We all have been given gifts, skills and talents. It is up to us to walk through the doors in our journey that God opens and to share them with each other. Unfortunately somewhere between childhood and adulthood our ability to think for ourselves diminishes at a rapid rate. We become fixated on the opinions of others, wrapped up in the processes placed before us and tangled in the mess of our own distorted doubts about our ability. And often secretly we lose hope things will be any different than they are. But I believe difference is possible. I have both experienced and watched within others and myself the ability to communicate original thought through gifts, skills and talents. In this blog series I hope to share some of those experiences with you.
For the past decade I have been blessed to train leaders in their given fields. It seems that many of these leaders I’ve encountered are disengaged with their thoughts and have become quite robotic in their responses to how they approach people, problems and procedures. The challenge has been to get them to think beyond the monotony to something deeper. Thinking that starts from within instead of just extrinsically. But the real struggle is getting these leaders to feel empowered to not only reengage their thoughts but to own and believe them. How do you get someone to tell you what he or she believes and thinks when he or she hasn’t thought about it in al long time? How do you engage someone back to his or her gifts, skills and talents when they are so distracted?
Several years ago I fell in love with art through a painting class I took in my hometown. My experience with it taught me art can be messy, unorganized and chaotic, but it allowed me to be alone with my thoughts and challenged me to think for myself. Art does this. It commands our attention and then it almost silently asks us “What are your thoughts about this?” It also offers an incredible platform to share those thoughts with others both with and without mere words. I wish I could end on this beautiful note, but in the practice of art we also expose our weaknesses. Ugly and festering fears creep into our minds that our work isn’t good enough or we chose the wrong materials. We allow ourselves to get frustrated that the end result wasn’t how we pictured it. I remember my art teacher taught me something profound. She never tried to fix my piece. She never validated my fears. She taught me to own it. Maybe I wasn’t the greatest at literal depiction, but I was excellent with color schemes. So what if my piece wasn’t exactly how I imagined it. Perfection isn’t the goal, but engaging my ideas was. It taught me to challenge my fears instead of seeking extrinsic validation. It taught me to recognize what I was good at and let go of false expectations. It taught me that messy chaos forces us to create and creativity is not always the result of well-organized ideas. Art has been and still is the catalyst I use in helping others to think for them selves again. To help them tap back into their gifts, skills and talents and own them. The amazing result is once you find freedom in your thinking it is attractive enough to create a ripple effect in those around you, producing insightful, productive and defenseless dialogue.
Art is a powerful platform to original thought within you. In return you are able to offer powerful solutions that make a difference and leave positive impacts on others. I’m not posturing that art is the cure all for creating better thought leaders or boosting production in business. Rather I am suggesting that we take note that art has a place in business and not just in branding and the marketing departments. Even though at first it may appear messy, unorganized and a little chaotic, it can teach us to embrace the chaos and to silently ask ourselves more regularly ““What are YOUR thoughts about this?”