Nick Exposed

A Creative Community Hosted By Photog/Designer Nick Mayo

Guest Post: Betsy Crouch

Have you ever thought of your “unique set of gifts, talents, and perspective,” as “creativity?”

You are creativity.  You are a magical and unique expression.

Creative expression is “life blood,” and fuels all areas of our lives.  However, our deep cultural belief in practicality squeezes creative expression out of our lives.

Creating space in your life to express your unique set of gifts, talents, and perspective, could be the most practical choice you ever make.

Creatively expressing myself has lead to a deep sense of well-being which has positively effected every aspect of my life.

Growing up I loved music, drawing, dancing and singing.  As a child I never pursued any of these things much beyond required classes and some years of private cello lessons.  I also loved sports, and I spent many hours playing and practicing, plus I was “good at sports.”  When I went to college, I really wanted to take art classes and I never registered for a class because it wasn’t “practical.”  I took an adult education drawing class two years out of college and since then I have taken classes on or created space for:  stand up comedy, improv, improvisational singing, drawing, portraits/self-portraits, photography, and writing.

My passion is lifestyle design.  Specifically, I am interested in creating a lifestyle and schedule which supports thriving, for myself and others.   I certainly support and encourage “traditional” practicality.  I have an economics degree, and I am the Vice President of a bookkeeping and financial coaching firm, in addition to my own coaching and consulting firm.

We all have something unique to express.  We have a perspective, a view, an ear, an interpretation, a move, that no one else has.  It is our responsibility to share these with the world, instead of melding towards acting and looking the same as each other.

Creative expression is a basic need for our health and wellness.

The left, logical, part of the brain is overly active.  We have tens of thousands of thoughts per day and according to many sources, 90%+ of these thoughts are repeated from the day before.  So, the left side of the brain is like an overdeveloped muscle.  The right, creative, side of the brain, needs space in our lives because to live a holistic life we need to use ourentire brain versus just part of it.

Balance in the brain = natural healing process of the mind and body.

When I was a kid I loved to draw for hours and I always wished I had more time for it.  I would lose myself in recreating a cartoon character.  As a kid and young adult I struggled with anxiety.  When I was singing, playing, drawing, playing sports, I felt relaxed and at ease.  The more I create space in my life for creativity the more I see how necessary it is to my happiness, well being, business success, relationships, and thriving.

You are creative.

We all create.  I didn’t think I was “creative” as a kid.  There was always someone who was “better” than me at singing, cello, dancing, and artwork.  I didn’t identify as a creative person.  I wanted to be a creative person.  I thought I had to be “good at it,” for it to “count.”   Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not creative”?  What is that person really saying?  Are they saying that they aren’t “good at it”?  Are they saying, “I have no interest whatsoever in being a painter”?  What do they think creativity is?  Ask them.  Spread the joy and magic of creativity.

To me, creativity is:  doodling, drawing, painting, improvising (sports, business, driving, theatre), photography, singing, poetry, music, movement (dancing at a club, at home, in a class), cooking, writing, letter-writing, personal conversations, and so much more.  What is creativity to you?

Creativity = Allowing.

Creativity is something that I allow to happen, when I get out of my own way. When I put effort into being creative it shuts down.  When thinking about writing this blog post I had thoughts of, “ok, this has to be good,” “what is going to make this interesting?”  This reminded me to use my improv skills, “dare to be boring,” and “don’t try to be good.”  Utilizing these skills takes the pressure off and opens the creative energy flow.  Before improv, I had two speeds when faced with a new challenge, “deer in the headlights,” or “super confident/funny/big personality.”  Improv has helped create space for me to discover a middle ground and relax.  Good improv flows, you don’t “make it happen.”

Have you ever sat down with a pen and paper and “allowed” yourself to fail at drawing?  We are so obsessed with being “good” we don’t do anything!  My mom was told when she was 8 years old that her grade on her painting was a “D”.  WHAT?!?!?!   She wanted to draw and paint her whole life and just thought she “wasn’t creative.”  She decided to take a class when she was 50 and since then she has been on a creative journey that has been extremely healing and has brought so much joy and beauty to her, our family and to her customers and community.

There is no good or bad when it comes to the value of you expressing your unique perspective of the world.  The right side of your brain is just as happy with a stick figure as it is with the mona lisa, as long as you are the one drawing it.  Expressing your creativity IS the success, regardless of the judgement of others.

You create the present moment.

Improv requires presence and committed listening skills.  When you work with what you are offered and endowed to you, the scene doesn’t take effort, instead it flows.  Likewise when you follow the inspiration to put a different combination of clothes together in the moment or throw a new ingredient into a dish in the moment, you may discover something brilliant and magical.  It is important to be present and open to possibilities to notice the opportunities for creativity.  We are all improvising all the time, or are you?  Do you have an agenda when you enter a conversation and steam roll people or do you open to the moment and let the conversation carry you based on what you see, hear and feel?

Do it for you.  What are you going to give yourself permission to express?

You matter.  Your ideas matter.  You don’t have to share any of your creative expression with anyone.  You can express in any way you would like to.  If you feel comfortable sharing with others, great!  If not, that’s ok too!

When will you make your creative expression a priority?  What are you willing to do with your daily or weekly schedule to create space?

Create space in your life for your creativity.  If you are someone who “doesn’t do anything creative,” start with 5 minutes per week with a pencil and paper, and sit there until the timer goes off.  Write draw or doodle if you are inspired.  If you identify as an artist or creative and you don’t express yourself due to work/life schedule restraints, do anything in your power to block off boundaries and time to create.  We need your creativity in the world.  Thank you for being a leader and for having the courage to express yourself.

