Just Do it

Creativity, innovation, creative thinking, idea generation. Are these ideas you only associate with artists, designers & other creative types? Think again, of course you have it. Creativity, that is. You might call it problem solving. You might express it by tying flies for fly fishing, or making the world’s best biscuits, or marketing your business. Basically, if you start with nothing and create something with the material and knowledge on hand at the moment, that’s problem solving. That’s creativity. So, of course you have it.

Start with What’s on Hand

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. In other words, don’t exhaust yourself looking for the perfect notebook, pen, software, tool or space. If you find them naturally, then by all means. But don’t let the lack of the perfect space, perfect material, perfect specific knowledge or skill, or perfect piece of equipment interfere with your creative process. Those perfect things might or might not come your way as you collect skills, material, and equipment add to your creative mediums. In the mean time, keep creating with the resources you have on hand now, using them to their fullest extent. There are many many examples of masterpieces in business and art being built with with humble materials, inadequate equipment, and less than ideal circumstances. Often, the less then ideal-ness of things is what triggers the problem solving (i.e. act of creativity) in the first place. Google from a dorm room. Hewlett Packard from a garage. Picasso’s early student work. You get the idea.

Showing Up and Forward Momentum

Don’t be limited by the idea of creativity coaching is only something of benefit to artists, current or aspirational. Two constants of creativity in either business building or art making is showing up and managing forward momentum. If you are so inclined, there are many amazing creative coaches. Two of my favorites are Julia Cameron (The Artist Way) and Barbara Bowen (Gateways Coaching). While the principals they teach in their writing, speaking, & coaching are geared towards artists, they can also be highly effective for anyone who is building anything that requires them to show up and manage momentum around an idea.

As mentioned above, presence, a lofty word for showing up, shows up in all methodologies of creativity coaching. As per Woody Allen, 80% of success is showing up. That means showing up on the page, at the computer screen, at the studio, at the painting wall, work bench, or whatever you work on and with whatever you work with on/in hand. Then you show up for the marketing of your output, if that’s what you want to do. If you only have a tentative grasp on an idea, eliminate all the little distractions that could derail you. Leave the sketch book open to a blank page, reference sketches taped up near by. Leave the computer on with a blank file open & reference files already open. If your creative process needs you to focus on only one project until completion, do that. If your process needs you to have several projects underway at once, do that. Schedule the meetings with potential clients/presenters before the work is complete, so you have a goal to work towards. This is building and managing momentum around your creative product.

Your “job” is to create the environment your creativity needs to flow and flourish and be open to the idea of getting out of its way to fill the page, canvas, space, or business plan. Your job is to keep your head (and the nagging doubts) out of the way of your creative process as you create your masterpiece, be it business or art.

At the earliest stages of creative process, just show up and get something down, then something else, then something else. You’re building material and momentum that will carry you through to completion. At these early stages, under no circumstances, should you judge your output. There will be plenty of time for editing, reworking, filling in detail, tweaking when the initial burst of inspiration has run its course. DON’T interrupt it. As best as possible, protect the creative flow from interruptions, either from yourself or those around you. Protect the momentum.

If stuck on what you’re trying to do at the moment, go do something else. It doesn’t matter what it is, just move something, anything forward. I sometimes find if I move something mindless forward, like the laundry, the dishes, the pile of shredding, the creative juices continue to flow on the original project, but the forward momentum of completing mindless task will usually keep me in the groove.

So, to all you closeted artists running your business; if you call it creativity or call it problem solving, show up to the tasks (be they ongoing or newly created tasks) to grow your enterprise and nurture and manage your momentum. Keeping yourself and your project in the flow of creative energy will bring you success on so many levels.

Integrated Life Success


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