April 16, 2021
How to Identify Your YEAR OF LIVING CREATIVELY Project

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The Year of Living Creatively is a project-driven course. Each participant, before the course begins, identifies a meaningful goal, opportunity, or vision they want to breathe life into for the two months of the program. We're talking "skin in the game," "stake in the ground," and "chips on the table" -- a project you are committed to -- or, at the very least, a project you want to be committed to.

The project you will be saying YES to for the two months of The Year of Living Creatively program might be one you have recently conjured up or, perhaps, it's one you've been thinking about for many years, but have been, shall we say, "spinning your wheels".

To help you tune further into the project you want address in the course, please be mindful of the following five criteria:

1. PASSION: The project you will be focusing on in The Year of Living Creatively needs to be one you have great enthusiasm for -- a venture you are psyched about -- one you will likely end up dreaming about or, at the very least, be thinking about in the shower. We're talking major intrinsic motivation.

2. STRETCH: The Year of Living Creatively project you take on needs to be one that is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h for you -- not something necessarily easy to accomplish. By "stretch", however, I am not referring to stress, struggle, or drama. I am referring to an inspired goal or vision of yours that will require stepping outside your comfort zone.


3. SHAREABLE: The project you choose to develop in The Year of Living Creatively needs to be one you are willing to explore, from time to time, with other people in the course. You get to decide what specific aspects of your project to share, but you will need to share something. Two heads are not only better than one, it will help you get out of your own head.

4. COMMITMENT: Your Year of Living Creatively project will be more like a marriage than a fling. In other words, it needs to be something you're willing to be in an ongoing, intimate relationship with -- not something you will avoid the first time you experience discomfort, doubt, or difficulty.

5. TIMELINESS: In the best of all worlds, the project you choose to work on in The Year of Living Creatively will be the right project at the right time -- something for you to get your arms around, specifically, at this time in your life -- a project that is calling you. No more procrastinating. No more self-denial. No more chicken-shittedness. And, by the way, The Year of Living Creatively is designed to help you succeed with this project AND enjoy the process. Whoo hoo!

Interested in identifying your Year of Living Creatively project? If so, click the two self-inquiry pages below. All you need to do is reflect on the questions and fill in the blanks.

Follow Your Calling
Discover Your Real Question

Want to enroll? $249. PayPal: products@ideachampions.com

What is the real value of The Year of Living Creatively?

An invitation to dive deeper into your creative process
Who created The Year of Living Creatively?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2021

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There are two kinds of benefits you will receive from participating in The Year of Living Creatively. First, you'll make major progress on a passionate project of yours that needs a benevolent jolt. And second, you'll develop the kind of skills, mindset, and mojo you'll need to succeed with any creative project of yours in the future.

What follows are the ten qualities you will develop during your two-month participation in The Year of Living Creatively.

1. CURIOSITY: Curiosity is the driving force behind all human development. When a person is on fire with a desire to learn, discover, and explore, whole new worlds open up to them -- especially the inner world of creativity. Simply put, The Year of Living Creatively has been designed to fan the flames of curiosity -- providing participants with the kind of wake up call that animates the deep-seated quest for knowledge, know how, and understanding.

2. CLARITY: The creative process is often an unsettling experience. Doubt, ambiguity, and confusion come with the territory and often, in such degrees, that aspiring innovators can easily lose their way. The Year of Living Creatively program not only helps participants see the light at the end of their tunnel, it illuminates the path that leads to the end of the tunnel. Eyes open. Minds open. Hearts open.

3. COURAGE: It's what the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz needed and it's what all aspiring innovators need, as well -- the inner strength to venture, persevere, and go beyond fear. The root of the word courage comes from the Latin "cor", which translates as "heart". Year of Living Creatively participants are encouraged, in many different ways, to not only come from the heart, but also get to "the heart of the matter" -- the essence of who they are and why they want to create in the first place.

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4. CONFIDENCE: One of Big Bad Wolves on the path of creative expression is doubt -- the feeling of uncertainty and lack of conviction that robs a person of their precious life force. Everyone, at some time in their life, feels doubt. Everyone. But doubt increases a thousandfold when we attempt to go beyond the status quo and create something extraordinary. That's when confidence is especially needed -- the recognition that not only do we have the potential to succeed, we have the right. The Year of Living Creatively is designed to radically increase confidence -- not by pep talks, hype, and hustle, but by helping participants access the part of themselves that knows that anything is possible.

