You Don’t Have To Be An Artist To Be Creative

Numbers.

I’ll never forget my financial manager telling me one day, “Oh, I’m a numbers guy. I’m not creative.”

Now, this is a guy who creates extraordinary hedge funds, simple but effective spreadsheets, workable budgets, provides financial mentoring, and oh, by the way, plays the piano wonderfully.

But because he has an MBA from Vanderbilt University, he somehow thinks he is not creative.

What word would you use to describe yourself?

Take a moment and write it down.

When I quit the pastorate after 29 years and that one word (pastor) was gone, it created extreme confusion.

It took a while to get that word. My focus. Who I WAS, instead of what I DID.

I recently wrote a blog post and asked my readers, “What one word would you use to describe me?

At about the 100th  comment, someone wrote, “Randy, I’ve only been reading here for a couple of weeks so I haven’t formed a word for you, but I find it fascinating that with all of these comments there is only one repeat word that I saw (creative). Certainly some interesting and positive adjectives could be ascribed to you based solely on that.

Do I still seem confused? Why wouldn’t I?

Shouldn’t I be?

Are you?

What the heck is my word?

What is your word?

We limit and label each other with these words.

It is ironic that this Palm Beach Symphony Oratorio soloist and NATS finalist, was called upon to transition a traditional church to a contemporary one.

After thousands of hours in the rehearsal room perfecting melismas and Handel’s Messiah bass solos and after virtually memorizing the Baptist Hymnal—in the space of only a year—12 short months—I was required by my church to transition to this new thing called contemporary worship music.

I had to practice new skills.

Practicing to sing in a breathy tone with no vibrato, in my “head” voice,

My vocal coach from Julliard, God rest his soul, would turn over in his grave if he heard me singing today.

He taught me Faure and Shubert—not Tomlin and Crowder!

I had to begin practicing new ways of thinking…new skills….

I began to realize that I could sing with a vibrato and resonance AND I could sing with a breathy straight tone not because of the words of my title “Minister of Music” (does that date me or what?) — but because I’m creative!

I began to realize that I won all those vocal awards not because of the word musician—but because I’m creative!

I began to realize that I encourage people not necessarily because of the word mentor—but because I’m creative!

I began to realize that I paint with watercolors not necessarily because of the word artist—but because I’m creative!

I began to realize that I dream up successful businesses not necessarily because of the word entrepreneur—but because I’m creative!

How about you?

The creator God who created everything that is…created us in his quintessential creativeness.

In fact, the first verb of the Holy Bible is create.

But somehow, we’ve lost it.

So we have to go back to the beginning. Back to the garden.

We need to recreate ourselves.

We are ALL creatives. We just may not realize it…yet.

In the beginning God created…!

Question: Does this make sense? What word have you used to describe yourself in the past?

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42 Responses to “You Don’t Have To Be An Artist To Be Creative”

  1. You’ve inspired me to create today!

  2. You’ve inspired me to create today!

    • Yes!! Keith. You are most certainly a creative. Our world will be better because of what you do today. Thanks for joining the conversation!

    • Yes!! Keith. You are most certainly a creative. Our world will be better because of what you do today. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  3. Love this Randy. I need to remember this!

    “I began to realize that I won all those vocal awards not because of the word musician—but because I’m creative!

    I began to realize that I encourage people not necessarily because of the word mentor—but because I’m creative!

    I began to realize that I paint with watercolors not necessarily because of the word artist—but because I’m creative!

    I began to realize that I dream up successful businesses not necessarily because of the word entrepreneur—but because I’m creative!”

  4. When we heard you talk about this on the cruise, it struck both Sheri and I. She in fact posted a blog post on the subject of leaders are creative. I’ve been searching for what my word is for some time. I have it boiled down to a sentence, but a word is really tough. It’s so limiting. No wiggle room. Raw. Direct. Focused. But it’s also an exercise worth going through. One of self discovery. When I figure out my word, I’ll make sure to let you know!
    Thanks for doing what you do. Steve
    ~~~~~~~~~
    actually this is Steve not Sheri… stupid autofill tools takeover when you don’t want them to

  5. Thank you for this blog. I am a creative person. But as an accountant I thought I wasn’t creative and did not use creativity on my work assignments. I had a position that required problem solving. I was surprised when my assignment changed to one that did not have the problems that I encountered in previous assignment. I found I was missing the challenge of solving the problems and using creativity in the solutions. As my job was not providing the opportunity to be creative, I started beading so that I could meet the need to be creative. I have since told others that just because you do not paint, draw etc. does not mean you are not creative. Every day life provides all kinds of challenges to be creative.

  6. I remember this from the cruise, and one question I had then and still have now is are we supposed to choose a word to define ourselves? Early in the blog post you say one word is limiting, but then you seem to feel unlimited once you find the right word. Is it just a matter of finding the right word? How do you do that?

  7. Absolutely.

    And you know I am still on a journey to find that word.

