“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Before I get to the rest of this post, I’m calling shenanigans up front. If you say this to me, I will look at you like you have 5 heads with 7 eyes each. No, seriously. I will look at you like you are crazy. Let’s just dispel the common thinking that being creative means you have the ability to re-create the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Creativity can be expressed through the arts, but it can also be expressed through how you cultivate your career, how you serve your community and how you pursue your passion. Here are 7 ways to find, flex and strengthen your creative muscle.
- Believe In Yourself – Before you set out to build up your creative muscle, you have to believe that you can do it. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you start with negative self-talk.
- Make the Time – Work, family, organizations, church, etc. can fill your calendar with a long to-do list. Carve out time just to be creative. You would be surprised what you can do in just 15 minutes.
- Switch It Up – You take the same way to work, eat the same thing for breakfast, do the same exercises at the gym…Following the same routine day after day is BORING! When you switch it up, you open up the possibility of seeing something new that can spark a creative thought and lead to something awesome.
- Diversify – Is it comfortable to be around people who share some of your personality traits? Yes…and it also limits you and stagnates any hope of creativity. When you surround yourself with people who have different backgrounds and interests, it takes you out of your comfort zone…and that’s where growth begins.
- Be Open To Communicate – Create an environment of open communication and share your ideas with others. Some of the best ideas can be made better when you get feedback from other people. Don’t worry about someone taking your idea.
- Take Risks – Don’t worry about looking foolish or failing miserably. Worrying will keep you from trying something new. Innovation and fear cannot reside in the same place. Take the leap!
- Give Old Ideas a Makeover – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking creativity is doing something new ALL the time. Sometimes making a small change to existing idea can have a BIG impact.
What are you going to do to strengthen your creative muscle?
After two years of thinking that I was a reincarnation of Superwoman and could plan an annual conference all myself, I finally took the advice of some very smart people and formed a planning committee for the 3rd annual Work Your Package™ Women’s Conference. Before I asked people to be on the committee, I thought about who had given me not just encouraging words, but helpful suggestions and constructive criticism as well. I know for certain that I didn’t want a bunch of bobble heads. I wanted people who had a particular set of talents and skills and have displayed them consistently with positive results. While they have various educational and professional backgrounds, they all have one thing in common…They want nothing but the BEST FOR ME and expect nothing but EXCELLENCE FROM ME.
Who is on your team? Do you have people who are going to challenge you to go beyond your comfort zone and force you to leave mediocrity at the door? Do you have people who see potential pitfalls and come up with a plan to help you avoid them? Do they correct you when you are wrong AND defend you when you are right? I’m thankful to have a team that not only believes in me, but believes in my brand. They are my brand ambassadors and tell other people about Work Your Package. They aren’t keeping score on how many times they have given me advice that would have cost me $$$ if I had asked someone else. They aren’t looking for public acknowledgment and accolades because they already know they are awesome. They save me from the trap of being a legend in my own mind (Inside joke…5 meals in 48 hours). My team, like a well-made, European bra, has my back, front and side. Do you have that type of support?
Whether you are new in your career or a seasoned professional, everyone needs support. Yes, yes…I know, you are already fabulous. But why not surround yourself with a team of people who believe in you and push you to be extraordinary?
I’ve seen a dangerous trend among some “entrepreneurial experts” who say if you want something bad enough, you will sacrifice it all to get it. They say that if you want it bad enough, you will lose sleep, lose friends and run the risk of being called crazy all while you chase your dream. Some of them may tell you that in order to really pursue your dream, you should walk away from your good paying job (with benefits) because you can’t possibly do both. Either go hard or don’t do it at all. Excuse me for two seconds as I roll my eyes and suck my teeth. While everyone has a different journey, being an entrepreneur full-time is hard work that can lead to heart-break, divorce and financial ruin if you don’t prepare and have a plan in place. Let’s be honest, all the passion and determination in the world isn’t going to pay your mortgage, light or water bill. It won’t keep your family fed or clothes on your back. While some may think they are setting a great example and telling a great story about risking it all and chasing their dreams… all they are doing is showing a lack of common sense and reckless behavior. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Don’t do it because you see everyone else doing it. I’m not doubting anyone’s capabilities, however entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody. Be true to yourself.
Chase your dreams and pursue your passion…just don’t forget to take common sense with you.
The MOST ridiculous phrase ever created. Usually said by self-absorbed, self-centered, arrogant, cocky and insecure people that have the nerve to say that foolishness with pride. I’m going to pause right here….Are you kidding me? Let’s get something straight, everyone who doesn’t agree with you, congratulate you on your achievements or jump on your bandwagon is a hater. They just aren’t buying what you are selling and see you for who you are. And if your motivator is negative energy and people hating you, I feel sorry for you. Would you still be motivated to do something extraordinary if you were respected and admired?
If you can’t be real with yourself, you can’t be real with anyone else and you are setting yourself up to be alone and therefore continue to perpetuate this nonsense that you have “haters”. Here’s a newsflash, no one wants to be around narcissistic opportunists. No one wants to be around a someone who uses other people to get ahead and constantly changes alliances depending on the benefits that may come by association. People can smell unauthentic actions and words a mile away. If you find yourself without meaningful and soul-nourishing relationships and you are constantly using that pathetic phrase to explain why, then it’s not them, is you. If one person tells you that you have a green tail, that person is crazy. If two people tell you, then is may be a conspiracy. Honey, if seven people tell you, I need you to go find a mirror and go look at your tail.
Genuine actions yield genuine results and relationships. Don’t try to fool others by saying you are genuine. Words mean nothing when your actions are contradictory.
A few days ago I updated my planner with my daughters activities for the 2015-2016 school year. Girls Scouts for both, dancing school for the performer and art class for the uber creative. Then I added all the days their school will be closed (30+ days…Are you kidding me?). And then I added all the out-of-town conferences I need to attend (I’m sooooo thankful for my husband and mom). Am I done? Heck no. I still have at least 50 other things to add. Back in the glory days when I was single, I would order my refill pages for cute little organizer to prepare for the following year. I had a few dates to fill in, mainly birthdays and travel plans. It was so cute. It fit in my purse. Fast forward 17 years later…married with two kids, one neurotic little dog and multiple responsibilities outside of work and home and I have graduated to custom-made 19-month calendar that and goes to December 2016 (for now). My planner now resembles a 5-subject notebook and it requires a tote bag. There are color-coded tabs and color-coded entries on both my monthly and weekly pages. I know some of you are saying that I’m “Team Too Much” and I should just use the calendar on my phone. I’m ignoring you and assuming you only have you and a plant to worry about. For the record, I have hybrid system (paper and electronic…thank you Google) and that’s color coded too.
Listen, when you get to the point when you feel like your plate is on the verge of overflowing it is time to stop, reassess, and organize. I’m a little OCD about planning so that when the unexpected happens (and it will), I’m not thrown completely off course. I plan so that I can communicate with my family and keep them informed. I plan because…well because if you don’t plan you are like a leaf during a windy fall day…all over the place with absolutely NO direction. While my life does not always go according to plan, I would much rather have a road map than be on my journey with a lost GPS signal.
Stop. Reassess. Organize.
P.S. I created my custom notebook and planner using M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Notebook System. If you haven’t been able to find a planner that works for you, I highly recommend this system to create your own.