5. CREATIVITY: If you google "definitions of creativity" you will get 49,900,000 references. Here are 15 of them in case you're interested. But it really doesn't matter how you define creativity. What matters is that you live it -- that your thoughts, actions, and intentions are infused with it. The Year of Living Creatively is all about what it takes to create. Every process, exercise, conversation, Facebook post, Zoom call, brainstorm, and reading is designed to unleash creativity. We don't teach it. We don't need to. You already have it. We just make it infinitely more accessible to you.

6. COMMITMENT: Michelangelo may have said it best when he uttered these four words: "Genius is infinite painstaking." It took this extraordinary artist four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It took J.K Rowling seven years to go from her idea of Harry Potter to the published book. It took Tolkien 16 years to write the Lord of the Rings. What did all these people have in common? Commitment. Major Commitment. And this is one of great gifts of The Year of Living Creatively. It increases commitment.

7. COMMUNITY: The creative process is full of paradoxes, contradictions, and polarities. For example, on one end of the spectrum, creative people need lots of solitude. On the other end, especially during these isolating days of the Coronavirus, they need community -- opportunities to connect with other like-minded souls for encouragement, feedback, comradery, and fresh perspectives. The Year of Living Creatively is designed with this in mind -- establishing a community of practice that is welcoming, authentic, and inspiring.

8. CONNECTION: Here's one of the little-known secrets of creativity. It is often a function of how human beings connect seemingly unrelated elements -- their willingness and ability to synthesize new combinations between this, that, and the other thing. When we are "in the box", constrained by old assumptions and beliefs, we don't always see the inter-relatedness of things. When we are "out of the box", whole new worlds open up. Bottom line, The Year of Living Creatively increases the odds of people making new connections -- not just with each other, but to the many seemingly unrelated elements of their life.

Jobs had Wozniak. Lennon had McCartney. Crick had Watson. And Laurel had Hardy. Yes, it's true that the creative process is sometimes a solitary pursuit, but it is also a collaborative pursuit. Which is precisely why The Year of Living Creatively is designed to spark collaboration -- two or more people joining forces, in a soulful way, to radically increase the odds of magic happening.

10. CONTINUITY: The creative process, like bowling balls, bicycles, and skateboards, is subject to Newton's First Law of Motion -- what most of us have come to know as "An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion." For anyone trying to create something new in their life, maintaining positive momentum is essential. Flow, forward movement, and continuity matter, big time. The Year of Living Creatively is designed with Newton's First Law of Motion in mind -- doing everything it can to poke, jiggle, jolt, jog, prod, tickle, goose, and nudge people beyond inertia into the state of "its' getting better all the time."

An invitation to deep deeper in your creative process
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YOLC's previously unknown back story

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2021
An Invitation to Dive Deeper Into Your Own Creative Process

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"The creative process is a process of surrender, not control." -- Julia Cameron

The creative process -- the experience a human being enters into in service to their passion to manifest something from nothing -- is a mysterious one, even though it has been studied for decades by psychologists, neuroscientists, and researchers.

Consider this: everything you are seeing right now began as an idea in someone's mind -- the laptop, the cell phone, the chair you are sitting on, paper, paint, your desk lamp, picture frame, credit cards, books, halvah, and a whole lot more.

At one point, none of these things existed. And then they did. Somebody, somehow, someway conjured them up and successfully navigated their way through the twists and turns of the creative process until what they saw in their mind's eye became a reality.

The yoyo. The Sistine Chapel. The internet. Cheese. Dental floss. Cartoons. Beethoven's Fifth. Poetry. Gardens. Socks. Noodles. Earplugs. The Mona Lisa.

What do you think the originators of these manifestations went through? What journey did they travel to transform their inspired visions into reality?


For the moment, let's call their experience "the creative process."

Perhaps the most dramatic example of this phenomenon can be distilled down to four words: "Let there be light" -- supposedly the words of the prime Mover and Shaker, better known as.... drum roll please... THE CREATOR -- the one who, at the very beginning, created everything out of the nothing. Nebulae. Swirling gases. Galaxies. Black holes. White light. Space. Atoms. Molecules. Peacocks. Cockroaches. And, eventually, human beings.

All of this came into being via the primal expression of intention and declaration. Somehow, someway, somewhere there was a power that had the knack for CREATING simply by declaring it.

