I recently participated in a seminar titled Women Leading Change presented by Planting People Growing Justice founder, Dr. Artika Tyner. There are three main components we’ve discussed as a group of women discern the leader’s journey we wish to embark on:

  • Why should I choose to lead?
  • Leading change – what makes a leader?
  • Leadership qualities – what is my individualized leadership style?

I’m learning the steps I must undertake to accomplish personal goals of leadership and discover my own potential. One of the exercises Dr. Tyner asked us to engage in was selecting a quote from her book, The Leader’s Journey, and reflect on its personal significance.

A much-loved quote comes from one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou, regarding the importance of the creativity that exists within all of us.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Sadly, too often creativity is smothered rather than nurtured.”

This is a combination of two quotes which I’ve seen used separately. I split the quote reflecting on each part individually and their powerful meaning for me.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

As a writer, I believe creativity is like a crucial muscle. However, left unused, creativity loses its strength, atrophying if not engaged regularly. I think that is why so many authors advise to write habitually, keeping talents and imaginations sharp.

Sadly, too often creativity is smothered rather than nurtured.

As a young girl in school, my creativity was often stifled by teachers, who believed females fit into a narrow mold of strict expectations. These educators frequently sent the message that the creativity of girls was deemed less worthy than that of boys. Too often we were told as children that girls should be quiet, behave ourselves, and that certain topics were off limits.

I sincerely hope that as my young nieces grow into adulthood, their creativity is never suppressed. Creativity is an equal opportunity gift, to be implemented and shared by all.

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