You're more creative than you think
"I'm not creative - I couldn't draw a horse to save myself."
Does this sound like the sort of negative comment you've made about yourself. Perhaps as a child, you were ridiculed for your attempts at drawing a horse or some other farm animal, and from that day, you thought you were not creative.
Creativity goes deeper than your ability to draw
There is a much more thorough understanding by experts that creativity takes many forms. Indeed, there is a movement to say that creative thinking is what will solve the problems of the 21st century. Thinking differently from the process-driven systems so favoured by corporate entities - a type of thinking that developed in the Industrial Revolution when manufacturing drove the global economy, is clearly outdated in the Information Age. Our thinking processes are a habit - we learn to think in a particular way especially when all our systems (social, education, corporate, government) support a particular way of thinking. None of our systems encourage creativity or divergent thinking.
Why is creativity important? It enables you to approach challenges from a different angle to focus on the solution, rather than the problem. For example, if you are struggling to make your next career decision, by tickling your creativity, you can step away from the problem and focus on solutions. You can find freedom in ideas and options, and break free from the same old thought patterns that got you where you are. With creativity, you can expand your thinking from the 'either / or' space to one with a multitude of creative and viable options.
Creativity can be practiced
Start by banishing the limiting "I'm not creative" voice, then bring in some of the following ideas into creating solutions:
- "How is [one thing] like [another thing]?" For example, "How is my leadership like a fried egg?" Nuts - I know, but by pairing a one thing with a totally off-the-wall object like this encourages divergent thinking. In this instance, for example, the answer might be, "As the yolk, I am only as strong as the team (the white) around me." It's re-conceptualising;
- Give yourself (or your team) time and space to be creative. It will always be awkward before it's elegant, and equally, creativity does not respond well to deadlines. Work 'thinking time' into your calendar, and treat it as an appointment;
- Build something: a shed, a model airplane, restore furniture - anything. Simply thinking differently to your usual pattern encourages creative solutions and uses more of the left brain;
- Surround yourself with people that think differently: Like attracts like because it is comfortable. Try being uncomfortable and find others who think differently to you. This is particularly important in selecting a team - don't choose those who are a mirror image of you. You want diverse ideas and opinions for the most innovative solutions;
- Paint, draw, sculpt, weave, do patchwork: Any form of art and crafts will ignite the left brain. The recent trend of colouring books is a calming, creative way to relax and allow solutions to surface;
- Use coloured post-it notes: When you're struggling with a decision, use coloured post-it notes to write an option on each one. Start by aiming for 10 options minimum, stick them on the wall, then go for more. There are always more options than you can initially see;
- Walking in nature: A change of scenery can help to blow the cobwebs to think creatively. I've done this as a form of coaching to encourage creative thinking - walking and talking in the park. It's one of my favourite methods of coaching; calming, creative, drawing on the environment to trigger solutions, completely 'feel good';
More creativity in your life will bring creative solutions to any challenge, whether personally or professionally.
Creativity is one of the 3Cs - the drivers of success, of my 90-Day Navigator coaching programme - Clarity, Confidence and Creativity
Book a complimentary Discovery session to see how coaching can benefit you to bring more creativity to your solutions.