2021 will be about unlocking more creative capacity.
My late-August birthday has forever fallen in the midst of back-to-school rituals. Due to this astrological alignment, I’ve been conditioned from an early age to see a calendar year starting in September. So, for as long as I can remember, I’ve made space for reflection and goal-setting a tradition at the start of every Fall season, giving me a head start on so-called New Year resolutions. This year, however, changing course on a weekly (if not daily) basis has become the norm.
I am fortunate to be in good health and relatively stable financially, so my outlook on 2021 must be disclaimed as such. This pandemic has shuttered many businesses, leaving millions unemployed and faced with difficult decisions. The increasingly grim numbers of COVID-19 infections globally, but especially here in the United States, point to a long road of uncertainty ahead before any hope of economic, social, and emotional rebound. So what we do with this time in transition, ultimately reveals everything we need to know about our creative capacity.
For many, constraints serve as useful motivators. Externally determined objectives, restrictions, and deadlines set the parameters for traditional work to transpire. When viewed as a challenge, creative constraints help get the job done, and I expect many to flourish in the face of our next pending lockdown. If this sounds like you, lean into the boundaries (or set your own) and get to work.
For others, creative conquests have little structure to them at all. The greatest works of art — “work” and “art” both being subjective — were not mastered in a co-working space during the hours of 9 to 5. While I don’t consider myself an artist, I believe I’ve created my most meaningful work “off-the-clock.” I have, however, had the privilege of working for myself since 2012, so I tend to navigate my days simply based on when I’m feeling inspired. Some days I can get a full day’s worth of work done by noon. Other days, I let my productive energy flow through an entire Saturday. The benefits of working from home are starting to become familiar to more people as the notion of a corporate HQ starts to crumble. Set your own schedule and maximize the times when you’re in the mood to.
The idea of creative capacity that I raised earlier is what I think we’ll start to see unlocked more and more in 2021. At no other point in our lifetime have we been granted the space for personal growth than we are allowed in this moment. Wellness and entrepreneurial trends are colliding to the tune of Lizzo’s Instagram. If this isn’t the time to make that dream of yours a reality, then when is? The highest number of active participants in our democracy during this election year has empowered millions to use their voice — a vibration that resonates across the land, speaking once again, “yes we can!”
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from 2020, it’s that our time here is not guaranteed. So don’t wait for a new calendar year to start expanding your creative boundaries. Your time to be bold, to be generative, and to invest unapologetically in you, is now. Have fun with it.
Brand and Content Strategist