Navigating Changing Winds…

Dolly Parton once said, “You can’t change the direction of the wind but you can adjust your sails.” Those of you who registered for our summer camps will have received your email this morning letting you know that we’re adjusting ours.

Though we’ve received great support and interest in our summer program it’s become clear that the costs aren’t lining up quite as expected and, as a result, The Creativity Campus is changing tack.

Instead of focusing on the daily camp this summer we’ll be honing in on our weekend workshops for parents and children and our Harnessing Creativity events for adults.

I’ll also be coaching entrepreneurs as a corporate culture mentor at one of Toronto’s leading technology incubators.

In keeping with the passion behind The Creativity Campus, we’re exploring, creating, inspiring and connecting.

Our first parent and child workshop will be on July 20th at a particularly fruitful space (more details to come!) and many more unique events are on the way.

Just as I began writing this, trying to come to grips with sharing the news and feeling a little disappointed, Oprah’s 2013 commencement speech at Harvard crossed my desk.  She encountered her hardest professional moments after she launched OWN last year and in the speech talks about how she intended to turn her ship around.

No surprise, it’s an inspring address. Thank you Oprah, for the reminder that life is just trying to move us in another direction…

Today’s a day to remember, those who succeed see challenges as opportunities for innovation and growth. We’re taking this as a chance to focus in, to get more specific and deliver even more valuable strategies to kids, parents and business people.

Where’s your opportunity today?

A Smooth Sea Never made A Skilled Sailor

My Creative Experiment – Silence, Day 6.

In today’s silence my heart is singing.

I’m inspired, energized, happy and connected.

Despite gloomy weather for most of the day I’ve been wandering the city and checking out one of its most creative spaces – Harbourfront.

I don’t know why I don’t live there. By the water and bent on cultivating the craft oriented talents of Canadians, at the Harbourfront Centre I saw three amazing exhibits, a guy blowing glass and a load of kids having an amazing time exploring the space. Then I ate lunch looking out over the lake surrounded by different languages as work continued to replace a grotty parking lot with a beautiful, plant filled square. I even saw the beauty in some seagulls. It was heavenly.

There’s loads going on there all day everyday and in June a jazz renowned festival kicks off so I’d suggest you have a peek at the roster if you’re looking for something cool and new to get into.

On another note, physical activity is an amazing way to occupy silence I discovered today that running is particularly conducive to happy quiet.

I’ve only just started running this month but already I’m seeing the benefits. I picked it up because I wanted an activity that was all mine, that I could do anywhere in the world and that would ensure that my heart and body stay fit as I get older.

The wonderful thing about it in this context, however, is that there is a beautiful sense of community in running. Through the parks and along trails I pass other runners who are out in the early morning. They smile and continue along, dog walkers do the same, smiling, active and enjoying the shared space. It’s a unique place where no one is asking anything of anyone else but instead enjoying the calm, pre-work moments in nature.

It is a beautiful example of natural rhythm, the human machine and the subtle energy that flows through the city’s ravines, parks and trails.

Running is meditative in itself but I also did a traditional guided meditation today. Meditation is an amazing, deep and relatively quick way for us to tap into the relaxed, open mindset that encourages creation. There are many different reasons and ways that meditation can be used but as part of my own (almost) daily practice I like to use Chopra Centre meditations to help me find balance, peace, focus and clarity.

At first I thought they were pretty hokey and it was hard to connect to them but more and more I’m finding that, as with everything, what you get from guided meditation is what you take from it. For me, Davidji, though maybe a bit airy fairy, has a wonderful voice and incorporates beautiful poetry and themes that I can really connect to. If you’re looking to try out meditation, the free online Chopra library might be a good place to start.

As the old proverb says and Florence repeats – It’s always darkest before the dawn. It certainly is nice to be past the negativity of yesterday.

If you’re feeling down on this cloudy afternoon, I hope you’ll turn up the volume and Shake It Out beauties,

xx

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Harbourfront Centre

My fixation with TED talks

So, if you’ve been following along at all you will have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to TED.

