Creativity is Inventing

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, risk-taking, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

—Mary Lou Cook, late Peace Activist

During the Personal Excellence Workshop that begins each of my coaching programs, my clients list their personal strengths. I am somewhat surprised that less than half of them include creativity in their list.

When prompted about their level of creativity, they humbly deflect, stating things like, “On Occasion / Not Really,” or “That is why I do _____ for a living.”

I suggest that we all are far more creative than we believe and that we all create our lives each and every day, for better or for worse.


How can you take Mary Lou Cook’s coaching to increase your daily level of inventing, experimenting, risk-taking, rule breaking, and mistake making to expand your creative capacity and make your life a lot more fun?

Happiness Lies in the Joy of Achievement

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Image of a man surrounded by bubbles

Image from Unsplash by Brandon Morgan

If I could go back in time, and Roosevelt had asked me for coaching on this statement, I would have encouraged a bit of editing.

What if it instead read, “Happiness lies in the joy of creative effort and the thrill of achievement”?

I suggest that the time we spend in our creative efforts could comprise the bulk of our days, whereas the thrill of achievement is often more finite and short-lived.


Where and in what ways can and will you use and apply your most creative and joyful efforts to realize the thrilling achievements and happiness you desire?

When Your Mind is Completely Open

“When your mind is completely open and ‘unfurnished,’ you will have plenty of space for creative thoughts.”

—Barbara Ann Kipfer, author of Self Meditations

Image of a broom leaning against a blank wall

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It’s spring. Time to do some cleaning and uncluttering. With the warmer, longer days, by all means open the windows, get out your cleaning tools, and go for it!

Beyond your closets, garage, basement, and junk drawers, spend some time examining the issues, challenges, worries, and upsets that create congestion in your mind. Cleaning them out will allow room for greater creativity, enhanced well-being, and happiness.


Here are a few uncluttering techniques you can try. I have found many to be helpful:

    • Discussions with a close friend or trusted advisor
    • Conducting a “brain dump” exercise to identify and capture on paper the issues running through your mind
    • Meditation to enhance mindfulness and self-awareness
    • Prayer and/or discussions with a spiritual advisor

Actual uncluttering and giving things away helps a bunch as well!

Great Flames follow little sparks

“A great flame follows a little spark.”

—Dante Alighieri, Late Middle Age Italian Poet

Image of hand flicking a lighter

Image from Flickr by Jeffrey

When was the last time you experienced a spark of genius, or a really good idea?  What happened to this spark once you saw its small but brilliant glow?

Did it go out quickly, or in keeping with today’s quote, did you add more fuel and oxygen until it burst into flame?


Examine the projects and the people in your world that represent the sparks of possibility and greater potential.

How can you fan and fuel these projects and people so they can burn brightly and light the way for others?

Friday Review: Creativity


What place does creativity have in your life? Here are a few creativity-related posts you may have missed. Click on the link to read the full message.


“Great minds like a think.”





“Criticize by Creating.”






“You don’t get into something to test the waters. You go into things to make waves.”






Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Image of kids in Halloween Costumes

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October 31 marks the ancient Celtic Holiday of Halloween, which later became All Soul’s Day in the Roman Catholic tradition.

For us it marks the final turn from summer to deep autumn, when pumpkins are ripe, trees are colorful, and some folks are full of mischief.


Consider taking on a new goal that scares you just a bit.

The Art of Happiness

“Happiness is not an accident, it’s an art. You don’t hope for happiness, you plan for happiness. You have to weave happiness like a tapestry.”

—Jim Rohn, American Motivational Author

Image of tapestry on a loom

Image from Flickr by monnibo

My wife Wendy is very creative. She heads several women’s groups focused on crafts, including many forms of needlework.

I admire the time and attention to detail these patient women put into their art, as they literally weave pieces of themselves into their work.

Imagine your life as a quilt, with a wide variety of fabrics that you have worn along your journey. Make sure to capture all of the stand-out, deeply felt memories that have brought you great happiness along the way.


Begin today adding more happy experiences to your existing quilt, or start planning what new and beautiful pieces of art you intend to create moving forward.

Museums are the custodians of epiphanies.

“Museums are the custodians of epiphanies.”

—George Lois, American Art Director and Designer

Image of two people walking in the woods

Image from Flickr by Gavin Clarke

How many of your most creative ideas come when you are working diligently at your desk?

Venturing to new and varied places could help you uncover potential incubators of future insights and epiphanies.

Consider a few ideas for places to get out of your “box” and think differently:

  • Take a long shower
  • Take a walk in nature
  • Meditate
  • Practice rhythmic exercise such as Yoga
  • Take a long, scenic drive
  • Visit a museum


Where and in what ways can you shift your perspective by shifting your physical position to enhance your creative capacities?

Feel free to reply to this post with your own epiphany-generating strategies.

Create What you Want

“Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be part of.”

-Geri Weitzman, PhD, California Psychologist

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Doing work I love is one of the greatest joys I know. Who wouldn’t want to wake up each day – especially Mondays – to a vocation or career that utilizes their strengths and unique abilities? Who wouldn’t want a career that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others and the world around them?

I was inspired by the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games to start my career as a coach. In that ten-day span, 5,000 athletes worked with about 2,000 coaches, producing gold medal performances. I thought I’d bring this idea to the business world to help people pursue even greater levels of performance in their professional and personal lives.

The challenge was that business coaching wasn’t considered a “profession” at that time. Still, the idea seemed to be such a great fit for me, and I had gained a great deal from studying the few people who were beginning to be known as coaches. I resigned from my 12-year career as a pharmaceutical industry sales and marketing professional, and created a coaching career for myself. That was 24 years ago – and the best career decision I ever made!


Where in either your personal or professional worlds do you need to create something for yourself so that you can be a part of it?

“You don’t get into something…”

“You don’t get into something to test the waters. You go into things to make waves.”

—Author Unknown

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Image from

When was the last time you went swimming? What approach did you take as you entered the water? Are you a toe-dipper?  A cannon-baller? Something in between?

Many people take a “safety first,” somewhat timid approach as they take on new experiences. This is often a wise move as they explore the risk/reward potential.

When, however, we feel fairly confident that the waters are not shark-infested, today’s quote encourages us to displace as much water as possible.


Where and in what professional or personal situations is it time for you to stop testing the waters and take the plunge?