You are creative.  Creativity is a basic need for our health and wellbeing.  Creativity is something we allow to flow through us.  When we get out of our own way, and out of our left brain, the magic we are capable of creating is magnificent.  Be present.  Be you.  Create space for your unique energy to flow.  Sizzle and thrive!

"Heart Moon" Photo taken by Betsy Crouch a top a Volcano!

Betsy Crouch, “Coach Sizzle,” is the founder of Sizzle Consulting.  She is an entrepreneur, coach, artist, speaker, writer, improv actor, and storyteller.  She has conducted over 4,000 coaching sessions.

Sizzle Consulting provides coaching, workshops and presentations designed to help individuals and organizations thrive.  What is the story you are telling yourself about your life/business?  Let us support you in writing a story in which you thrive!

www.coachsizzle.com

betsy.crouch@gmail.com

Nicks Thoughts:

First of all I want to thank Betsy for squeezing this into her busy schedule, I truly think she nocked it out of the park with this one. I loved the part about balancing both sides of the brain! I know its something I still have to work on (Which probably explains why I walk in circles 😉 But I couldn’t agree more that we need to create time in our life to express our creativity, its definitely a major ingredient for thriving in all areas and aspects of our life.

What did you take from Betsy’s writing? Be sure to show her some love and leave your comments below 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Betsy Crouch

  1. TANYA PETRAGLIA | PHOTOGRAPHER on said:

    I so relate to this post. We are very similar. I needed this today, because I too have suffered and still do from time to time. But for me, its just a reminder to create some space…I need it!! THANK YOU

    • Thanks for the great response Tanya! The truth is we all need it. Creative space is vital to our thriving as individual. Think about the time we had set aside in our early school years to just create (or eat paste depending on the kid), but for whatever reason as we move through the years, that time slowly fades until its almost non-existent. I discovered a forgotten energy when I started making room for experimentation and creation. Thanks again

  2. It was like I was reading my own story. I am only just getting in touch with my creative side. It has taken nearly 50 years. There have been moments in my life where what I was doing was described as creative e.g. bringing ideas to the table, creating a fruit and veg garden, singing – but I didn’t grasp it fully. I am still at the beginning of my journey.
    No longer working, and living in another country, has given me the time and space to create – hence my photography.
    The phrase “don’t try to be good.” jumped out at me. Just do it, to steal a phrase. My daily photo challenge (http://myphotoyear2012.wordpress.com) is helping me do just that. I can only take so many photos in a day, and I have challenged myself to post one of them, good or bad. This is changing my perspective on things enormously. I have found that the shots I am not particularly happy with resonate with someone in a completely different way. It’s exciting.
    Thank you Nick, for your wonderful guest, Betsy Crouch, and this post. It is a real encouragement.

    • Hey Kate! Yea “Dont try to be good” is a great point. Its not an adventure worth living unless theres a chance you may “fail”. Im glad you found value in Betsy’s words 🙂

  3. Growing up, I did much better at math and science than I did in “creative” subjects like art or literature. So I neatly boxed myself into the “not creative” category and accepted that that was that. It was only when I picked up photography a few years ago that I realised creativity wasn’t a talent you were born with or you weren’t – if I was creating something – some output that goes into the universe – then I am being creative. And that I enjoyed it. I had found my medium.

    Thanks Betsy for sharing!

    • We often confuse creativity with “good creativity” haha. We forget that no one starts with “good” creativity it is developed through our expression of “bad” creativity, and I say these in a generalized way because theres really no good or bad, theres just Creativity. Thanks for your comment

  4. Nick, I love this post. It is so like my story, except it was hammered into me: “You can’t make a living doing (fill in the blank. Any of my three passions; photography, writing, illustration). I actually got in trouble for wasting time and a chore was immediately found to keep me busy and productive. It took an accident three and a half years ago for me to commit to the impossible and leave behind most of my craft projects which were my way of filling the need to create. I used recovery time to delve into my writing, photography and finally illustration.

    It has balanced my work life and helped me deal with my mom dying. In short it has set me free.

    Blogging has opened the door to know there are many people out there just like me. I am embracing my uniqueness and no longer trying to suppress the person I am with the person I was “supposed to be.” The result? I am happier than I have ever been and creating more than ever, not to impress anyone other than me.

    Will Betsy Crouch get this message? I hope so, she speaks such an important truth and I so enjoyed reading what she had to say. Thank you, Betsy.

  5. Reblogged this on The Cotton Gin and commented:
    So many undercover creatives need to read this. I loved it!

  6. Such an inspiring post! I find that even though I acknowledge myself as a creative, I sometimes struggle to fit in time to create if it doesn’t serve a real purpose (as in if I’m not making a card or gift for someone or making something for a deadline). This year, I’m making a point to create more just because I want to. I love the feeling of being lost in a project and looking up hours later without realizing the time has passed. I find inspiration everywhere these days, and am always taking pictures of pretty colors or patterns or writing down inspirational quotes. It’s improved my life tenfold!

  7. Pingback: Guest Post: Betsy Crouch Part 2 « Nick Exposed

  8. Thank you for this! I am challenging myself to “create space” weekly for myself (maybe I’ll work up to daily). As a designer, I create 24/7 for others, but have not always created for myself and when I DO take the time, it IS really freeing!

    • I can relate Patricia! As designers we typically fall into that kind if you will. Personal projects are extremely important for us to keep the creativity flowing! They are rather invigorating as well.

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