We need to avoid feedback felons (the people who bring us down by picking holes in our efforts to give birth to something new) and nourish the kind of creative friendship that supports us through change. Feeling short on creative friends? Here’s how to announce yourself in a way that may recruit some new ones.
I came up with this approach while leading an evening introductory program titled “Key Habits of Creative People”. We made a fabulous beginning, in the course of which I helped people to visualize a creative project they could bring through in any area of their lives. As I guided them to turn their visions into affirmations and practical action steps, I encouraged them to check in with their bodies to make sure that their bodies believed them (the necessary antidote to all the hype about the “law of attraction”).
I had planned to open the second part of the class, after the break, by introducing the idea of the “creative friend” – the person who supports you through change and offers you the right kind of feedback. When I was glommed onto by a very needy woman during the break, I made up a new game in that cause – out of sheer desperation. The needy woman complained she wasn’t “connected”, didn’t know any creative people etc.
“Look around you,” I suggested. “There are forty people here who have come to learn how to be more creative and are seeking creative friends. Go introduce yourself to one of them – a stranger – before the end of the break. Do this with two statements.
“First, tell them something about your regular life. For example, ‘I’m Jill, I’m a software designer, I live inSaratoga, I’m a single mother and I ride horses every other weekend.’
“Second, make a statement about your creative project. Put it in the present tense and make it entirely affirmative. Say it so anyone hearing you might be inspired to help. ‘I’m writing children’s stories and I’m always looking for new ideas.’ Or: ‘I’m redecorating a barn where I’m going to paint and hold weekend retreats.’ Or: ‘I’m working on improving my cooking or my golf game.’”
She looked scared for a moment, and when she gathered up her stuff I wondered if she was going to quit the room. Instead, she marched over to the cutest guy in the room, sat down next to him and proceeded to introduce herself exactly as suggested. It turned out he had exactly the resources she needed to pursue her current creative project; they exchanged coordinates and promised to stay in touch.
When we started up again, I had everyone introduce themselves to a stranger in the group by the same protocol. The listeners were prepped to offer immediate positive feedback and, if appropriate, to suggest tools and resources. The effect was GRRRREAT! Several people said they felt they had literally been “blessed.”