We have a bit of a stereotype around the word “creative.” It conjures up images of brainstorms, the people who can’t seem to get their timesheets in on time and “big ideas.” Taking over Lichtenstein was showing up differently, that’s for certain, but creativity shouldn’t just be saved for pitches or “big ideas.” Where creativity can truly have an impact is in the more mundane moments. Wake up. Make coffee. Open laptop. Send email. Lather. Rinse. Repeat every day. It’s showing up differently to the routine that can have huge impact.
What are the things you do each and every day? Commit to exploding them, burning the rituals to the ground and starting fresh. Start with the most routine part of your day. How could you show up to it differently? Try writing all internal emails without using the letter “h.” Forget “Regards,” sign off every email differently.
Find a way, ANY way, to start waking up in the sleepy parts of your life. At the pace we’ve all become accustomed to working, we have a tendency to turn on autopilot simply as a survival measure. Resist this with all your being, not only professionally but also personally. It will not only make for better work, but work (and a life) that are significantly more enjoyable and more “lived.”
Be courageous and contrarian. Question the authority of the routine enough to know when something isn’t working and the guts to call it out. If the words “because it’s how we’ve always done it” flash into your mind, even for a moment, change whatever “it” is. Immediately. Seldom are these things going to be what we traditionally think of as “creative.” It will be the processes, the workflows. You have time, I promise. Maybe it turns out the old way was better, but now you know, on to the next. Stuck? Try and think of someone who is the exact opposite of you and ask their opinion.
Creativity needs to be practiced and honed. It can’t be turned on and off like a faucet. It has to be a paradigm shift. So why not start out with the small stuff, and work up to the big?