I’ve heard baseball described as a “game of failure,” which means that even the greatest batters in the game miss close to seven out of every ten tries. Well, using that same math, creativity, too, is a game of failure where the greatest creatives who have ever lived have had success with only a tiny, tiny proportion of their efforts. Given that this is the case, it might be worth your while to make failure your friend since, as an aspiring creative, you’ll be keeping pretty steady company. Stay with me here as I show you a few reasons why failure as a creative can ultimately be a good thing. 

It thickens your skin

One of the hardest lessons to learn as a creative is how to toughen up a bit when it comes to our ideas. Part of what helps us create is our sensitivity to the world around us. This is all fine and good when it comes to the creative process but when it comes to comments about our work, well that’s a little different. The reality is that not every creative effort we make will connect with people the way we hope it will. However, the more we realize that as creatives the only people we really need to please is ourselves, the easier it will become to hear less than kind comments about our work. Better yet, the more we hear those kinds of comments, the thicker our skin will become so that we can go about our business without letting unkind words get us down for long.

It’s a sign you’re putting yourself out there

If you’re “failing” when it comes to getting your work out there, that actually means you’re doing the right thing. If you don’t fail, that most likely means you’re not taking any risks and, I assure you, not failing is NOT the same as succeeding. So take heart. The more you hear no, the closer you’re coming to hearing yes. 

You’re being given an opportunity to learn

It can be discouraging when you feel like you’ve worked on something creative that isn’t up to par but the good news is that even if that particular project never gets better, you’ll take away the lesson. The more you can analyze what isn’t working in your efforts, the better able you’ll be to avoid those issues in subsequent tries. Learning from mistakes is the hallmark of growth in any career.

It forces you to recommit to your goal

Nothing strengthens commitment to a goal more than repeatedly picking yourself up from a failure and moving on. Developing your creativity is not for the faint of heart but if you’re willing to recommit each time things don’t go your way, you’ll build up a resilience that will serve you well throughout your entire career.

It makes you appreciate success when it comes

When creative success does come, it’s generally the result of what I like to think of as a critical mass of effort – and failure. What this does is give you a much deeper appreciation of what it takes to have any kind of creative success. That kind of gratitude goes a long way towards motivating you even further.

It keeps you humble

On the flip side, all that failure keeps you from ever feeling like you’ve totally got the whole “creativity thing” licked. In my case, I’ve written over a thousand songs and I still get nervous before I write. That’s a good thing.

Conclusion

So, if something doesn’t go your way, take a deep breath and try not to take it so hard. This is tough to do when you’re as passionate about your work as most budding creatives are. Creativity rewards those who can weather the storm of failure and come out the other side better, stronger and more grateful.

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Learning to write songs as a way of exploring and solving problems has the additional – and powerful – benefit of providing you with a set of critical skills for facing problems you haven’t yet anticipated.  In essence, the more we open ourselves up to the creativity that songwriting introduces into in our lives and work, the more we’ll be future-proofing our problem-solving approach. Below are four ways that learning to write songs will help us with any and all issues that can – and undoubtedly will – arise in the future.

The ability to think laterally

Problem-solving approaches are infinite but it’s also human nature to rely on one particular approach which has served us well in the past. The problem is that as brokerage houses are fond of saying, “past results are no guarantee of future success.” Using songwriting to explore different ways of looking at the same problem can open up a variety of solutions that a prior “go to” approach might not reveal. Instead of thinking in our accustomed linear way, learning to write songs encourages lateral thinking which will allow us consider alternate approaches and paradigms in service of a novel solution to a novel problem.

Enhanced communication skills

Songwriting is one of the oldest and most effective forms of communication that humanity has. There’s a good reason that songs have lasted this long. They are a miraculously compact and meaningful way to communicate an idea. When it comes to solving problems, communication is a key factor in how a problem is not only described but also in how possible answers to your questions are presented. The better our ability to communicate, the greater the likelihood of convincing others to join us in our search for a solution.

