at one time – but the youngest is now 20, and those kinds of memories tend to fade…

It took the exuberance of my granddaughter and a special focus on children at my church last Sunday to remind me of the truth in the title above.

The reality is that everyone is talented. It’s very evident in watching and listening as a young child learns to talk.  Language is a creative tool from the first words we speak to mastering the art of storytelling.

Then there’s the fridge art, the bathtub crayons, and the sidewalk chalk masterpieces – all reminding us of the evidence of emerging ability.

Talent isn’t just the ability to paint a portrait, compose a symphony, or sculpt a statue – it’ about the possible.

A creative mind is always working.

Where and how it gets expressed is your choice.

A new world is waiting for your creative mind and talent, so make a choice: Focus on the abilities that come naturally to you and make things possible.

No excuses!

part of a series of ideas to shape and tone your creative muscles

Inspired and adapted from The Imagineering Workout

The Disney Imagineers

Imagineering logo


Emulate Chefs

With the culinary art/leadership connection going on, and the fact that I’ve been rereading Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s great book “Rework“, I thought the following post from last year would be appropriate again.

You’ve probably heard of Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Jacque Pepin, or Julia Child. They’re great chefs, but there are a lot of great chefs out there. So why do you know these few better than others?

Because they share everything they know.

They put their recipes in cookbooks and show their techniques on cooking shows. They want you to take what they have developed and make it your own.

Great organizations should share everything they know, too. Don’t be paranoid and secretive, but be open and generous.

A recipe is much easier to copy than a business idea. Shouldn’t that scare someone like Mario Batali? Why would he go on TV and show you how he does what he does? Why would he put all his recipes in cookbooks where anyone can buy and replicate them? Because he knows those recipes and techniques aren’t enough to beat him at his own game. No one’s going to buy his cookbook, open a restaurant next door, and put him out of business. It doesn’t work like that, but many organizations think that’s what will happen if others learn how they do things.

Emulate famous chefs. They cook, so they write cookbooks.

What do you do? What are your “recipes”? What’s your “cookbook”? What can you tell the world about how you operate that’s informative, educational, and promotional?

What’s cooking in your “kitchen” that you should share?


Developing Your Creative Rhythm

A lot of leader conversations I’m having these days center around the concepts of innovation, creativity, and ideation. The past two days’ posts here and here dealt with the concepts found in the book “The Idea Hunter.” Continuing in the same vein but with a little different focus is the book “The Accidental Creative” by Todd Henry.

The author’s quote from the book flap sets the stage perfectly:

“You go to work each day tasked with (1) inventing brilliant solutions that (2) meet specific objectives by (3) defined deadlines. If you do this successfully, you get to keep your job. If you don’t, you get to work on your resume. The moment you exchange your creative efforts for money, you enter a world where you will have to be brilliant at a moment’s notice. (No pressure, right?)”

To attempt to be perpetually brilliant and increasingly productive, without changing the basic habits and structure of your life to accommodate that undertaking, is a futile effort.

Henry develops the following elements as a structure to guide your creative potential, providing you with the stability and clarity to engage your problems head-on.

Focus – in order to create effectively, you need a clear and concrete focus

Relationships – if you want to thrive, you need to systematically engage with other people, in part to be reminded that life is bigger than your immediate problems

Energy – to make the most of your day, you need to establish practices around energy management

Stimuli – if you want to regularly generate brilliant ideas, you must be purposeful about the kinds of stimuli you are putting in your head

Hours – you need to make sure that the practices that truly make you a more effective creator are making it onto your calendar

Practices in each of these five F-R-E-S-H areas provide the foundation for a life that is prolific, brilliant, and healthy.

Wait a minute – you’ve got a problem with the “creative” label? Call yourself anything you want, but if you’re responsible for solving problems, developing strategies, or otherwise straining your brain for new ideas, you are a creative – even if you end up being one accidentally.

– Todd Henry, “The Accidental Creative”