I have just returned from a week’s holiday on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. Each day, we explored a different bit of the coastal path. The Husband and I have very different approaches to a simple thing like a walk. For him, the goal is to achieve a certain distance in a certain time. For me, it’s about stopping and looking and taking a zillion photographs that may later get fed into paintings.
We could drive each other mad, him marching on and me constantly hanging back. Over the years, we have learned to compromise. The best solution seems to be for him to do a longer walk on his own at his own pace early in the morning or late afternoon. That way, he doesn’t mind a slower pace with me. It’s just one of a thousand little compromises we have made over years of marriage and living with kids. Compromises are a necessary part of making relationships work, whether at home or at work.
However, there is one area where you don’t have to compromise one little bit, and that is in expressing your personal creativity. It may take a while to recover that sense of freedom if you still allow the discouraging words of some parents, teachers or critics to jangle in your head every time you pick up a pencil. But actually, there is no right or wrong way to be creative. Only your way. And if you don’t express it, no-one else on the planet can.
Allowing yourself to be creative takes practice. It’s a little bit like using a muscle: it might be a bit painful when you haven’t exercised for a while, but if you can make it part of your routine, you feel the benefit. And if you can express some of that creativity in your work too, everyone wins.
Giving yourself permission to be creative is about valuing your own ideas: they matter. Notice them, capture them and develop them. Without compromises.