Employee experience is a critical conversation in offices and “offices” around the world, both in these times of social isolation and in general employee engagement efforts. We’re always interested in finding out what keeps our colleagues and clients connected, both to their work and to their personal strengths and values. Creativity, it turns out, is a key area of common ground, although it looks different for every individual. Here’s a quick look at how creativity can take an unexpected turn…
I work with some smart, witty, and creative people at Sogolytics, so I am in great company and by no means the only voice for creative blockage advice on the platform. Whether it’s craft and crochet with Kendall, or running with Adam, everyone has their own spin on creativity; there are always new ways you can uncover and even grow a love for something unexpected.
I’m a big St. Patrick’s Day person; I’m Italian by blood but an Irishman at heart. March 2020, right in time for St. Patty’s Day weekend, the pandemic was starting to really evolve from hypothetical disaster movie plot to serious conversation, so I knew that this weekend might be the last time I could be out amongst others in public for a while. I saw a shirt online for the occasion with a simple drawing of the artist Billie Eilish wearing a leprechaun’s hat with the phrase “Kiss Me, I’m Eilish”. I thought, ‘I could make that easily.’ I bought a green shirt from Michael’s, did a little chop job, and painted my St. Eilish design with acrylic paints and heat sealed with an iron. I wore it out in Fells Point that weekend and received more than one compliment or comment from multiple people that night, and after someone asked me on Snapchat to make them one, too, I decided this was something I could channel some of myself into (and I made a little moola doing it).
Painting is like swimming. In other sports or physical activity, you can look in the mirror at your form, talk with others or teammates, look at your phone for the next song you want to listen to, but then get stuck texting in one of your group messages for 12 mins before you realize the song you chose has already passed by 4 songs ago. When you’re swimming, you’re silent. You’re in an underwater world where the only thing you can do is breathe, make your next turn or stroke, and get to the other side. Painting is the same; you have a brush in hand, colors to mix for your perfect shade, and your eyes fixed to your subject and canvas of choice.
Like a meditation, when you let yourself just be with yourself and one singular focus, the world kind of falls away. I’m sure you’ve felt it; whether as a college athlete battling a competitor, or cooking at home, feeling the knife slice through the layers of an onion, or focusing on the curve of John Denver’s chin into his neck to get his likeness just right on the shirt your painting, it’s the silence and presence of those moments that bring about emotion, inspiration, love, and the desire to be in that flow again.
Wearing my art on my sleeve, literally, has been such a fun way to show my creativity… again, literally. I do love style and wearing pieces I like, and getting to make them myself is all the more gratifying. If someone likes what they see on my clothes, I can say I made it. ?
A song can inspire someone to bake a cake, paint a mural, dance, do their makeup, crochet a blanket, bike around a park, write a joke, plant a garden, throw a sick cross-hook-jab combo, or make a song themselves. Creativity is not only coping and cathartic, it’s fun and freeing and breeds more creativity around you. Perspective is born in the moments you allow your mind to separate from your autopilot routine, and see something in a new way. Having that stillness in my life, in painting shirts and in other forms, keeps my body grounded and my head in the clouds.
Happy creating. ?