Quick question: How creative are you being in your business?
Have you ever thought about this before?
You don’t have to work in a creative field to ask yourself this question. Creativity and innovation are concerns many entrepreneurs have about their business regardless of their niche or industry. How to be creative is a thought many of us consider.
Whether you are a web designer, a health coach, or a tech startup founder, when you are driven by passion and cause, you want to make sure the work you do stands out. You want it to be noticed. You want it to succeed. And it won’t likely get there if it blends in and is the same as everything else out there.
You need more creativity.
If you want your business to succeed, it can’t blend in – it has to stand out and be different. (tweet this)
Thankfully, you don’t need to think of yourself as an especially creative person to draw upon creativity in your work. Whether you’ve always had an artistic inkling or you were mostly analytical all your life, there are steps you can take to maximize your natural ability to think creatively. (Because yes, we are ALL creative, no matter what you might think).
But before I introduce these steps I wanted to make sure we provide context to the concept first.
What is creativity anyway?
Max Wertheimer, one of the three founders of Gestalt psychology, suggested that creative thinking involves breaking down and restructuring our knowledge about something in order to gain new insights into its nature. Other psychologists, such as Carl R. Rogers, supported that argument by stating that we can be creative by learning to understand how we think about a subject.
Creativity is something that happens when we organize our thoughts in a way that leads to a different and even better understanding of the subject or situation we are considering.
That sounds pretty uplifting, doesn’t it? Creativity doesn’t necessarily have to include reinventing the wheel, it’s simply thinking about the wheel in a new way. To add to that, you might frequently hear that there is no such think as “true innovative thinking” anyway since many ideas come about by putting different, previously existing, thoughts together in a way that you haven’t done before.
How to be (more) Creative in Your Business
Now that we’ve established the basic understanding of creative thinking, I’d now like to spend some time introducing some ways to encourage and inspire more creativity in the work you do with your business.
1. Inhabit a playful & curious mentality
Remember when you were a kid and you had idea after idea about, like, everything?
It’s that natural uninhibited curiosity at play. Rather than judging and criticizing everything around you (including the ideas you get), try developing that child-like naturally-curious mentality.
When you’re a child, nothing is a bad idea. Everything has potential. Things are exciting. You enjoy learning how things work and how ideas can become things. It’s a beautiful state to operate from.
To inspire creativity, adopt a playful curious mindset. Everything has potential. Things are exciting! (tweet this)
If inhabiting a child-like mindset sounds incredibly difficult, trust me – you’re not alone.
After years of being nailed over the head with critiques, expectations, and rules by society, it may be hard to ignore of all these blockages and just let go. That’s totally understandable.
It was hard for me to learn to let go as well. As a child, I was an idea-generating machine, drawing comics day in and day out, and coming up with new ways to tell my stories that would continually feed my creativity and imagination. Then, as I got older, I realized it’s not “cool” to be into manga. It’s not “cool” to be so overwhelmingly interested in “nerdy” things.
That one seemingly innocent comment from a parent apologizing for your “childish” behavior, as if it’s such a horrible thing to express yourself.
Kids making fun of each other for spending time on doing things that are new and unfamiliar to them.
After a while, we start to notice it’s not okay to be who we really are. We don’t want to be rejected or made fun of. We want to belong. So we start building a wall. We drop the things we feel passionate about. We turn our authentic expressions of self into “guilty pleasures” and feel embarrassed when asked about them.
There have been so many people who reject their true selves because they are afraid of not being accepted. “It’s not who I am anymore” and “I’m not into that stuff anymore” is frequently the ending statement that closes off any further discussion into the topic of our adolescent passions.
Most of the time, we let it be. We don’t pry. But the question I invite you to ask yourself is “Why not?” and “What am I afraid of?” and ponder about the validity of these fears and concerns.
2. Take a break from the same old
A part of being stuck in a rut is that we get ourselves in a routine. While I am a huge proponent of having healthy routines, as they tend have the power to maximize your productivity and time required to complete the tasks, there is a flip side.
