Lisa Guess: electrical engineer, businesswoman … and trained opera singer! These eclectic talents have come together to create a powerful, dynamic woman. She shares how to enhance your creativity by doing the following:
Never Assume You Can’t Use Hidden Talents
We had a recent opportunity to do a video of car karaoke. It was a lot of fun, I was actually driving. The theme: innovation. We were doing a spoof on some famous songs and changing some of the words to talk about creativity. I was able to sing on the video too.
See Things through Different Lenses
Having been on stage in my younger days gave me confidence when I’m speaking in front of a group. Some work I’ve done in theater has helped me be more creative and look at things in a different way.
Find the Silver Linings
Making the most of a difficult situation can be a form of creative expression. Lisa suggests:
- Don’t take things personally. If you had something that didn’t work out, don’t look at it like you’ll never succeed again.
- Learn from your situation. Try to look at a situation and say “OK, what did I learn from this?” and then “How do I do better next time?”
- Be open to feedback. Be willing to take feedback about yourself even though it probably will be very hard to hear.
Shake up Your Routine
A lot of times, if I find that either I or my team is stuck in a rut, I usually ask them to come up with some crazy idea that we’ve never done before. We threw an annual tech summit where all of our engineers got together for a few days of training and classes. I challenged the team to do it in ways we’ve never done before. We changed up the agenda… and it really turned out to be a great session – we got the best reviews ever and it was just [a matter of] doing things in different ways.
Creativity Breeds Engagement
During this summit, “we approached everything more informally and worked on having smaller groups so that they could interact and get hands-on experience. It was harder to do but there was a lot of personal engagement, and anytime this happens, you’ll learn and retain much better.”
Describe your family:
I have a 20-year-old son who attends the University of Colorado. I have a mom who’s been with me since he was born, and she’s helped take care of him. I also have a wonderful significant other who also happens to be an engineer. We have some fun discussions!
Who saw something in you that you didn’t see for yourself?
In 9th grade, I had a guidance counselor who came and got me out of my basic level math class and said that I had such a high aptitude for math I should be in the advanced calculus track. That set me on the path towards being an engineer.
What would you have ended up doing?
I always wanted to be a singer. Before I went on the advanced math track it was all about going into music until I realized how much I enjoyed math.
My favorite movie is “The Princess Bride.” I probably know all the words in it.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
It was from my dad when I was in high school. “Just hold your head up.” That’s what he would always tell me, “just know that you can do this and have confidence in yourself.”