Robert B. Dilts, in his book Strategies of Genius, mentions the use of words known as “connectives”. Basically, connectives are words or phrases that link one idea to the next. An example of a connective would be the word because. Here’s how this works. I can make the statement, John is a frustrated person. If I follow that statement with the connective word because, we now have to complete the statement, and in the process we learn something more about John…”why” he’s a frustrated person. John is a frustrated person because he feels unappreciated. Now let’s add the connective phrase only when to the statement. We now learn yet another dynamic of John using this new connective phrase. John is a frustrated person only when he’s not truly tuned into the reality of the moment. Now we know that John feels unappreciated and has a need to closely watch how he handles himself. How much more might we learn about John (or “John” learn about John) by continuing this process with different connective words and phrases? This is an excellent exercise to help discover more about a person, a problem, ourselves, or a need we may have…and to my point. We’ll use this technique by Dilts using some of his connectives (and a few of my own) for you to diagnose and better understand your relationship with your creative-self. Finish the following statements as honestly as you can.

I feel I lack creativity because………………………………………………………..

I feel I lack creativity only when………………………………………………………

I feel I lack creativity after……………………………………………………………..

I feel I lack creativity along with………………………………………………………

I feel I lack creativity whenever……………………………………………………….

I feel I lack creativity except…………………………………………………………..

I feel I lack creativity although………………………………………………………..

I feel I lack creativity if…………………………………………………………………

I feel I lack creativity in terms of………………………………………………………

I feel I lack creativity in the same way that………………………………………….

Now…take a break. Get away from the page and relax, clear your head, and get yourself ready to come back and objectively look at your responses. What have you learned about yourself that was not evident to you previous to this exercise? What responses were frighteningly (as in I better address this right now) true? What responses in retrospect look utterly ridiculous, something you could easily handle? What do these responses in their totality tell you about yourself and what you need to address in terms of your “creative” standing with yourself? The first step towards being able to create change in any aspect of your life is your “awareness” of what you’re uncomfortable with. Complete this exercise, and learn.

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