We love creativity.

We love producing original ideas or making something new or imaginative. We appreciate creativity both as a consumer and as an innovator. Recall the last time you found a new style of shoes, a refreshing logo or a novel restaurant. Did you enjoy sharing this new experience with your family or colleagues? The advertising industry, product design, education and training – as well as entertainment and the arts – run on the engine of creativity.

Quick! Come up with a creative idea. Did you?

If you answer “YES,” you’re in the minority.

 

Creativity has a life of its own, and it’s often elusive.

Authors have a name for this phenomenon. They call it ‘writer’s block’. For artists, it’s the frustration of standing in front of a blank canvas. For the business owner, it’s coming up short when trying to make a product or service stand out in a busy market place.

What would you love to be, do and have in your business and in your life three years from now?  Most people struggle to answer this question. It requires tapping the imagination – that cauldron for creativity.

Some people believe they’re not very creative. If that’s you, simply imagine that you expected one of your family members to be home by 10 PM. It’s 3 AM and you haven’t heard from them. Your imagination will bring countless images to mind. It’s not about whether you have an imagination, it’s whether you put your imagination into service for your desired outcome.

The single most important factor for inspiring creativity is your mindset. Do you believe you’re creative? Do you believe others are interested in what you create?

 

How does creativity get blocked?

Sometimes creativity is blocked due to a message we heard in our youth that something we did wasn’t very good. Success can also block the creative flow. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, stated the success of her book made it difficult to write the next one. That’s the impact of believing your best work is probably behind you.

 

What opens us to the creative muse?

Here are three practices you can do right away:

Block time for creativity. Set aside uninterrupted time to tap new ideas. A tweet, answering a text message, taking care of urgent business, being interrupted by a co-worker and the list goes on – is quite disruptive. Research shows it takes eighteen minutes to return to deep thought when distracted. When you protect your creative time, your mind responds with innovative ideas.

Seed your mind with diverse points of view. Talk with people who think different than you. Read material that challenges you. Plan activities that take you outside of your normal environment. Travel, whether local or around the world, opens a door to new people, experiences and cultures. Trying new foods, learning about history or studying a new skill helps your brain see different perspectives and increases your creativity.

Frame the area where you want to create with a question that requires exploration. Your mind is more curious when answering a question than following a directive. Simply, choose a question that stretches you. For example, what are 25 ways to inspire creativity? Chances are you’ll write 12 and stop. Or you’ll write 18 and come to a block. Set that target. Keep looking and new ideas will come. Once you’ve written all 25 responses, chances are, you’ll find an interesting new idea – or three.

 

There are a LOT of ways to increase creativity.

Which of these 3 work best for you? OR do you have a favorite you’re willing to share?

Deborah Olive

As a transformational expert and speaker, Deborah works with entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals seeking excellence and balance in their personal and professional lives. Learn more about Deborah Olive at Deborah Olive Coaching.

Deborah OliveFounder, Professional Speaker and Coach