Six Steps to Finding the Creative Way
Upon checking LinkedIn this morning, I received a congratulatory note marking one year of Creativia. Wow. What do I have to show for it? It all depends on what you’re looking for.
In August 2016, all I knew was that I had reached a point in my career when I could devote time and resources to doing something I was passionate about: showing people how the creative process makes innovation in big and small ways possible for everyone. Having done this in community and educational settings for over 25 years, I wanted to see how my process of teaching the creative process could impact businesses.
STEP ONE: INSPIRATION
In order to authentically create anything, we must be intrinsically motivated. Ultimately, we are solving a problem and that implies that hard work lies ahead, so unless I really, really want to make something new happen, it will not be worth the effort. My desire to become a business consultant had been growing over time, I could feel the excitement down to my bones. Energy and enthusiasm are critical during Inspiration, because no sooner do I say “Yes” I must do this, then I am thrust into…
STEP TWO: FRUSTRATION
Also known as chaos, darkness – I realized I had no idea how to turn my inspiration into reality. I had to come up with a business plan which meant learning to write a business plan, which meant learning about business. What needs to be done before I call people up offering my brilliant services? How will anyone know that I am more than competent in my specialty, that I am really good.
If I could just name it, what will I call this “baby?” A name I thought, could provide the base from which I needed to branch out. So many possible names. No names at all. “Applied Creativity.” No. Sounds like a graphic design firm. “Say Yes! Creativity.” No. Sounds like a motivational speaker. It’s time to get help. Creating does not have to be a solo endeavor, frequently expert assistance and trustworthy allies can make the difference between an aborted project and eventual success.
I instinctively knew I was in good hands the day I met branders, Scott Pryor and Adamo Aristotle. They knew how to ask questions, and listen, and listen some more. Just sharing where I was, and where I wanted to be, made this frustrating period far more bearable. Next thing I knew, they presented me with a list of ten possible names for my business, which was both inspiring and daunting. It was on me, now to choose the one that fit. I wrestled, trying each out, not even sure why some were keepers but others had to go. With three finalists, I was getting too tired to think or explore anymore, it was time to ….
STEP THREE: INCUBATE
Meaning? I let go and did something else totally unrelated to the project at hand. Something relaxing and pleasurable. I could go to yoga class, take a nap, watch Netflix’s, read. I like the kind of shopping that involves just looking at bright, shiny things. Why? Because this is when our unconscious takes over and the real “magic” of the creative process takes place. I have to wrestle consciously for as long as I can because I am preparing for the problem to be solved on a deeper level in the unconscious. This is the part of me I cannot control or judge. This is where something I never could have superficially imagined, can emerge. The unconscious took all the possible names for my company, and did its thing and then when I least expected it…
STEP FOUR: BREAKTHROUGH
Have you ever had one of those moments when out of nowhere the answer to a problem comes to you? AHA -that’s it, and you know in your gut & heart that this is not just “a” solution, it is the “ideal” solution. In my case, however, the aha was more subtle. I noticed the solution start to sprout and it consistently grew bolder until I could not dismiss it anymore - It felt right and it was time to…
STEP FIVE: ELABORATE
This phase can be likened to Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of FLOW, you know what to do and you do it – with total concentration and ease. This is the reward for hanging in there during Step Two. In the case of Creativia, Elaboration took on the form of setting up an LLC, opening a bank account, then designing a Logo, which led to business cards, and finally a Website! Boom. None of these tasks could have been completed without creating the company name. But this does not complete the creative process, I can’t know for sure that I have innovated something authentic until…
STEP SIX: COMMUNICATE
I have sent Creativia into the marketplace to receive feedback. Unless the name generates curiosity, ignites conversations, and ultimately leads to businesses learning how the creative process applies uniquely to them, my goal is incomplete and I will make adjustments. But, that’s just part of the process. Ultimately, through genuine creativity, we connect with other human beings on a level deeper than we do during our everyday transactions. I believe that’s why I really like the “via” in Creativia, via means way. I want to share the Creative Way. As we enter into our second year, we are offering strategic workshops, vision sessions, and coaching to guide your company and employees to the next level. Let Year Two Begin!