Are you creative? No... of course not, right? You aren't artistic, you don't paint, you aren't 'crafty', you don't play music, you can't build things. In fact, most of the time you don't even like most stuff created by artists... except TV and movies of course, and music. You like iTunes.
I used to get described as ARTISTIC a lot. Back in the day, I used to play in a band, write music, tour, play music in front of people, record albums. I was one part songwriter, one part performer, one part creative director, as I oversaw all of the album art, graphic design, and I helped craft and create the visual identity for our band.
Now, here's the thing... I didn't ever do any of the graphic design or photography, but I hired the right people who did the job. So I got labelled as artistic... You write songs and create stuff, you must be artistic!
Do You want to know the truth? I am not an artist, and I am not artistic.
When I came on staff at the first church that I ever worked at I remember a meeting that I had with my Lead Pastor (also known as my boss). I was in charge of music, youth ministry and young adults as well. This period in my life also directly overlapped with me being in a band, and Pastor Laurence (The Boss) was very supportive, but I will never forget one specific conversation we had about one year into my employment.
I don't remember the context, or why we were even talking about personalities, but Pastor Laurence looked at me and said, "You are the most even-keeled musician I have ever met. In fact, your personality is nothing like what an artist normally is!" I know, I know, it doesn't seem like it, but I took that as a compliment! I knew what he was talking about. True artists are moody and broody, and often deeply introspective and introverted. Their deep consideration and observation of the world around them, and their ability to block out the world and focus solely on their artistic pursuit is truly remarkable.
But I'm not like that at all.
I'm more of your classic TYPE A personality. I am driven, motivated, I thrive in crowds of people, and I am a fairly even keel. It takes a lot to rattle me, and I never really get down on life. That's when it struck me, I'm not an 'Artist'... I'm a 'Creative'.
I came to the realization that my 'art' always served a purpose. It was a medium, and I used it as a different platform for expressing my ideas. It was a tool that I could use when required, and ultimately on the business side, it was the product that we were selling. For a true artist, their craft is an extension of who they are, and they must get it out. For a creative, we have a reason to use our craft, that serves another purpose. For an artist, their craft or their art is their ultimate purpose.
I was at a conference not that long ago and I heard a description of creativity from Whitney George. He described creativity in a number of ways, but the one that stuck in my mind was this, CREATIVITY IS PROBLEM SOLVING.
Whether or not you think you are artistic or good at stuff related to the arts you have to understand that at the core of who you are, YOU ARE CREATIVE.
Every time you come up with a plan to entertain and educate your 2 kids under the age of 3 you are being CREATIVE. In fact, let me just give a shout out to mom's (or stay-at-home dad's) for literally being THE MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. While the rest of run to escape the burning building we call home, like the bravest of fire fighter's, you run straight into that building and you raise those kids LIKE A BOSS.
Now this is the part where you start getting down on yourself because you aren't as creative as that other person you know. Guess what!? They aren't as creative as you either. The amazing thing about creativity is that each one of us has our own special sauce. We are each created individually, and each of us is made up of a completely unique blend of skills, gifts, and abilities.
Every time you solve a problem you are exerting your creativity. YOU ARE CREATIVE and CREATIVITY IS NOT ART. So as a unique and compelling creative with a skillset that only you can bring to the table, what problem are you going to solve, and how is your creativity going to re-shape your world today?
Brett Esslinger is a Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor, Speaker, Leader, Writer whose life goal is to help people unlock their potential and fulfill their life's purpose.
Follow Brett on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @brettesslinger and of course over on Snapchat at: brett.esslinger