Do you view yourself as creative?

In 6th grade my art teacher, who knew my mother well, remarked to me during one fateful class, “You just aren’t creative like your mother is.” An art teacher confusing creativity with the ability to draw!

I didn’t realize his mistake (on many levels), and my mistake in internalizing his words until well into adulthood. Of course, when we say something to a young person, they don’t have the wherewithall yet to NOT internalize something or sort out the true meaning. I certainly did not have that awareness or capability.

I believed him because he WAS the art teacher- he should know creativity, or lack thereof, when he sees it, right?

I have a great client whom I have had the privilege to work with for several years now. I use the VIA Character Strengths with all of my clients and when he first took it (, creativity came out at the bottom. He was clearly convinced that he was not creative, despite my telling him that all 24 are strengths at some level.

It turned out that his definition of creativity was to be able to paint or draw. At first this made sense to a point, but under closer investigation we learned that he is an excellent woodworker, making many beautiful things all year long. So his definition was very narrow.

Once we began to talk it through, he was able to widen his view of what creativity actually is. 

We started by looking at the definition, part of which is the use of the imagination or original ideas. Aha! He’s so creative- and so am I!

It turns out that my client is a brilliant writer, planner, trainer, creator of experiences and more. Rich with creativity.

With new knowledge and a new mindset, I was able to see my creativity, that I did have it. I could see it in my thinking. The way I design my life, curate my books and learning, the way I place things in my home, but mostly in my ideas and how to implement them. I also see it in how I have created my business from ideas to reality and how I keep reinventing it. I see it in the beautiful photos I take with my iPhone, just because I enjoy it.

So, as always, mindset and what you think about something will determine your experience- for an hour, or in your life.

What is your creativity mindset? Where do you see it at play in your life? What’s obvious and not so obvious? What new ways can you embrace and expand creativity in your life?

By the way, with just a switch in mindset and belief and use of his creativity on purpose he took the VIA again and creativity skyrocketed as a stronger strength. Mindset truly is everything.

What could 2023 be like if you fully owned your creativity all year long?