Over the years, I have come to realize that creativity is not something only some of us have. Sure, some have exceptional talents in what we call the creative arts such as dance, painting or music. However, the definition of creativity doesn’t have to stay within this narrow window. I have come to see creativity, in a wider frame, as each person’s unique self-expression.
Your creativity is within you, waiting to come out. It is uniquely yours. Clues lie in what you love to do and what excites you. I have seen people express their creativity in the way they care for and understand animals, in the excellence of their work, in the way they inspire others, in the way they think, in their “green thumb” in the garden, for example.
You are creative. Have you found your creative gifts? Do you share them with the world?
I did a Slideshare several years back titled “Everyone Is Creative”. You can see it here.
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It is natural to want smooth sailing in your life and work. You do what you can to keep it that way. To varying degrees, disturbance shows up and smooth sailing is disrupted. When this happens, you do what you can to get things going smoothly again.
Have you ever thought of disturbance as a positive thing? It can be. At work, disturbance can strengthen your skills, change your perspective in a positive way, help you see things you could not see before and rearrange things for the better.
Next time you experience a disturbance, make the most of it.
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1. Be the CEO of your career
2. Pursue your dreams
3. Develop your emotional intelligence
4. Value your freedom
5. Honor your individuality
6. Develop your creativity
7. Keep the status quo in its place
8. Roll with both the good and the bad
9. Actively pursue joy
10. Congregate with like-minded people
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Vacations and times spent away from work are always helpful to refresh your perspective on things. You don’t have to wait for them, however. There are other ways to change your perspective by getting away. Here are some of them:
• Spend a day out in the “field” (whatever that may be for your work) observing and interacting
• Solicit feedback and opinions from people around you, as well as from people you are not as closely involved with
• Find a completely new way to look at a situation and see if it fits
• Give some open contemplation time to difficult issues and see what your intuition tells you
• Physically get away from your normal work environment for short periods of time
Refreshing your perspective feeds clear thinking, creativity and momentum. Doing it often serves you.
There are many circumstances and times in your career when it behooves you to ask, “How far can I go?” By asking this question, you assess your chances of success in what you are doing. Say a co-worker or manager has crossed a boundary with you. When you ask this question it helps you consider what reactions and responses you could receive as you protect your boundaries.
This question also has relevance in relationship to your independence and creativity. What are the lines you cannot cross in your organization’s culture? If you find yourself restricted and are not able to go as far as you like, perhaps some reflection is called for on whether the culture you are in is right for you.
It would be great if you lived in a world with no limits. However, limits do exist – some are imposed arbitrarily and some with good reason. Ultimately though, you are the one who answers the question, “How far can I go?”
It’s a plus to employ your imagination every once in awhile. Yes, you can use it for tasks and projects, however consider letting your imagination lead. How? By setting aside time to imagine your life and work and what they can be. Doing this gets you out of your every day existence into the realm of possibility.
Try, once a week, taking an “imagine break”. Let your mind run free. It may just lead you to a life you have never before imagined. ☺
Your imagination can be a career-booster when you employ it well. It often provides a different view of reality and what is possible. It is a source of creativity. When you are tackling a problem or approaching a project, make it a practice to see where your imagination can bring you. Then, put that in the mix with other elements you are considering.
Imagination adds color, new perspectives and new ideas to your everyday work. Nurture your imagination and learn to use it well.
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Wouldn’t it be great if your workplace were composed of kindred spirits? Sometimes you get lucky and your co-workers are compatible with your values and ways of working. Other times, kindred spirits are few and far between. When that is the case, the stage is set for dysfunction, judgment, conflict and dissatisfaction. It doesn’t have to be that way. Difference, variety and opposition can all make for a creative and high-performing organization. The key is to create an environment where each person can communicate and thrive.
What are the elements of such a workplace? Here are some. I’m sure you can identify others. Just think of what you need to communicate and thrive.
• Demonstrated respect for each person and their views
• Established methods for effective communication when there are disagreements or differences of opinion
• Acceptance and valuing of diversity
• Enough space for each person to contribute their best work
• Understanding that people need different environments, acknowledgement and resources to thrive
So, if you are leading or part of a team that is not composed of kindred spirits, celebrate the opportunities before you and create a workplace that encourages high performance and work satisfaction.
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Inspiration is a catalyst to high performance and a fulfilling life. When you are inspired you are often at your best – you are “pumped”, engaged, enthusiastic and creative.
What is the source or sources of your inspiration? Here are some questions that may get you started:
• What is your favorite thing to do?
• What brings you joy?
• Can you recall a time when you were inspired?
Take a moment to answer these questions. Now, looking at your answers, identify what you think may be the source or sources of your inspiration.
When you know the source of your inspiration, you can use it to make your life better. It is the source of your creativity and unique voice in the world.
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In nature, chaos and order coexist. Flow and structure can also coexist, if you manage them wisely. In our hierarchical systems, specific goals and corresponding measures tend to rule. At the same time, it is recognized that innovation flows from creativity and freedom.
How do you reconcile and balance these approaches? I have found that flow can exist within a flexible structure. Overall aims and goals are necessary, with deadlines. Once they are established, I move into flow, measuring productivity each day and progress towards goals. There is open space within each day for insights, new ideas and constructive collaboration. This requires a level of comfort with uncertainty, the ability to change course and letting go of limiting structures.
Do you lean more towards flow or structure? Do you see them as incompatible? How can you balance flow and structure for maximum productivity and the best results?
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