You are a creative person. After all, you have a career, perhaps even run a business. You have the ability to do innovative work and to make new connections. Yet, sometimes our creativity stalls, plays tricks on us, or appears to have vanished completely. It is at these moments we need to reconnect with our inspirational powers to invent something new and useful. The following tips are meant to arouse your natural creative gifts.
Make a list. Keep a daily “excitement list,” either on your phone or in a notebook for one month. Write down anything – a color, world hunger, a book, etc. – that intrigues you, even if you don’t know why. What fascinates you about the topic? Why is it compelling to you personally? How does it matter to your company or the larger world? Look for all the patterns and then select a creative project to begin at the end of your month.
Plan a trip. Take a field trip relating to your project to explore a particular facet of it. For reasons unknown, one of my clients was fascinated by gorillas. I advised her to go to the zoo for a day, without a clue about what she was looking for. While sitting with the gorillas, they reminded her of the power of nonverbal communication – the missing ingredient in her new training program.
Pick a beat. Select music to reflect the mood of the project you are working on. Music creates a natural high, and your creative muse loves it! Listen to music to begin your creative time each day, as it sets the project into motion – almost like putting you in a trance.
Think like a kid. Go to a toy store and buy a toy that reminds you of your creative project. Spend some time playing with the toy and write down all the metaphors that you discover. A stuffed giant caterpillar once guided me to organize a product into interlocking but flexible sections, similar to the body of a caterpillar.
Take risks. Send your inner critic on vacation and learn to suspend all negative judgments. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and take positive risks with your work. Imagine that you are fearless about your work, what out-on-a-limb strategies would you try next? Trial and error will bring you to creative success! Mistakes are the pathway to the right answer.
—Gail McMeekin, Career Coach