As anyone who is friends with me on a social network will attest to – I love TED. I love watching, discussing, sharing and being inspired by the 20 minute talks.

I love their premise, I love their soul and I love that they can be seen in dozens of languages around the world. I love the freedom of knowledge they represent and the limitlessness of our potentials as humans who choose to dare greatly.

Funny that should use that term, Dare Greatly. It’s actually from my very favourite TED talk, one that I make a point of rewatching every few months. It’s a talk that has changed my life, led to my business and informs all of  my interactions. Whether I succeed or not I try to keep it in mind as I interact with friends, colleagues, family and kids. Especially kids.

Maybe you’ve seen this already but I encourage you to have another watch, there is so much value to be derived whether you watch it with yourself, a friend, work or kids in mind…

Here’s to TED – Enjoy!

A Friday Dance Party Anthem for Courage and Creation

Sara Bareilles released her new single “Brave” this week (video below) and it’s all about being courageous with ourselves.

As the lyrics run over the band practice you might be tempted to dismiss this as a poppy girl’s music video but there’s a real and important theme here. We all have that dismissive and critical voice (Brene Brown calls it our inner gremlin) that insists that we’re not good enough, not creative enough etc.

It’s funny because that voice is somehow always louder than the praise from colleagues, support from friends and general good vibes that are all around us if we pay attention. A huge part of creativity (as was the theme of Monday’s post) is about moving past that cranky voice inside and showing off what you’ve created.

That’s why this is today’s dance party anthem at The Creativity Campus. For ourselves, for our kids, for the development of amazing new ideas we need to be brave.

So – today, Friday take a creative chance. As Sara sings – “Let the words fall out…Show me how big your brave is”.

Turn up the volume and dance like no one’s watching.

Happy Friday!

L

The Facts About Creativity

There’s a lot that’s ambiguous about creative work but there are two definites.

1) Creativity takes courage

2) Mistakes are mandatory

In my mind creativity is about coming up with a new idea or approach and expressing it. It is essential to let the work out to the world, to your friends or to your colleagues and that can be really scary.

For most of us our creative lives started when we were little kids with make believe, storytelling and pretend games. The wonderful thing when you watch kids creating is that they really get involved. They see one friend coming up with ideas, performing or acting silly and they get right into it themselves. There is no time made for thoughts other than – “That looks fun!” or “I have an idea too!”.

Really, they have yet to grow the part of their social brain that says “Keen isn’t cool” or “What if I make a mistake? That would be embarrassing.”

This is why creativity is ballsy. It’s why it’s work. We have to fight the experiences of our past and discouraging voices that make us want to stay quiet.

The great thing about doing workshops (I was at an amazing Tom Schlesinger one this weekend) is that you realize that you are not at all alone in this. We all want to express ourselves in some way and we’re all kinda freaked out by actually doing it.

Much of the reason I get worked up is that I’m used to striving for absolute perfection. The thing is, that’s impossible in life and even more impossible in creativity. One thing I keep noticing though is that the more that I am brave, the more mistakes I’m ok with making, the more those around me get into it. The more they try, the more they express themselves and the more they realize that mistakes can be silly and fun but they can also be valuable in both work and life.

The most important part of creativity is taking risks and making mistakes.  Original work means there will be nothing to compare it against in order to define the standards of perfection. We’ve been trained against it, but really, do you think symphonies are written in one try? Great novels in one draft? Amazing businesses with the first plan or executed task? We are supposed to learn as we go.

What makes it easier is that original work comes from inside of each of us and is a result of our own mix of experiences, knowledge, passions and, sometimes, pain. This means we’re not only hardwired to create because we’re human but we have all of the material we need to make completely unique work!

I know we’re not all artists or writers or actors or ad men but we are all human and there are creative ways to do math, walk dogs, write news, deliver papers and approach our businesses.

Today join me in my challenge and find a way to stray from your comfort zone and be courageous with your ideas.

Trial and error is recognized everywhere else – why not give it a chance in your life too?