So many people are told that they “aren’t creative” … or believe it even if those words have never been said directly to them.
Creativity isn’t about being an artist, a musician, or taking part in some other profession or hobby that is normally considered part of a “creative” field.
Something inside me feels gloomy when I hear someone say that they aren’t creative. It’s not true … we all have creativity inside and it may just be waiting to get out.
I’m sharing a few tips that are proven to push you into a new, creative way of looking at the world to help you create the marketing, the business and the life that you desire.
Isn’t that so true? Creative isn’t about conformity but uniqueness … yet everything we are taught in school growing up, and in our culture in general, is how you need to conform.
When you’re young, you get a bad grade if you color outside the lines. As adults, we now realize that those coloring activities were less about being creative and more about fine motor skills … yet because it’s an “art” project we always connect that to our creativity. And we learn that being creative means that you color inside the lines and our mind remembers that we were bad at art and therefore at being creative.
Picasso sure didn’t color inside the lines.
As we get older, we focus so much on planning for the future – and don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of positive things to say about planning. Yet creativity requires you to be in the moment and not focused on either the past or the future!
Creativity requires you to tap into joy. It has you accessing and expressing your life force and natural gifts.
Creativity can help you connect more deeply with nature – and connecting more deeply with nature can also help you unleash your creativity, so it’s a self-perpetuation cycle. It brings a more intimate union with all life and brings your awareness increasingly alive.
There are a ton of creative activities that you can undertake – some of my favorites include painting and dancing. So I’m not going to go into the exact steps for any of those activities here because the possibilities are endless.
What I’m going to discuss is how you shift your mindset to consistently increase your creativity in your life, your business, and yes even your marketing.
Because we are ALL creative.
Here are my steps for unleashing creativity:
1. Assume you are creative.
Yes, that sounds so simple. Yet really, it is.
Henry Ford said:
If you think you aren’t creative, then you won’t be. Inversely, if you think you ARE creative, then you will be.
One of the best things you can do is repeat to your self that you are creative. Change up the words so that they work best for you. And envision yourself as a creative being – how does your work, how does your life look if you’re creative? The Law of Attraction tells us that we attract what we envision … so start believing that you are already the creative person that we are all born as.
2. Start being creative.
Now that we have you telling yourself that you’re creative, you need to just do it!
Ignore all of the “I’m not ready” reasoning. We can all come up with tons of excuses to keep us from doing anything. You may try to say to yourself ‘well I’m not ready to be creative because I want to make art and I don’t have supplies’ … or ‘I want to dance but I can’t take a class right now’. Believe me – I’ve done and do both of those creative outlets, and you don’t need supplies or classes to start undertaking any one.
And remember, unleashing your creativity isn’t about doing something that is part of a “traditional” creative field anyway.
Take baby steps. Start with what you have, and do with it what you can.
3. Be selfish!
We tend to get so caught up in everything we have to do. The world today seems to revolve so much faster than it did before. We are all constantly being pulled in thousands of different directions at one time. We have commitments that we’ve made to work, to the spouse, to kids, to pets, to chores, to cooking dinner, to taking the car in for an oil change, to watering the plants, to planning the budget … (that sort of gives you just a partial list going through my brain right now lol).
It’s so easy to forget to take time for ourselves.
So be selfish. Creativity is all about you and living in the moment.
Schedule time for your creativity sessions. Put it as an important appointment right on your calendar. Make this time with yourself a priority. This also helps get rid of one of your excuses of saying “I’m not ready yet…” because you’ll have scheduled an appointment with yourself.
4. Throw out thinking and being "in your head"
Part of our busy lives means we constantly think think think.
Women especially tend to have a huge mental load – the invisible and internal labor involved in managing a household and family.
Thinking actually dampens our creativity! Who knew there would be such a good reason to NOT use our brains! So you need to take that time that you’ve scheduled with yourself and allow yourself to FEEL versus think.
To use your HEART versus your head.
It’s okay if you allow yourself to turn off the constant “to-do chatter” that’s going on inside your head every now and then. In fact, it’s pretty important to do so. Allow yourself to simply be.
5. Embrace uncertainty
Ooooh, that’s a scary one! But I want you to give yourself permission to be uncertain. To not know all of the answers. To have no idea of what the final outcome might be when you start.
It’s okay if you don’t know.
Throw out all logic.
This is something that you would think would actually be hard for me. I’ve always been uber-logical. I remember when I was dating my first husband before we were married, so it would have been right after high school, and sometimes he would tell me “you’re just so logical” like it was a bad thing. But it’s okay to be logical, and to embrace it if you are.
