“Mary” is a massage therapist who has learned additional bodywork techniques to offer more to her clients. She's putting together a long term program that integrates these different modalities to help people who suffer chronic pain. Two weeks ago the project came to dead stop and her frustration with it was high.
“What was I thinking, I have no energy or motivation to create this,” she lamented. We spent some time exploring what was interfering with her progress and uncovered an all-too-common story. Mary works really hard. She has a full schedule and puts herself low on the priority list. She goes home after a long day, takes care of household matters, and maybe catches an hour or so of TV before bed.
“What about your creative hobbies?” I asked her. “I don’t have time for creativity and hobbies,” she replied. She revealed that there was a needlepoint project staring at her from the corner of the living room and she hadn’t picked it up in three years because of her schedule.
With some encouragement, Mary committed to carving out a little time every day for needlepoint. It challenged her at first. She has developed cataracts she didn’t have three years ago, but she persevered and has been picking up the hoop and fabric daily for two weeks now.
Then yesterday a wonderful thing occurred while she was embroidering: the breakthrough she needed to design her new offering came through. She is now excited, full of ideas, clear about her next steps, and is addressing the chronic pain program with vigor and fun.
You see, Mary rediscovered something that we forget sometimes: creativity begets creativity. She was not making room in her life for creative pursuits that were unrelated to her work. When she did take the time, she found that doing so cleared her head and allowed her to focus and create in a refreshingly different way than she does in any other part of her life. By rebuilding the atrophied creativity muscles involved in needlepoint, she strengthened the ones she uses for designing programs for her business.
Making the time to pursue hobbies that nourish us is not frivolous or self-indulgent. It can accelerate our progress and enrich our work if we allow it to.
What discarded creative project is staring at you from your living room corner?