Peak Creative Moments

I recently wrote about peak moments—times in our lives on which we look back with pride. When we reflect on the big points in our lives, we often think of non-work events: weddings, births, moves, graduations, and so on. But I think we have peak creative moments as well, when we find ourselves in the midst of an important experience of our own design, or when we come to the end of something we’re proud of. For those of us who create for a living (or create for a life), it’s good to isolate those times and keep them in mind as we move on to other projects.

So here’s the exercise: take 60 seconds and write down all the peak creative moments you can think of.  It could include an all-nighter you pulled to finish a big project… the final release of a work that was months or years in the making… the first time you saw your art on the wall of the gallery. Or something else entirely.

Ready? Take your 60 seconds… now!

It’s good to isolate peak creative moments and keep them in mind as we move on to other projects.

If you’re curious, here’s one of my peak creative moments. A year ago, I wrote a book. Writing the book itself involved plenty of frustrating moments, as well as the occasional euphoria of feeling like I was on the right track. Then I finished, and waited for the peak.

It didn’t come, at least not right away. I went on with my life and other projects. Then one day nine months later (publishing being an insanely slow industry), I got a FedEx box of my author copies. The funny thing was, I didn’t expect it to be a big deal, since I’m usually thinking much more about the future than the past. Years ago, I skipped my college graduation to go to India. I didn’t even open the mail with my diploma until a month after returning.

But for whatever reason, opening the box of books turned into a peak moment. I pulled out the first copy and thought, “Wow!” I held the work in my hands and, after confirming that my name was actually spelled correctly, I felt a sense of ownership and pride. I was glad I had made it through the writing challenge and publisher dramas, coming through to the other side of having a “real book” in my hands. In another two weeks, I knew I’d be out on the road meeting readers, and I was already thinking ahead about the second book.

While it’s good to look forward to something new, there is much value in reflecting on what led you to where you are now. We’re not always so great at predicting what accomplishments will have lasting impact. For me: a graduate degree didn’t lead to a peak creative moment, but writing a book did.

Reflection can be a powerful thing – a feedback loop that helps you refine your professional and personal goals.

What About You?

What was one of your peak creative moments? Did it inform your choices going forward?

More insights on: Achievement

Chris Guillebeau

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Chris Guillebeau's new book, The $100 Startup, chronicles the lessons of 70 ordinary people who created businesses with no special skills and a small amount of money. He also writes for a small army of remarkable people at ChrisGuillebeau.com.
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