144: Chris Lee – How to Cultivate Creativity and Abundance
“Once you have the why, the how shows up.”
I’ve heard it before — “I’m just not a creative person.”
If you resonate with that sentence, I want to challenge you to think differently — creativity isn’t exclusive to artists. In fact, every single person in this world possesses their own unique creativity. Whether you work with paint, words, or computer code, you are a creative being. You can make beautiful things, whether they be relationships, stories, or an impact in the world.
As creative entrepreneurs, we often get stuck in a rut when it comes to our creativity. If our work is not received well, we doubt our self-worth. And like everyone on the planet, our mindset can get off-balance sometimes. Instead of living in abundance and gratitude, we retreat into scarcity and pessimism.
If we can learn how to control our mindset and rewrite our stories, we’ll create a bigger and better life for ourselves. Creativity and abundance are strongly linked, and so to better understand our unique creativity, we need to understand abundance. Thankfully, today I have the perfect guest on ONKEN RADIO (formerly NION Radio) to discuss how we can shift our mindset, practice gratitude, and become better creatives as a result.
Not only is Chris Lee a dear friend of mine, but he’s a transformational coach who has trained a lot of buddies of mine, including high-level executives, CEOs, artists, and entrepreneurs. An all-around amazing, fun, energetic guy, Chris’s mission is to serve the world and create transformation from within. I know you’re going to get so much from this interview, so let’s dive in.
Who Is Chris Lee?
Chris Lee is a transformational lifestyle coach who has worked with several successful entrepreneurs (including my friend Lewis Howes), artists, musicians, CEOs, and performers to create bulletproof mindsets for abundance and success. Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Chris has been traveling the world for over 30 years, leading seminars and workshops for over one million people. His mission is to serve the world by creating massive transformation in individuals who seek to live an abundant life!
Chris has worked with companies such as Dreamworks, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Sony and has collaborated with top Latin IV networks and radio shows. He coaches several celebrities and business leaders to create unprecedented results. In fact, he’s been featured on Lewis Howes’ podcast, The School of Greatness, for a total of 14 times! If you’re looking to learn more from Chris, those interviews are a great place to start.
In addition to being a transformational speaker, Chris Lee is the author of the bestselling book Transform Your Life: 10 Principles of Abundance and Prosperity. In his book, Chris shares the life-changing principles of abundance and prosperity that he teaches in his workshops.
From all the incredible people I’ve photographed, I’ve learned that mindset is the key to creating the life you desire. Your thoughts create your actions, and your actions create your results. Chris understands this better than anyone, and he uses his own creative outlet to invoke that same realization in others:
“I use words to convey feelings and emotions to empower, to have people discover, [and to] wake up consciousness. So through language and through my communication — that’s one of my creative outlets.” – Chris Lee
While Chris may not consider himself an artist in the traditional sense, he’s a passionate creative who is changing the world through his words. He understands abundance and creativity on a deeper level than most, and I’m thrilled to share this interview with you all.
