How to be creative

Somewhere back in my career, one of my pharmaceutical clients asked me to put together a presentation about how to generate more creativity in the workplace. I started the presentation with the following basic principles:

  • Allow people freedom and a sense of control over their work.
  • Ensure the work be challenging. People need to be stretched to think creatively.
  • Minimize fear of failure in a culture that supports risk.
  • Have sufficient resources—people, time, etc.
  • People don’t stretch when they are stretched.
  • Provide encouragement and support—from workgroups, supervisors and organization management

But looking back I realize that I left out the most important thing. To be more creative, we must spend time being creative. Draw, paint, weave, make a collage, take photographs, scrapbook, woodwork, sculpt or just play with clay. Write poetry. You don’t have to be good. That is not the point. If you don’t want to make art, go see art. Stand there and feel what happens in your gut when you see art. Even a good travel escape, where you spend your time feeling and being instead of thinking can work. You can do anything that takes you away from your day-to-day life and starts the other side of your brain…the right side…working. That is the point.

Building a business is largely a left brain activity. It requires logic and a plan and rules and organization. But our inspiration comes from the right side. Our creativity comes from the right side.  And if we don’t allow that side some freedom, we can miss out on all the good stuff it brings. If we don’t exercise it, it gets stale. If we don’t support it and nurture it, in all its wildness and craziness, we run the risk of losing it. And with it goes our spark and our ability to take risks…which are so important for success. Plus, making art is incredibly relaxing. After all that rational business thinking, your left brain needs a rest. It needs time to recharge so it can move forward again.

So I recommend building time every week into your schedule to do something creative. It’s incredibly important for the health of your business and for your health, too. And if you don’t think you can do this alone, check out Sarah Bush supports her clients in expressing themselves creatively though collage…over the phone! It’s easy and it makes for the perfect creative moment.

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