Logical Smart Theme ~ Talking Innovation with Dale Griffiths-Stamos, award winning playwrite, poet and producer.
This week on Sister Leadership, we are thrilled to share an interview with the warm-hearted and creative talent, Dale Griffiths Stamos . Dale reached out to Sister Leadership while researching her upcoming book on Renaissance Women. So, what do you do when a brilliant and talented women gets in touch? You interview her to help share her wealth of knowledge, of course. Dale is a writer but also knows the role of producer – making her a perfect fit for our Logical Smart meets Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) theme.
When asked to choose a theme from the SQ qualities, she chose innovation. What is innovation? Sister Leadership sees it as the act of implementing something that matters to us to fulfil our purpose in life. We innovate by transforming ideas from past creativity into something which can make a difference for the good of all. Creativity is the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual. From a creative place, we may invent something that has never been made before and is recognized as the outcome of some unique insight.
1. Dale, can you explain why you chose innovation when you saw the list of Spiritual Intelligence themes?
“I’m a writer. A lot of times when you talk to people, someone says, “what is it that you do?” Writers feel more like writing is not what I do, but writing is who I am. It’s such a part of being creative. When you are a writer, you don’t have a choice about it. You really don’t because it can be a brutal career. There’s an amazing amount of competition.
When I read the description of innovation, I realized it was very much about creativity. And the creativity is integral to who I am. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t being artistic in one way or another. I spent a little time acting, I did a considerable amount of music, too. When I was nine years old I published my first poem. You come into the life and you know. It’s not like ‘gee what career should I choose?’
2. How do you connect your purpose, that connection to spirit, to innovation?
How do they work together? Let me answer it this way. There’s an interplay between life and that purpose. Again, if you are looking at it from a more spiritual point of view, you can see it as, “do you trust your inner voice or do you not?” It’s a lot about trusting that – mentioning the inner play, life has a way of throwing all kinds of distractions, but also trying in its best way to pull you away from what the voice inside you is saying. So, you are having to make a lot of choices as you go through your life.
For example, people in your life – like your parents, who are absolutely terrified for you to be an innovator, an artist, a creator, because for them that means insecurity, lack of money, it means so many frightening things to them that they will steer you away from that voice as much as you can.
And then, of course, rejections try to steer you away from that voice.
So when you are coming along, another life that pulls you away form that inner voice is your own self-doubt. Maybe I’m fooling myself? And for many, many, many years I thought that was the case. But the thing about this is that you still can’t not do it. So then you start thinking you are a crazy person. So here I am, I’ve got nothing but rejections, and I’m still doing it. Why am I doing this thing? Why haven’t I given it up and gone to something more realistic? But the truth is that again, you cannot not do it. It’s an imperative.
3. What have been some of your most meaningful outcomes from your creativity?
People say things like, aren’t you just happy writing for yourself? Are you just happy because you are doing what you want to do? This is not true. No writer feels this way. No artist feels that way. The act of creativity is about sharing, it’s about connecting, and it’s about communicating. So, the times that I have felt the best is when I’ve had a play onstage and people have come up afterward and said, “oh my god that’s me” or “I cannot believe how that just drew me in from beginning to end.” It’s that feeling of reaching across with your words and touching another human being in some way or another. That to me is what it’s about.
4. I read a great quote from an article you’d written on Authorlink . “Remember sometimes the best way to further your career is to be proactive.” In that article you were saying proactivity can be more than innovation, it can be with the details too. Can you share how you bring that analytical mind to the innovative process?
That’s such a great question and it’s been such a part of my life. I consider myself a highly right brain and left brain person. I’m very organized, I’m very methodical. And in fact, a lot of my career I’ve been able to further by putting on a producer hat. So some of my plays have been produced by other people, some I was the producer. I’m about to produce a few films. When you put on a production hat, when you talk about detail, you are – first of all, it’s a 24 hour 7 day a week job. It’s really daunting. When I first did it, I thought I was absolutely crazy to tackle something like that. But the result was a production that I felt so proud of because I’d had my hand in every aspect of it. So for us control freaks, it is absolute detail work. You get up in the morning, and you have about seven lists of to-dos all in different areas. Luckily I’m totally ADD, so I can hop from one thing to another.
