Use the Cycle of Creation to Get Things Done

Use the Cycle of Creation to Get Things Done

Months ago, on the glass wall behind my desk chair, I wrote the following words:

  • Hope
  • Disillusionment
  • Pragmatism
  • Renewal

I’m sure I pulled those words from somewhere. They probably represent somebody’s well-known cycle. But for the life of me, I can’t remember where I first saw them.

So while I’m not the person who coined this series of words, I’d like to borrow them and present them to you as the cycle of creation.

Let’s compare that to another well known cycle — the cycle of grief.

The Cycle of Grief

The cycle of grief includes five steps:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Now, let’s take a closer look at the cycle of creation…

The Cycle of Creation

Unlike the cycle of grief, which starts low and ends middling, the cycle of creation begins on a high note and ends on a high note.


An idea lights you up. You see the possibilities without their limitation. Your brain spins and you are fully energized.


Then, you talk with other people about your idea. And people are quick to point out why the idea might not work. They see the problems and flaws in your thinking. They share with you the potential for disaster.

And for a while, you are disillusioned. You wonder why you ever considered such foolery. You back away and let the idea drop.


But some ideas just won’t let you go. They hang on to your mind like burrs that stick to your clothes when you walk through an overgrown field. And when that happens — when the idea just won’t let go — you have no choice but to figure out how to move it forward.


You start, step by step, figuring out how to make your idea into something real. As it it takes shape, your self-doubt falls away.  The cautionary comments by others take their proper place as suggestions rather than criticism or condemnation.

And finally, your energy fully renews, driving your project to the next level.

This is the cycle of my armband project.

An Example: My Own Cycle of Creation

When Trump won the election, the idea of a black armband sprang into my mind. For me it had great resonance, symbolizing mourning as black armbands have for generations. I had hope that I could create something of value.

I started to talk with my friends and family and colleagues about the idea. And they shared with me their concerns, contrary opinions and even downright disgust. Some didn’t get the symbolism of the armband. Some were concerned of the potential for violence to wearers of the armbands. Some just thought it was a huge waste of time.

Predictably, I was disillusioned and discouraged.

But despite my sense that they were probably right, the idea continued to take shape. It was a burr that I couldn’t easily brush aside.

I moved to pragmatism.  I created the first prototype and started to test it out. The first group didn’t work well. They sliped down sleeves and the phrase and image weren’t quite right. But a redesign is underway.  New image, longer bands, velcro closure and a new phrase:

My energy is less immediate and hopeful than it was at the start. But it’s more pragmatic and ongoing.

And there you have. The cycle of creation.  Hope, disillusionment, pragmatism and renewal.

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Notice the Cycle of Creation

Make a note for yourself with the cycle of creation on it: Hope, Disillusionment, Pragmatism, and Renewal

Post it somewhere you’ll notice it. And then look for the times you walk through those four stages of creation. Perhaps when you write something. Or when you start a new business venture. Maybe you can see it in your relationships.

Often people go through cycles without noticing them. But to become aware that what you are feeling is part of a larger pattern may help you get to the end. And the sense of renewal is the reward.

Share your creation cycle experience in the comments below. Or, cycle on over to Facebook share it there.