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There wasn't a single chapter that I didn't find myself nodding or wishing I had a highlighter (which would've made this book review so much easier to write).
Flourish is not just a how-to. It's full of inspiring, real-life examples of people living creatively, unveiling their gifts, discovering their purpose, and affecting others. The reader reflection questions challenged the way I think about my own creativity.
I enjoyed it cover-to-cover, but the chapter that spoke most to my creative journey (past and present) is Find Your Flow (pg. 78 in paperback).
This may come as some surprise to you all, but I really love clothes (haha ha). Personal style is one of several creative outlets that I claim for myself. I don't paint, sew, scrapbook, play an instrument, or write poetry (though I wish I did all of those things). My daydreams mostly consist of outfits - for myself or others. It's my practical art form - since people have to get dressed anyway, may as well make it fun and pretty. This blog has and continues to serve as an outlet for me to get those things out of my head and into view.
A few years ago, it seemed like a good idea to take my shopping and outfitting ability to the retail world. With zero experience, I applied to work at a high-end boutique chain. As a part-timer, it felt like a natural fit and I was quickly promoted to full-time Assistant Manager at a new location.
It didn't take long before I realized that the responsibilities of management, protocol requirements, and a lackluster buying season (that I had to wear and sell anyway) left me exhausted. I missed the care-free wardrobe that I'd built from hours of enjoyable shopping for random things at random places. All of sudden, I was subject to someone else's idea of style and budget - not that theirs was bad or wrong - it just wasn't mine. I didn't want to blog because I didn't have time, and to be honest, I didn't like myself or what I was wearing. A little more than a year later, I was back at an office job. And you know what? I felt more like myself in the polo-and-khakis uniform than I did at the clothing store. I had the time and energy to shop and dress for ME again.
In Flourish, Staci writes, In your area of creativity, chances are if you're following your own natural flow you're going to be fulfilled, content, and even happy. Sometimes, you find where you're most comfortable by trying to go somewhere else first. Those tangential explorations into unfamiliar waters are necessary for showing us what we can do - grow, stretch, diversify - but also for showing us where we just plain don't belong.
In the midst of my creatively stifling experience, I learned a ton about maintaining a store. I also met some amazing people who remain a big part of my life today. I ultimately went back to retail in much smaller settings where I have the freedom to be creative. Along the way, I discovered my passion for helping start-ups. I found a flow that energizes me with people who support and challenge my ideas in healthy ways.
Flourish is a great read for anyone, no matter what your craft or occupation may be. It's about honing your God-given skills and desires in order to have a more fulfilling life experience. I want that and I bet you do too. :)