Ownership means being all in regarding your creativity, moving beyond your Backstory and early experiences, and embracing your creative identity. This is the time when you choose who you want to be for the long term. You have creative gifts, but are you willing to pursue life as a creative person? Is this creativity, and your own powerful potential within it, that you really want? How will you shape your life around this newfound part of you?
Ownership is the point of decision. The prior stages were about who you were and what you might be; Ownership is when you decide who you want to become in light of who you’ve been. This is the point where the Creative Heroes and Creative Villains begin to separate themselves. The fundamental question in this time is: how will I respond to my story up to this point?
Few of us have perfect Backstories. Our histories may be checkered by creative failures, abandonment, rejection, and even outright abuse. Ownership is the time when we must stand at the crossroads of our story, and decide how our past will shape our futures. Will the pain make us bitter, or give us compassion? Will our failures fill us with fear, or move us to press for a better way of doing things? One road leads to life as a Creative Superhero, while the other runs into the shadow land of the Creative Villain.
The key decision that separates the Heroes from the Villains is how we will view ourselves in light of our backstories. Will we become the heroes or the victims of our stories? Villains see themselves as the victims of their stories. They are the weaker party in every instance, taking failures as the bitter confirmation of their worst fears about their creative gifts. Their creativity is temperamental at best, driven by jealousy, self-doubt, and a desperate need for approval. Villains avoid creative community, preferring instead to insulate their fearfulness behind walls of elitism and criticism. Their end game is power and self-protection.
Heroes use the pain of their pasts as building blocks for their future, learning from failures and growing through difficult circumstances. They know that their identities aren’t rooted in what happened to them, but in who they are inside. They are creative regardless of whether their circumstances are conducive to creativity or because someone gave them permission. They know that creativity is their natural function, and they refuse to let setbacks keep them from using their hard-won skills. Heroes are generous and relational, recognizing the value and power of healthy creative community. Their end game is growth and creative authenticity.
As you walk through the Ownership process, remember that you are not powerless in your creativity. You have the power to choose who you will become, regardless of your past circumstances. You are not your past, nor do you have to remain who you are at present. You can become the Hero of your story, even if you’ve been playing the Villain up to now (more on that later. . .). Ownership is your opportunity to re-write the story of who you can be.
Sarah is the co-founder of Bright Ideas, a designer by trade, and an artist by passionate choice. She was born and raised in the South, and delights in sharing Southern culture with anyone who cares to learn. Sarah collects creative outlets; when she isn’t making art or writing, you can usually find her on the dance floor. Follow her creative adventures on Instagram and Twitter!