Who Said Creativity Is Reserved for Work?

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Who Said Creativity Is Reserved for Work?

Episode 61

Today, I’m sharing why creativity is an essential part of fulfillment.

But if you only think you are only creative in your professional life, you are missing out of the depth of fulfillment that is possible for your life.


Last week, I introduced this concept created by Gay Hendricks: zone of genius.

As a quick refresher: Zone of Genius describes the things you truly enjoy doing and are truly skilled at doing. It is less about what you are doing and more about how you are doing it. For example, connecting ideas and communicating complex feelings and ideas are in my zone of genius. I get to express this as I create the podcasts, as I create courses, etc. Podcasting, educating, speaking are not in my zone of genius. Connecting ideas, generating ideas, and communicating those ideas are. Put it simply, zone of genius is the way you do what you do, not what you do.

When I introduced zone of genius, I introduced it by focusing on work because that is the way Gay Hendricks also talks about zone of genius. If you were to only read Gay Hendricks’ work, you would have thought zone of genius only applies to your professional life. 

But I want to challenge you to consider your zone of genius as a tool that doesn’t just apply to creating a fulfilling job, hobby, or career. No, your zone of genius also applies to your personal relationships, the way you are in relationship with yourself, and quite possibly, your entire life.

First, a word on creativity.

Often we use the term “creative” when we are referring to some sort of productive, work-related output. Even if we’re talking about a hobby, there’s something produced at the end of our creativity. And the thing produced is tangible and may be created for some sort of consumption.

For example, Suzy Q feels creative when she’s doing her makeup in the morning. Suzy Q is creating a new look. A new look that can be seen by Suzy and by the people who see Suzy’s face. You might feel creative when you are drawing or painting. There is something tangible that is produced at the end of you playing with your creative gifts.

But, the way I see it, creativity is at the heart of the human experience. In fact, creating is at the heart of the being experience. Plants create oxygen, they can create flowers. To be, to be alive means there is something created through you.

Creating is inherent to being alive. 

If we only view creativity as reserved for hobbies or our professional lives, I believe we miss the fullness of creativity. We also miss the opportunity to explore our zone of genius fully. And worse yet, we miss an opportunity to feel truly fulfilled in our lives.

When we expand our view of creativity to include our entire lives, then I think we can start to touch on the fulfillment and fun that is truly possible by being in our zone of genius and creating.

Let me explain this with an example:

Every time I go back home, I try to have a dinner with my nieces and nephews all together. Just us, no parents. It’s a beautiful tradition that grew out of necessity, I do not live near them and I would not be able to spend qualtiy time with them otherwise. 

There are two rules for these dinners: 1.) No technology. No phones, watches, etc. The purpose is so that we can connect with one another. 2.) We try new food. We have an adventure in the same city we all grew up and we get a chance to learn about ourselves, the world around us, and each other.

I absolutely love these dinners and I love them because I get to be myself fully with people I adore. My nieces and nephews feel loved in the way I love them and I feel love in the way I love them. And I hope by showing up fully as myself, my nieces and nephews can share themselves fully and they can feel how loved they are, and enjoy what it feels like to share themselves honestly.

The niece and nephew dinner is a beautiful expression of my zone of genius as it relates to my relationships. I love spending intimate, quality time with the people I love. I love listening to what they have to say and from what I can tell, they love to be listened to. I love trying new things with people I love and from what I can tell, they love the adventure as well. It is some of my favorite times ever.

How can you tell me my niece and nephew dinner is not one of the most beautiful creations I’ve made? Tell me how those memories, that love, and the bond we’ve created is not a beautiful expression of my zone of genius?

You see, we cannot help but to create as living beings. We are creating all the time.

And the degree to which we are creating out of love, creating out of a place that is generative, and positive, and is authentically us (hint, hint our zone of genius), that’s the degree to which we feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives.

Zone of genius and creativity, are not reserved for work. They are not reserved for hobbies alone. 

I want us all to consider this question: what would it mean to show up at my best (not perfectly, but in health) in every single area of my life? 

The specifics for each person will be different. But ultimately, showing up fully in our lives feels and looks and tastes a lot like love. A lot like love free to be, without addition or subtraction.

That my friend, is zone of genius. That my friend is creativity at it’s finest. 

Love. And love is not only reserved for work.

intro and outro music: danosongs.com

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Danielle Callendar