Of course, none of us were there at that alpha and omega moment to verify any of this. Not CNN. Not Fox News. Not Edward Snowden. And even though all we have are creation myths to go by, there is something about this "in the beginning" stuff that resonates with us -- an inkling that it is possible for something to be created out of nothing.

Can I get an AMEN?

Our version of this something out of nothing business is a tad less dramatic than what went down at the beginning. Our version is more like Let There Be Lite Beer.

And yet, we too, imperfect as we might be, also have the ability to create something out of nothing -- or COULD, if we only we....

Ah... if only we could WHAT?

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What is it that enables a human being to go from an idea in their imagination -- the concept of something -- to its realization? And, on the flip side, what gets in the way?

Is there a formula, map, or algorithm to follow? No, there isn't. But there IS a path -- the path that's made by walking on it. And the more we walk this path, the more it opens up, and the more it opens up, the more we discover what we need to experience in order to continue on that path -- much of which has been described in many beautiful ways, for centuries, by those who have gone before us and lived to tell the tale.

DaVinci. Michelangelo. Helen Keller. Einstein. John Lennon. Georgia O'Keefe. Nicola Tesla. Frank Zappa. Joseph Campbell. And a whole lot of other people -- lesser known -- with stars in their eyes and dirt under their fingernails.

Fascinated with the creative process, I have studied many of these people and whatever "maps" they may have left behind -- all of them indicating, in their own way, there IS a treasure buried somewhere.

Of these maps, the one that makes the most sense to me is the one drawn by Joseph Campbell, maestro of the "Hero's Journey" -- a blueprint of the human journey he discovered after deconstructing the stories of just about every culture on planet Earth, realizing, along the way, that ALL of the stories followed the same basic arc -- that, indeed, there is a universal, archetypal plot that weaves its way through our lives -- and that being mindful of this arc has extraordinary value, a kind of GPS for the soul's journey.

The value of this GPS? It positions us in time and space. It provides reference points. And it radically increases the odds of us being in the driver's seat, instead of the trunk.

For now, let's take a brief look at the five stages of the Hero's Journey (a distillation of Campbell's 17-step process elegantly crafted by Dr. Beverly Nelson and Joseph Dispenza) and how it relates to YOU, someone about to embark on their own creative journey -- one with at least a few Minotaurs, sirens, and Big Bad Wolves lurking in the shadows.

1. THE CALL TO JOURNEY: Have you ever felt called -- like the universe itself, was tapping you on the shoulder to get your attention -- that there was something for you to DO that absolutely HAD to be done and that if you DIDN'T do it you would end up feeling like you had chickened out? This calling is always preceded, according to Campbell, by some kind of disruption -- the end of the status quo and the recognition, as Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ so memorably stated that, "Toto, we're not in Kansas any more."

This disruption can take many forms. It can show up as a traumatic event, like a near death experience, the end of a marriage, the loss of a job, your home burning down, or Covid-19. Or, it might show up in a more intoxicating way -- like a dream, epiphany, or visitation from your muse.

Most commonly, human beings resist The Call to Journey. Where letting go would, ultimately, be the right move, we hold on. We tighten, clench, dig in our heels, cling to the past, and procrastinate.

If YOU are thinking of enrolling in The Year of Living Creatively (or have already enrolled) it is likely that you are feeling called -- that something deep within you has gotten your attention and you are now at the intersection of "Life As I Know It" and "I Have No Fucking Clue." Welcome to the fun house. Let the games begin!

2. THE PREPARATION: In order to transform nothing into something, you will need to prepare for the transformation. You will. There is no way around it. Farmers do this every season. Committed to having a harvest, they roll up their sleeves, plough their fields, fertilize the soil, and do whatever is needed to help nature take her course. You, too, will need to roll up your sleeves. You, too, will need to prepare for your creative journey. What, specifically, this preparation looks like is completely up to you. By the way, The Year of Living Creatively can help.

3. THE ENCOUNTER: Every aspiring creator eventually runs into obstacles. Every fairy tale has its Big Bad Wolf. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. Cinderella had evil stepsisters. And Jesus had Judas. That's just the way it is. Or as the Buddhists like to say, "No mud, no lotus."

The obstacle is not the problem. The problem is how you relate to the obstacle. Do you freeze, procrastinate, stick your head in the sand, and eat another quart of ice cream -- or do you summon your courage and proceed?