Sometimes when we find ourselves in the midst of a routine, we don’t let our brain exercise in a new way. We are doing things the way we always do and that’s frequently the reason for our inhibited creativity. You can’t suddenly think “Ok I’m gonna be creative now!” and hope for the best. You can’t make it a part of a routine. It can only happen when you are allowing your brain to be free of the same-old.
[ you might also like: “How to Finish What You Start (Curing The Curse of the Creative)” ]
Again, you don’t have to do anything crazy here. Simply think of what you’ve been doing the same way for a while and consider ways in which you can do it differently.
When you’re stuck in a rut, you work on autopilot. This makes it harder to tap into creativity. (tweet this)
Some ways in which you can break away from the same old include:
- Try using your non-dominant hand more often. This is actually a wonderful way to strengthen your brain. Try using it to type, write, use the phone.
- Take a different route to run errands or go to a destination you frequent. Look around and notice what you have been missing by taking your usual route. The novelty will encourage your brain to fire in a new way to take in all the new stimuli in your environment.
- Do your work somewhere else. If you usually work at home in your office, consider changing it up and going to a coffee shop or a co-working space.
- If you really don’t feel like leaving the house today, maybe simply changing the room or the exact spot in which you sit might help. I do this tip all the time when I feel stuck, I’ve noticed that being in a new setting allows me to think of new solutions more easily and I am more productive in return (for example, I am writing this article in an airplane to Orange County , after sitting on the introduction for a few days).
These are just a few ways in which you can practice new ways of thinking or doing. Break away from the same old – your creative thinking and productivity will soar.
3. Brainstorm and collaborate with other people
Ahh yes, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of a good brainstorm. Even if you’re introverted (as my natural self tends to sway towards), collaborating and throwing ideas around with a group of others often works wonders in igniting your creative centers to think of new ideas.
If you’re a solopreneur, one of our hardships is lack of support and/or a team to brainstorm and collaborate with. Having a micro-sized business makes it hard to talk freely about projects with others who are also as engaged in its success as you are.
Just because you’re a solopreneur doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone! (tweet this)
Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone.
Option 1: Hiring support from a coach
First of all, working with a Business Coach is a perfect way to get more collaboration in your business, whether it’s in the form of new marketing campaigns or the next steps for business development in general. It’s like having a partner who doesn’t come with any hidden agendas. It’s pretty awesome.
Option 2: Find a Mastermind group
Secondly, I’m a big fan of Mastermind groups. I belong to a Mastermind group in Chicago where we meet once or twice a month and talk about our successes, challenges, and goals. I leave every meeting buzzing with creative energy, ready to implement and come up with new ideas for my business. Simply listening to others’ experiences and getting support, coupled with some mini-brainstorms, are a wonderful way to bump up your own reserves and tap into that creative mindset.
Option 3: Network with people all around
Lastly, building a network of people to talk with may also be a good way to encourage more creativity in your life and business.
It’s great to brainstorm with people who are similar to you as they can provide some helpful insight into your situations, however you shouldn’t limit yourself only to those who are in your industry.
Having people in your network who are different from you can be an immense source of inspiration – something they are doing in their business or career might spark another idea for your own business as well – and it won’t be the same copycat thing because you’re all in different industries! Win!
Additionally, discussing with people of differing opinions allows us to think more deeply about our stand – when we are encouraged to support or backup our arguments or ideas, we can often move deeper into the original idea and develop it in a way that it wouldn’t have developed otherwise.
[ you might also like: “If you have trouble reaching your goals, this post is for you” ]
What are some ways in which you invite more creativity into your business?
I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.
If you feel like you’re ready to invite more collaboration in your business and move forward toward success faster, I’d like to invite you to do a Move It Session with me. It’s a free, totally casual and fun, 15-minute session where we talk about a challenge you have in your business and I guide you to finding that next step to take.
Whether it’s marketing, mindset, or online business development, I’m here for you! CLICK HERE to learn more.
This post is part of the 13 Elm Streets Creatively 17: Elevating Your Creative Business Blog Tour. The tour is to launch the Sierra Elmore of 13 Elm Streets’ blog while helping other entrepreneurs who are ready to expand their businesses. 13 Elm Streets is a graphic design studio, shop, and blog.
If you liked this article, please +1 or tweet it 🙂 Thank you!