  8. Wow, this is a beautiful post, Randy! Thank you for sharing this.

    Remember the song “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve? “I’m a million different people from one day to the next.” It’s as if we start in the garden. That childhood state of pure creativity.

    Then we find ourselves in Egypt (i.e. enslaved). Then some of us make it into the wilderness to wander around in hope of a promised land, an identity, a word. And a few make it to the promised land – a return to the creative.

    But the promised land comes with a fight. There’s a perpetual tension that exsits. We are a million different people from one day to the next – a million different words swimming around the orbit of our being.

    I believe this tension, this fight, is a good thing, because it gives us energy and momentum (if we use it). What I hear you saying in this post is that the word “creative” is a harmonizing word. It captures all these personas and titles that make up who we are, and aligns them so that they can co-exist in a beautiful way. You are a Creative which, for you, means you are an artist/mentor/writer/pastor/musician/entrepreneur/marathon runner/etc.

    Harmony, after all, is the product of tension, right? And it’s a beautiful thing when the individual notes are creatively aligned.

    Awesome, Randy! Awesome!

    • Absolutely, Keith. I love the Bittersweet Symphony and I love, love, love the idea of harmony. Especially as a product of tension. That is such a powerful thought! I love you being a part of the ongoing conversation here!

  9. again, you hit it out of the park. i remember you telling us those things at recreate11. i’m really still searching for my word. i guess my words right now are describing how i feel more than who i am. broken and searching.

  10. Great post. Makes sense. This 47yr old, who often lives like the chubby, insecure, 17yr old kid, needed to hear that.
    I’ve been living (for a while) more in what I used to be, titles I was given years ago and how others view me instead of what God has been saying about me.
    Just yesterday God and I made a HUGE leap forward in recreating myself.

  11. The word I would use to describe you is inspiring! Thanks for reminding us that we all are creative, because God put in each one of us special gifts and talents. May God bless you and the work you do.

  12. @LaureeAshcom April 14, 2011 at 21:11

    i think people want to be creative because it is percieved as synonymous with freedom.

    there have been moments that i found only being considered “creative” was its own cage.

    thanks, randy, for always making me examine how i see….

  13. Randy, I had to go looking for my word. Earlier this year I spent 3-4 weeks trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I finally ran across the idea of wabi-sabi. I read what I could find about it and I decided it included so much of what I wanted to be that I rebranded my blog based on wabi-sabi.

    Here’s the short version: “Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered – and it reveres authenticity above all.” I posted several times about different aspects of wabi-sabi on my about page on my blog, but really I’m trying to simplify, to slow down and the be deliberate in my relationships, my priorities and my life as a servant of God.

    Sorry for the long comment! Its hard to contain my excitement sometimes. ;)

  14. Randy, this is so true. I don’t typically self-promote in comments, but I recently had Gabriel Wilson write a guest post on this very topic. I thought it would benefit your readers and the discussion going on here. Thanks for your blog man!

    http://www.davidsantistevan.com/2011/04/everyone-is-an-artist/

  15. not long ago I read a good definition of becoming a man that fits in so well with this and applies to all people regardless of vocation. Manhood is moving from a consumer to a creator. You are right we were created in an creative image.

  16. Yup. Makes sense. Maybe look for the “why” behind breathy singing. And keep up being faithful in the technique and honoring your leadership’s direction. God brings us into relationship as servant, disciple, brother, friend. But it all ends in a marriage relationship. That’s pretty intimate and opens up a world of thoughts and images. But reading Scripture with that mindset goes pretty deep. One word to describe me = incisive.

  17. God made all of us with strengths and weaknesses for a reason. When we are on a team we compliment each other. The creative innovative type, is like the lead guitar while
    The numbers, detail guy is like the drummer, he keeps the band going at a pace. The number guy enjoys and gets energy out of details, while the “creative” guy doesn’t.
    It’s like dating, you dont have to be the blonde, cheerleader, with the hour glass figure to date. You just be yourself and find someone you like.
    Comparing ourselves makes us unhappy.

    My word for today. Candid. ( I had to look up how to spell that.)

  18. I used to use “logical, thinker, practical”. I’m definitely all those things but like you said, not at the expense of creativity. I’ve shed all titles on myself. I look at myself first and foremost as a child of God, the ultimate Creator. Since I was created in His image, I can do anything without having that action define who I am. I am a son of God. By default, I am creative.

  19. My thoughts, exactly. I’ve started down this path of believing that everyone is creative in some respect. Thanks for putting it so well.

    Excellent post, Randy. I’m sharing it with the world!
    Jeff Goins´s last blog post ..Do You Exhibit These Symptoms of Poor Time Management

  20. Wonderful post and really made me think. Why do some folks seem to have a good personality? They are creative. Creative in the way they handle, deal with, understand and relate to others. Creativity infiltrates many pores of our lives; my better days are days I’m not living the “cookie-cutter” mindset and being creative. Lack of creativity complains, murmurs and grumbles. Creativity can expand the good, be thankful and reflects the one who made us in His image.
    Jacob Yount´s last blog post ..8 Feet Tall—Living in China

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