“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou
Regardless of what you do, creativity invites new thinking, fresh perspective, and innovation to your businesses.
In fact, a study by Forester and Adobe found that companies that embrace creativity outperform peers and competitors.
Yet many of us don’t see ourselves as creative. You may even believe that some of us are born creative and some of us aren’t—that it’s just luck.
But the truth is that all of us are creative, whether we realize it or not. The trick lies in learning how to ignite your creative sparks intentionally, rather than just “waiting for inspiration” to come to you.
So here’s some easy tips to help bring your inspiration out to play.
6 Ways to Open Up Your Creativity
1. Get Out of Your Analytical Mind
Don’t think too hard. Let your thoughts come and go without analyzing them. Creativity doesn’t come from intellectual understanding. When you quiet your mind and stay open in the moment, new ways of thinking, new ideas, and new ways of expressing yourself show up.
2. Take a Break or Sleep On It
Sometimes in the throes of creating something new, nothing seems to come forward. When that happens, you need to clear space for inspiration. Take a walk or do something physical to allow your mind to process things subconsciously. You’ll find that where you experienced feeling stuck will shift.
Sleep is another great way to access your creativity, especially if you have a specific problem or if you’re working on a specific project. As you sleep, your unconscious mind makes new brain connections allowing for fresh insight to emerge. In his article on the science of sleep and creativity, Sam McNerney writes, “Now scientists understand dreaming as an integral part of the creative process—it’s not just about the problems of everyday life, it’s about solving them.”
3. Let Go of Self-judgment
There is no right or wrong way to be creative. Comparing yourself to others ultimately shuts down creativity because it causes you to look outside of yourself for what can only come from within—your inspiration. Don’t worry about what others think. And don’t be afraid to come up with “bad ideas.” You can sort that out later. Just let it flow.
Learn to trust your inner voice, and as ideas come to you don’t sensor them. Remember creativity has many forms. That’s the beauty of it. Be open to letting it flow and know that you can tap into your unique creative self.
4. Write Down Your Ideas
Have you ever had an idea and in that moment thought, “that’s great!”—only to forget about it?
Write your ideas into your phone, your favorite online organizer, or go the time-honored route and use a notebook. Personally, I like Evernote. But the most important thing is that you have a system in place, whatever it may be.
This practice will show you just how creative you are all the time! Often we’re inspired by something we see or read. Jotting down your ideas is a way of nurturing your skill and paying attention to what opens you to your creative process.
5. Share With Others
When you openly share your creativity, you’ll find that the act of talking with others ignites more creativity. Ideas and thoughts bounce off each other.
You may be thinking about things one way, and simply exchanging thoughts will spark a whole new way of thinking. Be open, and you’ll be surprised at what emerges.
This is especially supportive in the workplace, where we are always looking at ways to innovate.
6. Have Fun with Your Unique Interpretation of Creativity
Cultivating your own self-expression outside of work is another fantastic way to experience your creative force. Be playful and do something you enjoy. Paint, write, learn a new dance, cook a fantastic meal, or play an instrument. Whatever feels good to you—do it. Invite creativity to be a part of your life and the possibilities will be endless.
We’d love to hear how you cultivate creativity in your business and in your life!