One of the greatest obstacles we have to being creative is that critical voice inside us that controls what we say, how we say it and even how we write. I’ve actually seen people in graduate school handwriting sections of their thesis (yes, I am dating myself for all you Surface owners) then throwing away perfectly good idea snippets because what they wrote wasn’t neat enough or had too many cross-outs. Conversely, I’ve produced or engineered bands who’ve walked into the studio with chord progressions and lyrics on the backs of napkins and recorded some of the most incredible songs imaginable. Next time you listen to Sir George Martin’s productions of those amazing Beatles songs, remember how the words looked on paper before there was anything to listen to!
Give yourself every day a few minutes to free write your thoughts without regard to what’s coming out or what it means. Just let your mind do a data dump through your arm to your hand and onto paper. It’s the best way I know of to tame the control beast and to give your creative energies the paths they need for expression. When you build on that habit, amazing things will happen. Try it! Give yourself a ticket to write…
In addition to the iconic rendition by actor Richard Harris, Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” has been recorded by some of the industry’s most celebrated artists, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, The Four Tops and, most recently, Carrie Underwood. As any good story goes, it challenges us to want to know more. Whether it’s a lament over his lost relationship with a woman who later got married in that Los Angeles park on a rainy day or his bet with Richard Harris that he could write him a #1 song the prize of which would be a Rolls-Royce, the real impact is the emotion that wells up in us from listening to MacArthur Park and how it connects with our own feelings. Some of the greatest hit records can stand on their own as stories that move us: The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” The Kinks Ray Davies’ “Come Dancing” and so many more.
Stories have the power to inspire, to motivate, to touch deeply, to challenge and to lift us to an entirely different level of being. Stories make us come alive. We need to find and tell our own personal story in order to reach out to others and connect in authentic ways. Think about a song that has had a powerful emotional impact on you. The feelings that it brought about in you were genuine. They tapped into the authentic YOU where all personal greatness begins.
To reinvent our careers and to find out what we truly want to do in life, we need to find our inner story and share it with others. In business, we need stories to position ideas in order to make the greatest impact on our audience. Our personal stories, our lyrics, our brush strokes, our PowerPoint slides need to convey our story so that others are moved from where they are now to where we want to take them.
What part of you does this touch:
"You've had such a varied and impressive career. It's awesome to read about your adventures and reinventions and how you're now helping others do the same," branding expert Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, Stand Out and Entrepreneurial You