The Secret to Abundance: Detach Ego and Be Grateful
You may have heard the word “abundance” often used in the self-development space, but how do we achieve it? Is abundance measured by our bank accounts, our followers, or external success? Not exactly — it’s much more a spiritual state than a material one. Chris says his journey to abundance started with having the right mindset:
“The first step for me was getting the right mindset. Once I had the right mindset, then I was able to implement all of the vision and the goals and all the things that I wanted to create through an action plan and through support systems and through mentorship and coaching. … I have a beginner’s mind … someone who looks at life through [the filter] of a childlike quality, where you’re a sponge, and you’re open, and you’re moved by things. And so every day, I’m like a walking child with the wisdom of an adult, but I’m always in awe. … I feel like I’m connected to this magical experience.” – Chris Lee
For Chris, life is magical — he’s thankful for every experience and every person that he meets. His childlike awe of the world inspires his creativity and gives him an abundance mindset. I asked Chris how we can tap into this state, and he said that the first step is letting go of ego:
“Detach ego. … I don’t care what people think. I don’t care about looking good or being right or being in control. I don’t care how I come across because those are all ego needs. And as long as I’m afraid of how I look, then I’ll be limited in my message. … So I’ve moved from [a] fear-base to love. Fear-base is the fear that life is rigged against me [and] that things are not going to work out. … When [I[ live from love … I come from [a] place [where] life is rigged in my favor.” – Chris Lee
Our ego tries to protect us, but it can get in the way of true abundance. In order to live from a place of love and magic, Chris doesn’t act from a place of fear so that he can attract abundance into his life. Another way that Chris does this is by constantly practicing gratitude:
“Abundance is an attitude of gratitude. And I know it sounds so Hallmark, but it’s true. … When you are grateful in life, life will give you more to be grateful for. … And that’s the true definition of abundance. It’s not about having a new car or having six houses or having a 20,000 square foot apartment in New York City.” – Chris Lee
In his bestselling book, Transform Your Life: 10 Principles of Abundance and Prosperity, Chris explains how everyone is a billionaire already. The fact that we can breathe air into our lungs, create beautiful works of art, or give a loved one a hug is worth more than all the money in the world. When you realize that you already have much, you can begin practicing gratitude for those things and call more abundance into your life.
When was the last time you genuinely expressed gratitude? I want to encourage you today to take some time and reflect on the incredible things, people, and moments in your life. Do this every day, and you’ll be a happier and more creative person.
Three Steps to Break out of a Scarcity Mindset
Let’s be honest — it’s easy to slip back into a scarcity mindset, even if you are trying to channel gratitude. I asked Chris if there are any practices that he does to keep himself from falling into a negative headspace, and he had some practical answers that we can all implement in our daily lives.
One of Chris’ favorite things to do is make lists — especially of the things that matter most to him. For you, this may look like journaling or freewriting about what you’re grateful for.
“Make a list of things that are priceless in your life … and really meditate on what you’re writing. … What would it be like if you didn’t have it? … When you start highlighting gratitude, that creates a spiral, snowball effect. Because … what we think about expands.” – Chris Lee
Writing down your thoughts is an excellent way to see your gratitudes on paper and then begin meditating on them. Reflect on why those things are so important to you and what your life would be like if you didn’t have them.
#2. Begin Each Day Saying, “Thank You”
When Chris wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is say, “Thank you.”
“If you want to start out the day with gratitude … the minute you open your eyes just say, ‘Thank you for a new day.’… and thank whoever you want to thank. … I believe in a God. I believe in a force. It may not be a traditional God, but I do believe in a higher power, and I always acknowledge that higher power.” – Chris Lee
Whether you believe in God, the universe, or some other force, there is so much value to beginning your day on a note of gratitude. It sets up your day for success and keeps a scarcity mindset at bay.
#3. Be a Giver
There are givers and takers in this world. There are people who try to take as much as possible from a fear mindset and those who give generously from the heart. Chris explained that when you give to others, you actually call in more abundance into your own life versus trying to take as much as you can:
“Another way of implementing abundance is to be a giver. That’s the first principle in my book … be someone who gives. … You’re in a cab. What can [you] give to the cab driver? You’re in a line at the grocery store. What can [you] give the cashier? How about a smile? … Oprah suggests random acts of kindness. Those will fill you up.” – Chris Lee
These acts of kindness could look like donating to a charity, volunteering at your local community center, or simply smiling at a stranger when you walk down the street. There are so many ways to be generous, and these ways are available to all of us. And as Chris says, “When you’re generous, life is generous with you.”
Don’t Force Your Creativity — Allow It
To finish the interview, I asked Chris how gratitude and abundance relate to creativity. He explained how a lot of people often blame their circumstances for lack of creativity and expect themselves to produce perfection.
“A lot of times people blame circumstances for the lack of creativity. … And I think that one of the keys to creativity and to unleashing your inner creative genius is to allow it and stop trying to force it. … [You think,] ‘I’ve got to do the perfect picture,’ and then you’re stressing out. … Creativity dies in stress.” – Chris Lee
I know I’ve definitely been there. A lot of artists struggle with feeling like they have to force out their creativity instead of allow it to unfold. If you’re feeling stressed in your creative process, take a second to take a breath and channel that energy into something else. Instead of thinking, “Why can’t I make this work,” remind yourself, “This gives me time to experiment and reflect on my original idea.”