I’ve also been really creative. You wouldn’t think those two things would co-exist so well in the same brain, but I think it’s because I go ahead and embrace both. And it’s okay for you to embrace it as well.
During your scheduled creative time, you need to throw logic out the window and teach yourself to be excited by the process no matter the outcome. Look at it like a wrapped present … something exciting is hidden inside that you only get to see once it’s opened. You may have NO idea what it is … and that’s never stopped you from grabbing the package and starting.
6. Mistakes are your friend.
And this advice coming from a perfectionist!
So many people are afraid to step outside of their self-imposed boxes because they don’t want to make a mistake.
Yet those “mistakes” are often where something interesting is found. If you stick with the status quo, you do know exactly what you will get. And yet something more exciting could be right on the other side of perfection.
Salvador Dali said:
When I teach ballroom dance, I have found that the students who have been afraid to get out on a dance floor – which statistically has most often been the men – are afraid to do so because they will make a mistake and look stupid. One of the first things I do is teach them is that there are no mistakes, there is only “choreographic intent”. If you do something unintended, just be sure that you do it with a big FLOURISH so that anyone watching thinks it’s exactly what you meant to do! And then just tell them “it’s the choreography!”
(I also teach the ladies/followers that they need to allow their partner to LEAD because it’s their job to lead. Even if the person leading starts to do a step that you don’t think should go in a particular spot, follow him anyway! Because it’s “choreographic intent” and he’s the one who gets to choreograph the dance!)
It’s also like what Bob Ross always said:
I also like to relate this to the movie The Matrix. Remember when Neo is going in to meet the Oracle in her apartment? There’s a small child using their mind to bend a spoon, and Neo asks how it’s done. The child replies, “Do not try to bend the spoon — that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no spoon.”
There is no spoon.
One of the phrases I hear very often is that we need to “think outside the box.”
At least, other than the thinking that we do in our own mind that limits our creativity. So stop thinking.
7. Be okay to walk away
Sometimes in life, and especially in business which is where I’ve noticed it most often, we get stuck. We push and push and try to have a breakthrough and get to the next point, and we work at it so hard that we start to get frustrated.
Frustration can be a creativity killer.
This is when it’s actually best to take a mental break.
Walk way for a bit. Physically go to a new location if you can, even if that’s as simple as stepping outdoors or just stepping out of the room.
Stop thinking about whatever you were working on for a moment and just exist.
Take in your new surroundings.
And most importantly, let go of any and all guilt that you may be feeling for taking this mental break! Sometimes your brain just needs a new trigger to re-balance.
This re-balancing is actually something we taught in ballroom dance classes. When we advanced to the point of adding underarm turns to the students repertoire, these non-dancers would sometimes start getting dizzy.
There’s actually a point at which your brain triggers that dizziness, and that’s at three full turns (you’ll often begin to feel it after two). For dancers, their brain has learned how to overcome this dizziness – it still actually happens but they are able to seamlessly compensate. But for our non-dancers who were taking classes or even dancing for the first time, they would start feeling the dizziness kicking end at the end of turn two.
We taught two things – first, the person leading needs to know this limit, and then STOP the turns after two or definitely after three. Second, if their follower feels the least bit unstable as they’re holding them in their frame after these turns, one of the best things they can do is follow the turns with one turn in the opposite direction.
This opposite direction actually helps the brain re-balance.
Getting out of the environment your brain is stuck in, and into a new one, can similarly help re-balance your brain and allow the creativity to flow again.
8. Have a way to record your thoughts
If you don’t journal now, start. Even if it’s only journaling during or about your creativity sessions, you need to have a way to record both your thoughts and feelings and have a way to reflect back on this new journey.
Remember, we already talked about how you need to get out of your head, and sometimes the best way to do that is to do a “brain dump” and get all of those thoughts out onto paper. A journal can be a great way to do so.
That frees up SO much space in your brain to allow creativity a place to move around!
9. Give your inner critic the attention it craves
This sounds counter-intuitive, when most often we hear that we just need our inner critic to shut up.
Yet often the most powerful thing you can do is to give that inner critic the attention it is so desperately seeking … and question everything about it! Why are you saying this? Why is it trying to stop me?
Don’t give it the WRONG kind of attention – such as constant attention, or focusing on the wrong thing (the criticism instead of why there is criticism). You need to specifically question the inner critic, because questioning it – and finding out how it’s so wrong – is what will give it less power over you.
Doing these things above will set you on a more creative path in your marketing, your business, and your life.
Take the time to explore your own creativity!