« Another Inspired Intersection | Main | Creativity in Business: My Interview with Annalie Killian »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Pamela Meyer

Really great list, Michele--we can't be reminded of these too often! Thanks for so thoughtfully articulating them.


Thank you so much, Pamela. Means a lot coming from you :-)

Per Enequist

Excellent article! You put the finger on so much, I get all exited!

RJ Johnson - 21st Century Appreciative Inquiry

As always, your writing is not only informative, but challenging. I am still haunted by "Be changed by what is said and what is happening." After 3 and 6 day dialogue sessions, I can attest to the power of this type of openness and listening.

Regarding point #3, "Understand the normal resistance that occurs with navigating the unfamiliar", I am very thankful for Jeffrey Goldstein's book, "The Unshackled Organization" where he talked about attraction rather than resistance. Perhaps as improvisers, it would be an advantage to think more about people being attracted to their current state rather than resisting a future state. They could even brainstorm ideas about how they could become more attracted to the future state. This would seem to be much more creative and productive than brainstorming ways to overcome "resistance."

My other thought is that somehow, "Yes, and" ties in with the idea of attraction versus resistance. I just can't articulate how at this time. What are your thoughts?

Best regards,

RJ Johnson


Hi RJ. Thanks for your kind words. I have not read that book, so I can't speak to it regarding what he said or meant.

I do not see the natural resistance, that occurs in all of nature when something new is being born, as something negative to be overcome, but rather more of a natural contraction that happens with every expansion in the creative process. Just like in the birthing process - when something new is being born, the body needs to expand and contract until eventully the baby is born out into the world. The contraction is an essential part of the process of strengthening the baby. The doctor delivering the baby does not focus on eliminating the contraction - but allows it - and works with the life-energy of the baby trying to be born. In that process, the doctor is simply prepared that there will be a dynamic balance of expansion and contraction along the way. It only becomes a problems when either one is out of balance...if only expansion, the baby would come out prematurely...if only contraction, the baby would not be born.

Natural resistance it just there, wanting to maintain the status quo, as is expansion, the part opening to the new birth. In years of working with individuals and group on this, I have seem it emerge as a distinct pattern when creating something really new.

People often mistake the contraction as "this isn't working" or as a "resistance problem they have" instead of seeing it's role in the creative process. If, instead of trying to fight it, deny it, or let it keep us back, we became aware of it, and accept it as part of the creative process - and still stay focused on cultivating what is trying to emerge into the world - we can be blessed by it's gift to the creative process rather than hindered by it.

In improv the yes-and invites up to expand our view out of either/or, and create third ways that are big enough to contain both. So, I do not in think in terms attraction vs. resistance...I see them as a both/and to a larger part of the creative process, which contain attraction (what is alive for us) and resistance (the natural contraction that occurs when trying to create what is most alive out into the world).

RJ Johnson - 21st Century Appreciative Inquiry

Hi Michelle,
I have been mulling over your ideas for a few days now and would like to share my “current state.” While I was busy being attracted to my ideas on resistance and attraction, your birth analogy made me think of “Butterfly Wings” where the butterfly must struggle to be free of the cocoon. If the butterfly doesn’t struggle, then it never develops normally. For me, the word struggle describes the challenge of creative environments a little better. Even if people are “resisting”, they may still struggle. Thanks for your always challenging and thought-provoking ideas.
Best regards,
RJ Johnson


Thank YOU, RJ! :-)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

My Photo

Let's Connect