A business woman was told to “stop denying her creativity.” The speaker told her that she was hiding the creativity that made her unique and by hiding it she was making herself appear as one of many in her field.
As I heard this story, it dawned on me how misunderstood creativity is. The vast majority of us, when we hear the word creativity, think of artists, entertainers, possibly even athletes who have developed their skills in rare, unusual ways. We don’t think of ourselves as being creative.
The reality is that we are all creative in some regard and in certain circumstances. If you doubt that, and I’m confident that many of you do, I’m going to ask you “Have you ever faced a situation in which you’ve had no background or experience, yet you produced a result…you found a way to deal with that situation?”
Of course you have…countless times in your life. This is especially true if you’re a parent. I was the eldest of three boys in my family. My dad asked our family doctor how three boys from the same parents could be so completely different. The doctor responded, if you had ten they’d all be different. Finding ways to deal with each child’s nature and proclivities requires tremendous creativity.
Yes, there were days in which you were more effective than others, but the fact that your kids are living reasonably healthy, happy lives means that you were successful more often than not.
Any time that you craft a solution to a problem, you are exhibiting creativity. To me, crafting solutions and dealing effectively with unfamiliar situations are examples of creativity you’ve employed on a daily basis throughout your life.
Now that you’re aware that you are creative, let’s explore creativity from the standpoint of your natural style.
Each of us is creative, but there are situations in which we’re more creative than others. I’m going to use a business white paper I wrote to illustrate this point.
In business, there are people who love working with a blank slate. They love coming up with ideas for new products and services. They excel in this environment. But once the product or service is launched their interest quickly wanes. If asked to grow the market for their new offering, they fail miserably. It’s not where their creativity. or interests, lie.
Ideally, immediately following the launch, the responsibility for refining the products/services and growing market share are turned over to profit optimization specialists. These people would fail miserably at developing new offerings, but they’re GREAT at improving the offering and developing markets.
In the final phase of a product life cycle, when the market is saturated and prices are at an all-time low, it’s time to turn these offerings over to the cash optimization specialists. These folks take great pride in accomplishing a lot with a little. In the military, they’d be scroungers. They’re the ones who can wring the last vestiges of cash from a dying product line.
This business example can be a useful guide in helping you identify your natural creativity. You can readily determine whether your greatest joy comes from working with a blank slate, improving upon what already exists or making the most of what’s declining.
Three very different styles of creativity. Yet, all three styles apply to all aspects of life…daily living, hobbies as well as business/career.
First, acknowledge your creativity. A simple way to solidify your awareness of the creativity you possess is to employ this daily exercise taking less than a minute or two each day. Shortly after rising, remind yourself that you are creative and you’re going to pay attention to the times when you employ your creativity during the day. Shortly before retiring, review the day’s activities paying attention to the times that you employed your creativity as well as in which situations you were most creative.
If during that recall you notice that you faced situations where you didn’t employ your creativity, make a note of how you’d approach similar situations in the future. You’ll be amazed at how quickly confidence in your creativity grows. As your confidence grows, so will your creativity.
Second, note the situations in which you’re most creative…where you seem to employ your creativity effortlessly. This will give you a sense for your natural creative style which will guide you to career/business choices that enable you to enjoy your greatest success.
For our kids
Help kids become aware of their creativity early in life. This awareness will become even more essential in their middle and high school years as their ascension into adulthood is fraught with doubts, fears and anxiety.
One way to accomplish this is by asking them their opinion on things. When you seek their opinion, you credit them with possessing a good mind with solid reasoning capabilities. Also offer them age-appropriate choices throughout their youth so that they become well reasoned in their decision making and more confident in the choices they make.
I was fortunate to have received both from my parents which is why I can attest to the power of both approaches. I’m forever grateful to them for these invaluable lessons. They have made my life much easier and much, much more enjoyable.
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I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share them in a comment.
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