"How do I bring more creativity into the workplace?"
I am a person who is lucky enough to bring creativity with me wherever I go. That is just how my head works. Why? I am a rebel. Very recently, I created "Facebook in the Real World" day at work. I walked around hanging pictures of myself on the walls, handing out articles to people, letting them know that I thought they would find it interesting, I walked into rooms and announced mundane tidbits about my cat, and "liked" and "poked" people at random. It was epic. Everybody loved it. Laughing, smiling, and general merriment ensued wherever I went.
The best part about this was that I did not ask permission. Why? It didn't occur to me. I didn't think I needed to. That is the kind of work environment I am lucky enough to exist in.
Another thing I did recently was wear "The Dress of Good Fortune" to work. I wrote a bunch of quotes from famous women authors on small brown pieces of paper and sewed them onto a dress of mine. I invited people to take a fortune from "The Dress of Good Fortune", because, who doesn't like a good fortune every now and again? It stirred conversation and interaction between all who participated.
Here are ten ways to encourage creativity in your own work space or in the work space of your employees:
- Create a space in which to be creative. That means a safe place. If you feel relaxed, secure and unconcerned about retribution, creativity just happens. It's physics. A place and time to play around, to move pieces without intent or focus. It really loosens up the brain and helps perspective to be more loose as well.
- Practice at home. Creativity is something everyone has, though many would tell you this is not the case. When you practice at home, in a safe place, on a regular basis, it is much easier to carry this practice over at work. It will happen more naturally if you have practice doing it in a more comfortable place first. Try it.
- Turn your statements into questions. I got this one from James Altucher, whom I love. Instead of saying to yourself, "I am not doing this assignment to the best of my ability," change it to "I am not doing this assignment to the best of my ability?" Changing your statements into questions changes everything. Try it. It is fun. It might even make you laugh.
- Keep things at work which inspire you. I have quotes on my shelves, action figures, and pictures that inspire me to be a rebel. Why a rebel? Creativity is a rebellious act, as is love. (Creativity is love embodied in an object or experience.) Inspire yourself to be a rebel and your creativity will come pouring out.
- Use your fears and anxieties to fuel your creativity. This might sound a bit counter to what I have been saying about a safe place, but, hear me out. Creativity is supposed to flow, and when it doesn't, it is usually due to the fact that fear or anxiety is getting in the way. I use my creativity to address those fears. Example: I got a huge beehive hairdo to address my fear/anxiety around getting a picture taken for my ID. My entire DMV experience was a delightful one, and, now I have a license that gets me out of all kinds of trouble. Creativity is a tool you can use to address your anxieties. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes habit, and your whole life becomes a magical place where interesting things never stop happening.
- Go upside down. Another one from James Altucher. When you stand on your head, everything changes. Creativity is all about a change in perspective, and if you can't do it with your heart and your head, do it with your body. The blood goes to your brain, providing much needed oxygen and nutrients, and you see things differently. If you do not have the ability to do this, then try it with your heart and your head. Think of one thing that you know, without a doubt, that is true. Then, question it. Argue the antithesis until you have convinced yourself that it is not true. Creativity is all about curiosity. Once you know something to be true, you stop being curious about it, and the creativity stops.
- Have things around you that remind you of the happiest days of your childhood. I get my best ideas from kids. They are open, they are free, they have not put all kinds of rules and regulations on themselves and have few expectations of the world. Kids make stuff, and if you remind yourself of that time in your life when you were that free, it just might inspire you to liberation once again. If you have nothing like this, then just spend some time with some kids. They are amazing and if you are open to it, you will be able to see the world through their eyes.
- Cut out distractions. When you are restless, your mind and body look for things to do to fill the void. Try hard, for at least fifteen minutes a day, to let the void be empty. It is in that void that the magic happens. When you fill it with noise like TV, music, food, alcohol, drugs, or what have you, your brain has no space or room to move because it is receiving. You must allow it time to work towards creation and expression. You are a conduit through which great things can happen, but they will not if you have someone else's voice in your head all day long.
- Infuse humor into your life. Most of the stuff that I do at work is to entertain myself and others. In fact, If I consider the things that I do at work on an almost daily basis, it is for the sole purpose of entertaining myself. Laughter has the amazing ability to open up the heart and let stuff in. If you find ways to entertain yourself and others, the world appears full with possibilities.
- Build a creative community. Creative people inspire, so find a Creative Mentor, a Creative Hero, and a bunch of Creative Partners in Crime to encourage you forth into your creative life. I have many people I keep handy to inspire, both real and imaginary, as well as artist friends who I speak with about my creative endeavors. They are my true north, my home base, my ambrosia and my heart. I could not be who I am and do what I do, without them.
There you have it. Ten ways to bring creativity into the work place and the one rule to which you must abide if you are going to be a rebel. DO NOT WAIT FOR PERMISSION. Go forth bravely and create. We are desperate for your particular brand of genius.