I don’t think anyone sets out to become an expert on anything.
I mean... I dropped out of Uni to run my Masters Kung Fu school.
The school was in the middle of town, I caught the train in every day, every class of every week, eight or nine times a week. I remember one afternoon walking through hail to get to the station, it only occurred to me halfway there that 'I'm pretty wet'... I went in anyway.
Within six months I was instructing beginners.
After about a year I was running every class.
I moved in to live on the second floor with the school upstairs on the third floor.
It was like something out of a movie... training every morning, living as a 'closed door student', swimming in the afternoons, teaching in the evenings and hanging out in town where we were known, liked and respected.
My Master was planning to marry to his fiancé and move out to a farm, entrusting me to to run the school.
When you’re in your twenties, it doesn’t get much more golden than this;
a home, friends, family, I'd found my place in the world and a philosophy for living.
And then my Master committed suicide.
I won’t go into the details, it was a traumatic, controversial affair; it made national news.
Grief stricken, betrayed, disillusioned, every pillar of my life dissolved.
So with nothing, no-one and nowhere, what does one do?
Audition for acting college, of course.
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Processing cataclysmic trauma in first year acting classes is not something I'd recommend, it was either the best or worst thing that ever happened to me… I haven’t quite decided yet.
Thankfully, over the next three years, I was lucky enough to be guided with patience and grace by a handful of tutors who, I am grateful to say have remained friends to this day.
I learned a lot.
I wrote a lot.
I won't say it saved me, I will say it was deeply formative.
I graduated, made coffee for another year, saved and moved to London.
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I spent the first few months visiting every property on the Monopoly board, working in cabaret lounges, writing and producing short films, before being hired by a posh Members Club to be the Staff Trainer for all of their twelve venues across the U.K.
This was the first time I ever solved a problem that the existing organisation couldn’t.
After restoring balance to the universe, the GM decided to take all the credit with no recognition for the staff who had turned things around.
Luckily, BBC4 had picked up a television script I had pitched, so I resigned and took some time to travel around Europe.
On a train between Prague and Vienna, I hear the GM had been sacked after their venue relapsed... and that's where the truth came out.
Schadenfreude - in Vienna - while eating schnitzel - tastes fantastically sweet.
On returning to London, my English girlfriend admitted she’d “never spoken to a black guy” and thought it was weird I had black friends.
I walked her across the road to Notting Hill park, dumped her and flew home.
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Home is funny after you’ve been away, isn’t it?
Everything looks the same but smells different.
I tend to refer to my career as 'hopscotch between corporate and creative'.
Writing, producing and performing, Netflix optioned a film project, making coffee part-time and spinning contract work as an L&D Specialist in between - I turned script-writing to designing L&D assessments and authored all the O&D, LMS that followed.
My favourite was designing the Hotel Room for Intelligence candidates - this project had the biggest learning curve and was the first time I realised that creativity was a tangible ‘thing’ that people outside of the Arts needed.
But, the more I discussed it with clients and the more I read what was being written about creativity and creative skill sets, the more pissed off I’d get around the many (many) assumptions academics made around atypical/divergent/convergent thinking, while ignoring all of the Creative Industries .
More importantly, creativity and its associated skill sets are as valuable personally
as they are in any professional application.
Our ability to empathise, freely and deeply express ourselves and adapt in challenging circumstances are critical skills for a healthy life and sustainable relationships.
So I wrote a book about it... and here we are.
Now I get to speak about it, write about it, consult and teach about it...
I finally feel like all the little pieces of my life are able to come together to form a collective whole, greater than the sum of their parts..
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If you’ve made it this far, here’s a little taster of what CREATIVITY is/isn’t…
CREATIVITY is a personal (often abstract) language that you can learn and apply. We observe it in creative expression - when expertly crafted with LINEAR skill, it inspires us in dance, theatre, film, music, photography and the written word.
CREATIVITY alone, isn’t enough to solve, compose or innovate… anything.
Our imaginations possess extraordinary applications but without LINEAR skill, our results are vague, unoriginal, amateur and may create risk.
CREATIVITY is the single determining factor between those who are 'good' and those who are 'exceptional' - the ability to see unique opportunities, compose new ideas, draw deeper insights and offer something original, are traits that are universally applicable.
If you’d like to know more about creativity and optimal practice, I drink espresso and always love to share what pisses me off.
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