We don’t do it to ourselves. We are naturally wired to be creative. Just watch a bunch of five year olds with crayons, glue, paper. We are drawn to create. But somewhere along the way – adults feel a need to label. To tell kids whether they are a “creative” or not. And that sticks. We take it heart. I was running a training in the summer, and the group was in the middle of a brainstorming session. Each member was rapidly putting up crazy ideas on post=its and sharing it with the group. An older 65 year old gentleman sat back and looked defeated. He said “none of those ideas are mine. I was told at a really young age I wasn’t creative.” I saw before me a 65-year old man transformed into a school boy who had never overcome that label. What he didn’t realize is that he was also not giving himself permission to be creative. Being creative – means removing your inner judge. It means not accepting the labels others put on you at such a young age. It involves understanding that our natural state is to create, to think, to imagine. We as adults need to be careful about inadvertently labeling children as ‘creative’ or ‘analytical’. We need to just encourage them to engage and try new things. And we also need to be sure to question the labels others have put on us. Create your own labels. I never thought I was “creative” – maybe creative with processes and people – but not with art or things. I still may not design something that will be museum or store-worthy, but making stuff now makes me happy, and the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel calling myself creative.