I'm surprised how often people say things to me along the lines of "I wish that I had majored in business but I wanted to do something creative," or "Being an entrepreneur won't satisfy my creative side." There seems to be this idea that business and creativity don't mix; that running a successful business requires a good head for numbers and logistics and nothing else.

The opposite is true of course, and you don't need to look much further than Steve Jobs or Elon Musk to prove it. To be a successful entrepreneur requires a variety of traits, including leadership, determination, knowledge, and, last but certainly not least, creativity.

Nicole Fallon, writing for Business News Daily, says,

"Creativity is a bigger predictor of success in life than intelligence. Most educational institutions and businesses still value intelligence over creativity. This may be because intelligence is easier to quantify, easier to manage, and easier to identify, whereas creativity can be difficult to spot because the most creative people often struggle in school. This makes it hard to discern the difference between a potential troublemaker and a truly creative person, who could bring great benefits to a company if their creativity were properly harnessed. A business should consider hiring for creativity in addition to intelligence."

Unfortunately, for many of us, creativity is something that we believe we don't have. We've been taught through years of schooling and social conditioning to conform, and when it becomes necessary to think outside the box, so to speak, we freeze up. It's a common problem, and one that we can overcome. Creativity, much like any skill, is something we can exercise and train. The more we expect our brains to be creative, the better we become at it.

Here are some tips for how to bring out your creative side.

Question your Assumptions

Once cause of routine thinking is allowing ruts to form in the way we operate, whether as an individual, a team, or a company as a whole. A common refrain, when someone asks why we are doing something a certain way, is "Because this is the way we've always done it."

The best way to break out of an organizational rut is to question everything that you're doing. You will probably find many examples of outmoded methods and plenty of opportunities for improvement. This kind of foundational realignment can lead to all sorts of new solutions, often to problems you weren't even aware of previously.

Block Out Distractions

Outside noise can be one of the greatest deterrents to creativity. If you want to unlock hidden reservoirs of creative energy, you need to turn off all the distractions that can stop you from being focused. Whether it's shutting the door to your office, turning off your stereo, or (most likely) disconnecting from the internet and putting away your smart phone, tuning out the noise can allow your brain to wander in innovative directions.

Get Moving

Sometimes, standing up from your desk and getting your blood moving will help stimulate new ideas. If you're anything like me, then your best ideas come at the least convenient times, while riding your bike, out for a jog, or, (this is my favorite) taking a shower. Not only are you less likely to be distracted by your devices (see above), you're also allowing your brain to roam free while your body does all the work. Regular exercise, whether it's a trip to the gym, or just a walk around the office, can often stimulate great thinking.

Keep a Dream Journal

Following the thread of the best ideas coming at the most inconvenient times, I can think of several occasion when I woke up from a dream thinking, "This is the greatest idea in the history of time. There's no way I will ever forget this." Then I immediately go back to sleep. The only thing I remember the next morning was that I had a great idea. I'd probably be a billionaire by now if I had all those ideas back. That's where a dream journal comes in. Keep a notebook next to your bed, and next time you wake up with an inspiration, write it down.

Hire a Life Coach

If you're looking for a creative jolt, sometimes what you need is an outside perspective to help inspire you. A life coach is someone who can help you generate new ideas and assist in training your mind to think differently. Contact me today to get started on a new way of thinking about creativity!



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