Better collaboration

The use of co-writing to create a song better than any one of the individual writers could have written on their own is a direct mirror of how effective collaboration works in a business context. Bringing in diverse experiences and points of view and allowing each participant to contribute their particular set of strengths to the effort increases by an order of magnitude the likelihood of a solving a future problem that lacks the precedent of an easy or familiar solution.

A willingness to take risks

When a business team steps out of their comfort zone to learn a new skill like writing a song, they are clearly taking a risk. This risk takes the form of vulnerability, the loss of control and the introduction of a certain amount of chaos into a well-ordered and productive routine. However, when my business teams complete their songwriting assignments and end up with a finished song just an hour or so after they’ve begun, it serves as a reminder that the reward on the other side of risk can be exhilarating. Signing on to solve an unknown problem can feel equally risky but the positive experience that a successful songwriting session brings provides an increased willingness to face the challenge – and risk – of solving a new problem.

Conclusion

The creativity, empathy, improved communication and collaborative skills that learning to write songs brings are a set of versatile and powerful tools. These tools work both for solving current “known” problems and, more importantly, they will work for future “unknown” problems where past solutions no longer apply. 

-Cliff

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The evolution in any career from novice to expert looks a little different for everyone but one thing remains the same. If you’re paying attention to your work and skillset, over time you’ll develop an opinion about what works well for you and what doesn’t. That’s very much how I came to the realization that I had something to say about creativity. After thirty years of writing songs, articles and books, I’ve found that there are certain behaviors and practices that consistently deliver the results I’m seeking. In examining my journey to this point, I’ve identified three specific reasons I came to teach creativity that might offer some insight into my process.

1. I’m not a creative genius

In my years of writing songs, I’ve come across a handful of songwriters who are so naturally gifted that it’s almost as if a finger came out of the clouds and bestowed them with a level of insight and inspiration that is far beyond what can be taught or learned. I can safely say I’m not that guy. Instead, I’ve spent decades slowly but surely developing my craft and learning how to improve my admittedly weak early creative efforts. However, my path is exactly the reason I have a deep understanding of my creative process and creativity in general. Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to consciously access and shape my inspiration in order to make it my livelihood. It is my painstakingly gradual growth that has allowed me to understand what creativity looks like from the inside and enhanced my desire to share it with others.

2. I’ve learned to break down creativity into its component parts

Creativity as a monolithic goal can feel overwhelming. For example, the task of writing a song feels impossible to my business teams at the outset of my workshops. However, I’ve found that breaking down songwriting into its component parts of metaphor, verse and chorus immediately inspires the confidence of my workshop participants to participate and, ultimately, write their songs. I’m a big believer in taking small yet consistent steps forward towards any goal and creativity is certainly no exception. I love the vicarious exhilaration I feel as my business teams celebrate their creative wins.

3. I’ve deeply examined my own process

There’s nothing like putting together a lesson plan or workshop outline to bring you face to face with what you’ve learned and how you plan to explain it. The quote attributed to Albert Einstein applies here. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” I’ve spent my entire working life examining the creative process so that I can break it down and explain it to business teams. Taking bright people who don’t think of themselves as creative and showing them that they are never gets old.

Conclusion

Teaching creativity to business teams provides me with an endless source of joy and satisfaction. It is precisely my years of effort including countless mistakes and failures along the way that give me the motivation to stand up in front of groups of  smart and accomplished professionals from varied disciplines and introduce them to the world of creativity. I take their trust and bravery seriously and I’m always grateful for the opportunity.

-Cliff

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Creativity is scary. I know this to be true. Even after sitting down to write over 1,000 songs, I still hesitate just slightly before I start writing the next one. As if that weren’t proof enough, I’ve even been dreading sitting down to write this article about why we’re averse to creativity. However, I’m also living proof that there are things we can do to get past our initial reluctance. The observations and tips below have helped me over the years and I hope they’ll do the same for you on your creative journey.

