Want to know how others get creative? What inspires them to pursue their craft? I always find it fascinating to see how other people cultivate their creativity and accomplish amazing things.
As such, here’s the second installment in our series on all things creativity. Each month we talk with a different person about their creative process and get their tips for letting our own creativity flourish.
Below, we had the pleasure of chatting with Gail McMeekin, LICSW, a Boston-based national executive, career and creativity coach, a licensed psychotherapist and award-winning author. She’s the President of Creative Success, which helps creative professionals and entrepreneurs leverage their best ideas into heartfelt, prosperous businesses and fulfilling lives.
McMeekin also is the author of many books, including The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor and The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women.
You can learn more about McMeekin at her website. Also, check out her free e-book, The Path to Creative Success, which is loaded with exercises to help you to get creative.
1. Do you incorporate creativity-boosting activities into your daily routine? If so, what activities do you do?
I journal regularly and take a daily walk to clear my head and get ideas. Plus I consult my own Creativity Courage Cards that I created with my photographer husband to get a courage prompt for the day, and I always draw a Viking Rune to remind me that everything comes in cycles and to surrender as needed.
2. What are your inspirations for your work?
I am greatly inspired by my work with coaching clients and their challenges and I design solutions for their creative success. I also love to create products like my “Positive Choices: From Stress to Serenity” workshop, journals, charts, cards, etc.
I am using a new technique now called Life Purpose Scientific Hand Analysis, which is not palmistry but a scientific analysis of your fingerprints and your palms to help you to find out your Life Purpose, your Life Lesson, your Life School, which is your spiritual path, and your Special Gifts. People are just blown away by the results and their accuracy and how useful this information becomes in changing their lives.
I also love watercolors and paint myself, and I surround myself with beautiful art and decorating. Also, going out on travel photo shoots with my husband inspires me.
3. There are many culprits that can crush creativity, such as distractions, self-doubt and fear of failure. What tends to stand in the way of your creativity?
I can be very focused on my creative projects and complete them on deadline. But my greatest gift of ideaphoria is also my greatest liability.
I have a continual flow of ideas and I have to make choices daily to put some of them aside. So I record the ideas that pop up to review them later and stay focused on my agenda for the month.
4. How do you overcome these obstacles?
I have learned the art of focus, which is why I teach focus groups [and] help people get their creative projects and businesses launched and … resolve the emotional barriers that get in their way.
These groups have been very powerful and I keep creating new strategies and materials for all the ingredients of focusing, which keeps me on track as well. One woman went from not doing her mosaic work at all to winning first prize in the best international contest in the world, all in a few months.
5. What are some of your favorite resources on creativity?
One of my favorite resources was a magazine called Artist Sketchbook, which I wrote several articles for and read every page of. But it folded, although I still have all my copies and refer to them. Books and art inspire me as well as lovely places.
The show “Create” on PBS is great as well as all of the wonderful programming that they share with us each week. I have always gotten lots of ideas from magazines and I continue to read women’s magazines and travel magazines and get ideas.
6. What is your favorite way to get your creative juices flowing?
I have a photo of my office on my website and I have a treasure map on my desk that reminds me of what I am longing to create next. Listening to music, I usually listen to the same piece over and over doing one project, and keeping a special journal for each project helps me stay excited and alive when I am creating.
I also crave large blocks of time in which to work. In the summer, I will drive the SUV out onto our private beach on Cape Cod and write and paint and hang out with the sand pipers and the seals.
7. What’s your advice for readers on cultivating creativity?
Follow your fascinations and immerse yourself in them. Just begin working on something that you love and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Trust your process and your intuition.
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know about creativity?
Creativity simply means making new connections and making or inventing something new and useful. You have it in you, but you need to commit to it and work with a mentor or a coach to help you to defeat all your negative inner critics that seduce you away from success. We all need support to get our creative work done and out into the world.
Thanks so much to Gail McMeekin for a great interview!