Unleashing Your Creative Beast
They say that variety is the spice of life. That little something extra that brings zest and flavor to tasks, experiences, relationships – just about everything! I think that’s true – especially when combined with a healthy dose of creativity!
One of the hallmarks of a great leader is their ability to provide a fresh, compelling vision and innovative solutions to problems. In other words, a great leader is brimming with creativity.
Without being intentional, the pressures of leading and the hurried pace of life will snuff out your creativity. You begin to believe the lie that you just don’t have time to cultivate creativity – it can seem like a luxury you just can’t afford. However, quite the opposite is true; creativity it the very thing that sets you apart as a leader and propels you forward. It’s worth investing in!
Have you let your creativity fade? Is it time to reawaken your creativity so that you can pursue your purpose in a more robust way? If so, this post is for you!
Cultivating Your Inner Creativity
Because we are interconnected creatures, inserting creativity into one area of your life will boost your creative juices in other areas. So, just pick a place to start and be intentional about carving out time to be creative every day! Even engaging in 20-30 minutes of creative activity will make a difference. Here ways to spark your creativity:
- Awaken your inner creative genius by coming up with a clever way to refer to yourself. After all words are powerful! Are you the Creativity Queen or the King of Outside the Box? Perhaps the Idea Guy or the Creative Beast. Whatever title you decide on be sure it motivates you to step into the more creative you!
- Identify your strongest creative muscle. Are you most creative with words, with mediums in an artistic way, creating things that are visually interesting , moving creatively, or coming up with innovative ideas or concepts? Lean into that strength!
- Rename activities that you don’t enjoy or could use some fresh inspiration. For example, perhaps maintaining social media for your business is not your favorite task. Come up with a creative way to refer to the task such as Generating Curiosity or Mingling with Clients – whatever will be inspiring to you to take on that task with new zest.
- Turn uninspiring tasks into a game: beat the clock, top your record – attempt to complete more today than you did yesterday. Whatever will get you going!
- Pick one of the ideas that have been floating around in your head. Daydream how that idea would play out if you actually took action on it.
- Set arbitrary constraints for tasks such as a time limit or only answer emails from yesterday, just emails that arrived on an even number day, or only emails with subject lines that start with a vowel.
- Mix up the order you complete a task in. For example, if writing a blog, start with the image if you normally start by researching or writing.
- Challenge yourself to come up with not just one solution but 5, 12, or 18 potential solutions. Stretching yourself in this way forces you to get more creative!
- Get in the habit of trying new things – reading a magazine you don’t normally read, listening to music outside your preferred style, or getting something off a menu you have never tried before.
- While waiting, observe one thing around you that you would change. Think about how you might go about making that change.
- Mix up your routine – consider starting your day by journaling or doodling. Write a psalm to God – anything to keep your morning routine fresh!
- Experiment – try new ways of doing the everyday tasks you do.
- Hang out with creative people – creativity is contagious!
- Spend time with kids – their uninhibited spirits are sure to inspire you!
- Jot down all your ideas in a notebook or journal. You never know which of those wild ideas might actually become a reality.
- Get used to making mistakes, experiencing failures, and trying again! If you let these things bother you, your creativity will be stifled. Instead, think of them as learning moments that require a little more of your creativity!
- Learn to play again. Build something out of blocks or Legos. Create something out of playdough. Play something you loved as a child such as hopscotch, foursquare, or jacks.
- Try creative writing! Write a short poem or story.
- Play 30 circles: Draw 30 circles on a piece of paper and see how many of them you can turn into a specific object in one minute. Think quantity over quality.
- Free associate – randomly pick a word and then write down everything you can think of related to that word.
- Imagine an event in the future such as New Year’s Eve 2025 or your 75th
- Pick an arbitrary photo and then generate 21 possible captions for the photo.
Pinpointing Creative Voids
Sometimes the lack of creativity goes unnoticed until you have some time to evaluate things. Here are some creative ways to go about that process:
- Make two lists. One listing all the things you want more of in your life or in your work and a second one listing all the things you want less of in your life or in your work. Then brainstorm creative ways to make those desires a reality.
- Identify three areas in your life or your work that feel stale. Then go to work generating creative possibilities that would breathe new life into those areas.
- Take note of what you have been complaining about lately. That’s a tip off that fear is at work! What can you do to creatively address your complaints?
- Where are you lacking momentum in your life or work? Put on your creativity cap and come up with 13 resourceful ways to infuse energy into those areas.
- Where in your life or leadership are things feeling like they are shrinking? This is an invitation for a big dose of creativity.
- Excuses… procrastination… those are red flags letting you know that you need to tap into your creativity! What have you been avoiding?
Unleashing Creative Ideas
Without being intentional it is easy to slip into ruts. Here are some innovative ways to come up with new ideas:
- Brainstorm with unexpected people; people outside your team, outside your department, or in another industry who can lend a fresh perspective.
- Work with a coach!
- Identify a challenge and devote 10-30 minutes a day for one week to pondering solutions.
- Take a walk, hike, or bike ride and consider different ways of doing something that is feeling a bit stale.
- Color in an adult coloring book or doodle while you contemplate solutions for a specific problem.
- Challenge what you know – think less like an expert and more like a newbie. Ask yourself why at least five times.
- Get visual – draw your ideas out on a white board, large piece of butcher paper, or a slew of post it notes.
- Work backward – start where you would like to end up, focusing on the “what” not the how.
- Ditch your desk and do some creative thinking in a more inspiring location – in nature, in an art museum, or a quiet cozy spot.
- Step into the shoes of your ideal client or customer. What problems do they have? Where are they hanging out? What captures their attention? What makes what you have to offer unique?
Infusing your Meetings with Creativity
Meetings – too often they are dreaded! What if you were to have meetings that inspired and ignited the creativity of those you lead? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Have everyone write down one random idea that would make what you do or how your team works together better. Crumple up the pieces of paper and toss them into the center of the table. Randomly pick one of the ideas and build on that idea together. Not only a good team building exercise but you never know what great ideas might be birthed through this process.
- Share a brainstorming topic before the meeting so people have time to generate ideas. Then allow everyone to share – all ideas are a go. Then narrow down and pick the top three.
- Mix it up and meet in a new and inspiring location.
- Debate solutions. Have two people debate the pros and cons of a particular idea, then switch and have the same two people argue the opposite viewpoint. Debrief and discuss what you have discovered.
- Start your meetings off with an icebreaker activity that requires imagination, resourcefulness, and most of all, creativity!
If you only knew the power of creativity you would make it much more of a priority! You would get up earlier, stay up later, or eliminate activities to make more room for it in your life.
Now you may be crazy inspired… but attempting too much creativity all at once is dangerous. Instead, start small. Pick one or two areas in need of creativity, then take consistent and creative baby steps in that direction. You will be amazed not only by the results you get, but also by the energy that permeates all that you do. Soon your creative beast will be alive and well!
Where in your life or leadership have things gotten a bit dull? What’s your next step to unleashing your creative beast?