The good news? In the Hero's Journey, allies and mentors show up all along the way to offer their help, bearing all kinds of gifts -- winged sandals, mirrored shields, magic beans, and maybe a foot massage. For the moment, think of The Year of Living Creatively as an ally of yours -- the assistance you need to help you navigate the creative process with as much power, resilience, and confidence as possible.

4. THE HOMECOMING: All major rites of passage have some kind of "honeymoon period" associated with them -- the intoxication phase when everything is new and our lives are animated by the energy of "anything is possible." That's a good thing. It keeps us in the game. It provides the fuel we need to keep on trucking. Eventually, however, this phase comes to an end. The buzz wears off. Holy Grail having been discovered, head of the Minotaur having been decapitated, we need to integrate what we've learned. We need to sustain the effort on a daily basis -- the "chopping wood and carrying water" phase of life when we practice what we've preached (or what's been preached to us).

In Joseph Campbell's taxonomy of life, this is known as the Homecoming -- the part of the process when the hero, after all kinds of adventures, gets the chance to LIVE their wisdom. The mountain has been climbed. Now it's time to do the laundry with the same consciousness that received the Ten Commandments the week before.

5. THE TELLING OF THE TALE: Storytelling is our species' most powerful way of sharing what it knows -- a form of communication has been going on forever. Indeed, neuroscientists tell us that human beings are hard-wired for storytelling. It's what we do and how we do it -- translating our life experiences into a form that not only attracts attention, but delivers our message in the most memorable way possible -- the message of what we've learned... and what we know... and what will be useful for other people to consider as they continue on their journey -- or, perhaps, return from one.

The Telling of the Tale is the final stage of the Hero's Journey and, for those of us attempting to unleash our creativity -- a way to clarify our wisdom and be of service to others at the same time. YOU, as someone on the journey will not only be on the receiving end of many tales, you will also be the teller of tales -- the deep expression of what you've learned along the way. Your insights. Your moments of truth. And, ultimately, your wisdom.

And all in service to the greater good.

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." - Joseph Campbell

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The creator of The Year of Living Creatively

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2021

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Here at the International Headquarters of The Year of Living Creatively -- my living room -- we believe that every one on planet Earth is never more than a few seconds away from a breakthrough. Or, at the very least, a big idea, insight, or inspiration. Newton had his under an apple tree. Archimedes' moment was in the bathtub. YOURS? Well... that's still-to-be determined.

To increase the odds of this happening, we invite you to give our Breakthrough Buddy service a shot -- an optional component of The Year of Living Creatively.

The concept is a simple one: Instead of you only receiving support from two other people in the course -- your virtual "Creative Project Partners" -- we enroll a friend of yours who is NOT in the course to play a real-time support role for you. Assuming their interest, Mitch will coach them to be your Breakthrough Buddy -- surprising you in various mind-opening ways for the duration of the course. And all for one purpose: to help you generate, develop, and implement bold new approaches to your Year of Living Creatively project



1. You give Mitch the name and contact info of a friend of yours who lives within ten miles of you -- someone you trust and have good chemistry with.

2. You let this person know that you're enrolled in The Year of Living Creatively course and that -- with their permission -- Mitch will call them to explain how they can play a "creative catalyst" role for you.

3. Assuming your friend is open to the possibilities, Mitch will call them, explain how the Year of Living Creatively program works and what their Brainstorm Buddy role is all about. HINT: It's fun, stress free, and inspiring.

4. If your nominated Breakthrough Buddy says YES to our invitation, Mitch he will mail them a care package of innovation-sparking goodies. He will also email them simple guidelines, prompts, tips, tools, and techniques to help them play their catalytic role. Plus, he will be available to them 24/7 if they have any questions or need support.

NOTE: In gratitude for their go-beyond-the-call-of-duty efforts, all Breakthrough Buddies will receive a 20% discount on upcoming Year of Living Creatively courses.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:38 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2021

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The Year of Living Creatively is a highly engaging, eight-week online course (May 23 - July 18) that helps aspiring innovators transform their bold ideas into new products, new services, new forms of expression, new businesses, and breakthrough ways of living. Previous graduates describe the course in a variety of colorful ways:

-- A GPS for the creative process
-- An incubation chamber for the new
-- A greenhouse for personal greatness
-- A chiropractic adjustment for mojo

If you are on fire with an exciting new possibility and want the kind of support that will help you turn theory into practice, this course is for you. By the way, did you know that out of every 100 people who start writing a book only three complete it? And writers aren't the only ones subject to this three percent phenomenon. Many other aspiring creators are, as well.

