Finding Your Identity As A Creative Leader With Kent Sanders – Episode 009

Today’s guest is Kent Sanders. Kent is an editor at the Good Men Project, Professor at St. Louis Christian College, and author of The Artist’s Suitcase: 26 Essentials for the Creative Journey. He writes about art and creativity at KentSanders.net.

Find your creative leader identity

Find your creative leader identity

Show Notes:

How do you define creativity?

I don’t define creativity in terms of a certain kind of art or skill. That’s a very superficial way of looking at it. It’s much broader than that.

“Creativity” suggests creating, or bringing forth something that is new or fresh. I like to define creativity this way: Doing what you were born to do.

It’s like breathing: you must breathe in (take care of yourself; be healthy; personal growth), but you must also breath out (serving, being generous, being excellent at your craft. A healthy person is always breathing both in and out.

Why should leaders be creative?

Again, it’s not about a certain type of art or creative expression. It’s about doing the best job of creating what you were meant to create, and what you enjoy creating.

You are at your best when you’re doing what you love, and you’re growing and learning.

I like Maxwell’s definition: Everything rises and falls on leadership. I am more convinced of this than ever.

Personally, I have seen two high-profile ministry leaders in my city, both of whom I know, crash and burn this year. It is really heartbreaking. They were not healthy. They were focusing much more on the PRODUCT of ministry than leading from a healthy, humble, surrendered place. Rather than feeling judgmental, it’s a wake up call to me. We are all capable of anything, given the right circumstances. “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Without growth, learning, innovation, surrounding yourself with good people, you will crash and burn, or just wither. Everything depends on being healthy and feeding yourself. Creativity is not about wowing people—it’s about being faithful to what you’re called to do, and being excellent at it. That is truly “creating,” or bringing forth something of value.

What gets in the way of creativity?

A big problem with the way we view creativity is that we put all the focus on the product or result—i.e. creativity means writing a book, a song, making a movie, etc. But we must first focus on the WHO of creativity (the person who is creating) before we can focus on the product. In other words, you have to start with a healthy, surrendered self, with enough margin and space to create something.

Some of the things that get in the way of that process:

Fatigue

Perception of not enough time

Not sure of our direction, so we don’t know what we need

Information overload—too many emails, webinars, books

Paralyzed by so many options and directions

What is something you’re personally doing to be more creative?

I read a lot. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts a lot as well.

I am part of a weekly mastermind (just 2 people right now).

I am an editor at Good Men Project. I try to stay in over my head. I have grown a ton from that. It has also been very good since it’s outside the Christian “bubble.”

I have said “no” a lot the past couple of years. I am very intentional about protecting my schedule. I changed my default answer from “yes” (people pleaser) to “no” (intentional living).

Closing thought:

Success is measured in inches, not miles. Small steps every day. Routines, planning, habits.

Resources Mentioned:

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (important of myth to human culture; it’s blowing my mind) – Influenced George Lucas when he was creating Star Wars

Leland Ryken, ed., The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (what Kent uses for personal devotions; all the imagery/poetry/arts/metaphor, etc. in the Bible)

How To Unlock Your Creative Potential by Kent Sanders

Where to find Kent Sanders:

Kentsanders.net

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Question: What’s holding you back from finding your identity as a creative leader? Share your struggle in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great interview Joe. Recently I have been challenging my self creatively. For a long time I defined someone who was int art as creative. I can’t draw or paint so I felt I was not creative. A couple months ago I read the book The Imagineering Workout by several Walt Disney Imagineers (The folks who design the parks, rides and shows). They connect the creative process to project management, brainstorming and leadership. After reading it, I went out an bought a small sketch book Granted it is mostly stick figures but I now use it as part of my brainstorming process when creating my sermons. I am also going back through the actual workouts from the book. My sketches will never show up in a museum but it helps we see life from a new perspective.

    • Thanks Jon! It was a blast recording it with Kent.

      I love what you’re doing. You’ve taken action to get more creative, even if you don’t feel like you are.

      How has this helped you?