And if you’re experiencing some difficult circumstances, such as the loss of a friend, financial troubles, or mental illness, that is keeping you from creating, know that you can even turn those hard moments into something beautiful:
“Some of the most beautiful works of art come out of that. It’s like the orchid that came out of the mud. … [Ask yourself,] ‘How do I use this to tell a story? How do I use this to convey … a message? And it’s about surrendering versus forcing. And when you surrender to what is [happening], and you allow yourself to experience whatever you need to experience fully … you [can] take that energy and create something amazing.” – Chris Lee
Even in the mindset of extreme pain, beauty can be born. Instead of resisting that pain, allow yourself to feel it and understand it. Then, take that raw, authentic feeling and channel it into your Creative Alchemy. Don’t try to force your creativity — understand that it’s already inside you and surrender to the process. Every single person, artist or not, has an abundance of creative potential.
Be a Creative Alchemist with Chris Lee
Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.
With that being said, I define Creative Alchemy as using the process of creativity to create a lens of which to perform alchemy. These principles not only apply to artists and creatives in their own creative processes but to anyone who wants to create an extraordinary life in color for themselves. I’ve found that 80% of creating is alchemizing the thoughts, emotions, and other inner blocks that keep you from putting the pen to the paper. Navigating to the act of creation takes alchemical processes.
With the power of his words and mindset, Chris Lee’s Creative Alchemy is making a huge impact in the world. I was honored to have him on the podcast, and I hope you all got as much out of this interview as I did.
If you want to learn more from Chris, definitely check out his guide, Transform Your Life: 10 Principles of Abundance and Prosperity. I’m reading through it right now, and it’s absolutely incredible. You also can hear more from Chris by checking him out on The School of Greatness.
One last piece of wisdom that Chris wanted to leave you all with is this: Find a coach.
“It is the best investment of money [and] energy. And sometimes it doesn’t cost anything. … You could buddy up with people that are committed to the same thing you’re committed to. … [Have] an outside source that is able to see you beyond yourself.” – Chris Lee
When you surround yourself with a community of mentors who embody the same qualities you want in yourself, you’ll become like them. If you’re tired of living in scarcity, I definitely recommend reaching out to someone you admire and ask if they can mentor you. That resource is invaluable.
If you enjoyed this interview, take a screenshot of the episode and tag Chris, @chrisleemotivator, and me, @nickonken, with your greatest takeaways from the episode. And if you’ve got a little time, please leave me a five-star review on Apple podcasts! That helps us get this message out to more Creative Alchemists like you!
Until next time, remember to be grateful and keep on creating!
“We’re all artists of something. Everyone has the creative means to be an artist.”
Some things we learn in this podcast:
- Learn about Chris’s background [5:25]
- When Chris realized he wanted to serve people [7:00]
- Words are Chris’s creative outlet [8:05]
- What was the process of becoming a coach [9:40]
- Who Chris coaches [11:30
- Why you have to detach your ego [14:45]
- How Chris’s book came into being [17:00]
- You are a billionaire already [19:50]
- What it means to come from a place of gratitude and abundance [25:30]
- How to be generous in the simplest ways [31:10]
- How Chris shifts negative and fearful thoughts. [32:30]
- You have to take responsibility for your creativity [38:45]
- Why you need to surrender instead of force [41:45]
- What happened when Chris’s brother passed while he was in the middle of a seminar [44:45]
- How to get out of your own way [50:00]
- Not enough people have coaches [51:35]
- How to stay confident and trusting [58:45]
- Why you should keep your word [1:04:45]
- Every moment is a blessing – embrace it [1:06:10]
- What books Chris is loving [1:07:05]
- Get Chris’s book Transform Your Life
- Listen to Chris on Lewis Howes’ podcast
- Get the books mentioned in today’s episode:
- Follow Chris and Jenna on Facebook for their webinars