Friendship & Creativity
I recently took a trip to Memphis for a reunion with my three besties from graduate school. We met in our early twenties, the first week of my first semester away from the hometown where I’d been since the third grade. As I drove across the bridge from Arkansas to Tennessee last week, I remembered white-knuckling it over that bridge in 1989, the day my world opened like a magnolia blossom.
We lifelong friends share a profession but our politics, therapies, and spiritual views scatter like the four winds. And while we live in different states and go long periods of time without a visit, we always pick up right where we left off with talk, shopping, exploration, and laughter. Our connection restores my faith in friendship and starts a storm of fresh, new ideas in my brain. Storylines emerge. Collages pop. Outfits assemble. Memories dance. I remember who I am.
We Have No Queen Bee, and No Underlings
This piece seems vital. In our little group, everyone shares her unique genius - and teaches something new to the rest. We invest equally in all our individual stories. Genuine support streams from us and nourishes the ideas and desires of each other. So, every time we meet up in Memphis or New Orleans or wherever, even if we stay out past my bedtime, I feel restored. I get reminded, “Oh yeah . . . I AM a good person!”
According to Relational-Cultural Theory, we get healthier and do everything better when we have mutual relationships. This means friendships and work-connections with people who celebrate who we really are, without the overlay of dominance or power-grabbing, without subtle place-setting, without the assumption we all think or feel the same.
Mutual means having shared power.
I build you up and you build me up
and we're smarter, healthier, richer,
and more joyous because we know each other.
But non-mutual relationships drain our creativity. Game-playing, manipulation, and covert competition erode our sense of safety at a basic level, siphoning energy that would otherwise help us develop novel solutions or create bold, beautiful artwork. This kind of energetic imbalance causes us to feel tired, depressed, or “off,” and fractures the group process. We start to get a vague sense of frustrated potential that’s hard to put into words.
We find our original spark when we feel supported and loved by the universe. I think this translates best when we’re truly seen and valued by our friends. In these rich environments, we tap the energy that carries our best ideas forward with exuberance, expectation, and joy.
Contact me for a free discovery session to see if SPARK can help you build the business of your dreams.