The Year of Living Creatively is an antidote for all of that monkey business -- an inspiring way for you to be on top of your game.

HOW IT WORKS: Dominoes delivers pizza. FedEx delivers packages. The Year of Living Creatively delivers provocative catalysts, community, and clarity to keep aspiring innovators as free as possible of the obstacles that sometimes eat them up. The service includes five BASIC elements and six OPTIONAL ones. In effect, The Year of Living Creatively is a bounteous buffet of mind-opening possibilities. You pick and choose what you are hungry for.


1. SELF-INQUIRY PRACTICE: Once a week, you will receive, in your inbox, links to two online self-inquiry pages (like this one) to help you navigate your way through your sometimes challenging creative process. If you're stuck, the page will get you unstuck. If you're already unstuck, the page will spark a quantum leap of insight and action. Each page assumes you are willing to reflect on key aspects of your journey for 15-30 minutes per week.

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2. ZOOM CALLS: Twice a month, you will be invited to participate in a 75-minute ZOOM session -- a virtual campfire around which all Year of Living Creatively participants gather. This is an opportunity to dive deeper into your creative process, share progress, receive valuable tips, tools, and techniques, brainstorm, and enjoy support from other members of the creative community.

3. CREATIVE PROJECT PARTNERSHIPS: Each Year of Living Creatively participant will be paired with two other participants -- an opportunity for the three of you to exchange fresh perspectives, feedback, ideas, resources, and encouragement. Three heads are definitely better than one -- especially during these socially isolated days of the Coronavirus.

4. PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP: All participants will be invited to join the Year of Living Creatively FB group -- an asynchronous way to stay in touch with the creative community, share your progress, ask questions, get inspired, watch innovation-sparking videos, and keep your creative fires burning.

5. CREATIVITY-IN-ACTION STORIES: Part of what makes The Year of Living Creatively so effective is the way in which it keeps participants on top of their game -- helping them in very simple ways to stay conscious, inspired, and committed to their creative process. One engaging way we do this is our 5-minute Creativity-in-Action audio stories delivered every Wednesday, via email -- stories that feature best practices, insights, and breakthroughs that can easily be adapted and applied in daily life.


1. APPLIED CREATIVITY: A PDF download of a 200-page guidebook for aspiring innovators, mavericks, entrepreneurs, closet geniuses, and cultural creatives. A treasure trove of articles, tips, tools, and techniques to help you radically increase your odds of getting out of the box, staying out of the box, and enjoying the process of manifesting your heart's desire.

2. MICRO-LEARNING FOR INNOVATORS: All participants will be granted access to an online library of 52 articles, videos, and stories on creativity from the writings of YOLC Founder, Mitch Ditkoff.

3. BREAKTHROUGH BUDDY: While the creative process requires a healthy dose of solitude, it also requires a healthy dose of support from other people -- but not just any others -- people you trust, have chemistry with, and know how to fan the flames of your creative mojo. Which is why The Year of Living Creatively will be enrolling (with your permission) the person of your choice (living within ten miles of your home) to serve as your very own Breakthrough Buddy -- someone who will do their best to support you, in fun ways, throughout the duration of the course. HOW we get this person up-to-speed to play their catalytic role is our little secret. Suffice it to say, we will provide them with everything they need to help you on your way.

4. AWAKE AT THE WHEEL: A Kindle version of Mitch''s award-winning business fable about the mythical invention of the wheel and the creative process that Og, the genius cavemen, went through in order to get the idea out of his head and into the world.

5. COACHING: Private coaching sessions are available with Year of Living Creatively Founder, Mitch Ditkoff. $150/hr.

6. FREE THE GENIE: One-one-one or small group brainstorming sessions with Val Vadeboncoeur -- a long-time friend and collaborator of YOLC Founder, Mitch Ditkoff. $75/hr.

7. FREE SUBSCRIPTION to FREE THE GENIE: An engaging online creative thinking tool to help you generate, develop, and implement bold new ideas.

Total number of participants: 25

COST: $249 (the cost of a cappuccino per day)

PAY VIA PAYPAL: products@ideachampions

QUESTIONS? Email Mitch (mitch@ideachampions.com)

More about the creator of the Year of Living Creatively

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

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