You have to do things like deal with the graphic artist and all of the aspects of the graphics. And then you have to deal with the director, and sitting with the director and casting the play or movie. Then you have to deal with marketing. Oh my goodness. There’s the other side of that coin! I say this to writers all the time, unless you figure the marketing out, you are only doing half of the job, especially in today’s age where publishers barely touch the marketing anymore. When I say proactive, you’ve got to figure out every possible way – you have to get over your shyness. I used to be so shy. Now I’m at a party, I have my cards! I have my production cards, I have my website cards.
You are doing a project featuring Renaissance women, and how innovation comes into that too?
(Dale explained a bit of the back story. Her brother is writing a book on Modern Renaissance men, Beyond genius: the twelve traits of today’s Renaissance men, and, while discussing the project, Dale saw an opportunity to contribute to the obviously missing element of Renaissance women. Her brother had googled Renaissance Women one-two years ago and retrieved almost nothing, but when Dale searched more recently, she found Sister Leadership and some other sites, so the idea is slowly beginning to percolate.)
When he looked it up, he would find the following: Renaissance women were women who lived during the Renaissance.
Now, the problem with that was there was Da Vinci during the Renaissance. But does anyone know of Isabelle d’Este? Isabella d’Este lived during the Renaissance and was a Renaissance woman. You have amazing women – the list goes on and on of these women who, in despite of multiple odds against them, did manage to be these multifaceted, multitalented, amazing women. And then, you have our modern day version. We are focusing on modern day women. We’ve done a few interviews so far.
I guess the best way I would describe these women is that they don’t believe in limits. We’re actually making the argument that there’s a new Renaissance afoot, and the Renaissance this time is actually being led by women.
It’s much more aspirational in nature. The women have had their difficulties, but it’s about how do they transcend those difficulties, what are the lessons that they have to teach? How did they become successful, and what does success mean to them?
What do you think is bigger than you that you contribute towards? How does that make the world a better place to live in?
There are times where I take long walks, and I visualize that contribution that I want to make to the world. It usually involves that act of communication. It involves my saying I want to touch people mind, emotion and spirit. I want my work to reach out and touch those three levels of people’s lives.
A lot of my work is about my own questions about reality, my own searches through reality. But part of what I’m hoping I’m doing is moving myself and other people forward in some of those questions. It sounds egotistical if you say “oh I’m enlightening people,” because I don’t think it’s that—I don’t think I’m enlightening people. I think I’m joining them on their own search. And, I hope I’m giving them more things to think about on that search.
My main feeling is that life is about more than getting up in the morning, having a cup of coffee, going to a boring job, fighting with your husband or wife, maybe having an occasional vacation or two. I know a lot of people’s lives have to be like that, but I am a believer that there is something more. That something more is something that I struggle with, but I hope in my struggle other people feel that they are not alone in theirs.
Who was your favourite fictional character, and how do you relate to them?
Two people come to mind and they are very, very different. One of them is every character that Katherine Hepburn ever played. I wanted to be Katherine Hepburn, I started naming my characters Kate. At the same time, I adored Audrey Hepburn, the other Hepburn, who had the most amazing grace and sweetness and polish, and vulnerability. So those are actresses, but to me the fictional character I love most with Katherine Hepburn – I think it’s called Adam’s Rib, she and Spenser Tracey were both lawyers fighting on opposite side of a case, and they were married to each other so they would go home and argue about it further. The thing that inspired me about her character was that she was a strong women, but still loving and vulnerable, and she was a career woman, and she was equal to her husband in every possible way. So that character on that film inspired me the most. But if you think of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday … there was that sweetness to her.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I always saw myself as a combination of those things – the strength, but also the warmth and vulnerability and the kindness. I hope I demonstrate that in my life now, particularly with my students.
Many thanks to Dale for sharing her story of innovation with us here on Sister Leadership. Did you relate to Dale’s interpretation of innovation? How do you couple creativity with connection and community? We’d love to hear your experiences below in the comment.
Till next week!
Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.
Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!