Why we’re averse to creativity

1. Creativity means departing from the status quo

The status quo is comfortable. It’s working just fine. Why mess up a good thing? It’s never appealing to depart from the norm especially when the results are uncertain. Doing something different from the way it’s “always been done” is a risk and there’s a part of our survival instinct that tells us to avoid risk. The reality, though, is that while the status quo may appear safe, it isn’t. Our world is constantly changing. The real risk is in failing to evolve and change.

2. Being creative risks appearing foolish in front of your colleagues

The workplace is its own universe with its own hierarchy and aspirations. The goal is to do good work, demonstrate competence and control and move ahead. Stepping away from our areas of mastery risks showing a side of ourselves that might compromise the façade of control which is unappealing at best. It should help to remember that we’re all human and failure and mistakes are a part of the learning and growing process. It takes genuine courage to put ourselves out there in a creative way.

3. It takes real effort to be creative

Creativity requires an initial investment of energy and attention – or as flow expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it “activation energy” – to get started. In other words, it’s not as simple as sitting down to do a task that we already understand and control. Creativity requires focus and a willingness to accept the uncertainly around the outcome. This can be discouraging but, in my experience, it’s only tough for a moment and then the benefits of exploring your creativity begin to accrue.

What we can do about it

1. Design an environment that is conducive to creativity

Creating a physical space that is designed to lessen distractions and increase your focus makes the creative act much more accessible. But it’s not just the physical space, it’s the headspace as well. Designating a time of day – even just ten minutes – to work on your creative projects also will make it easier to dig in.

2. Break your creativity down into manageable pieces

One of my favorite expressions when it comes to any daunting task is “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” Looking at creativity as a monolithic goal or event can be too much to contemplate but breaking down your creative efforts into small pieces can make them more manageable. Another benefit of starting small is that you’ll begin to develop a tolerance for creativity making it possible to eventually do more and more without feeling overwhelmed. But, again, it helps to start small.

3. Get clear on how you’d like to approach your creative goals.

As George Leonard states in his book “Mastery,” “clarity creates energy.” The better we understand what our creative goals are, the more motivated we are to achieve them. Early on, we might not yet have refined how we’d like to use our creativity but the more we explore, the more clear the big picture will become. When this happens, the boost of energy we receive makes overcoming our aversion significantly easier.

Conclusion

While it may be common to discuss the benefits of creativity, it can be useful to acknowledge that we’re also averse to creativity at some level. By simply recognizing that this is the case, some of the power of our aversion is diminished and creativity itself becomes more accessible. And, by the way, no one ever said that significant rewards – like the kind that creativity offers – were supposed to be easy. If being willing to make the effort to get past your aversions is the work, then you will have earned the amazing benefits that creativity provides.

-Cliff

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I’ve heard it said that the keys to creativity are practice and intention. To that end, it can help to know what to practice once you have the intention to develop your creativity. Having a songwriter’s mindset is a great place to start as many of the skills that make for good songwriting are the same skills that enhance all creativity.

Empathy

Songwriters are, first and foremost, observers. By developing a keen eye for the human condition, songwriters learn to put themselves in the place of the subjects of their songs. This is the very definition of empathy. And above and beyond the intrinsic relationship value of having empathy, it’s a shortcut to improved innovation and creativity as it allows us to more deeply understand and attend to the needs of our clients.

Risk-Taking

Creativity requires a willingness to leave our comfort zones in the service of putting something new and meaningful into the world. Songwriting works as a way to inoculate ourselves agains the fear of taking risks by gradually encouraging us to show more of ourselves and our feelings…otherwise put, our humanity. This vulnerability comes with the reward of deeper connection and the motivation to take more risks in the service of your creative practice.

Communication

Learning to write songs is about the transformation of an idea or concept into a refined and compelling vehicle to convey your message. There is no better tool for refining your thoughts than the process of distilling them into a song lyric. Lyrics are about brevity and impact and all communication can benefit from those skills.

Collaboration

If I’ve learned anything in my three-plus decades of writing songs, it’s that my creative process benefits greatly from collaboration. By pairing myself with people whose songwriting strengths shore up my weaknesses and vice versa, I’ve built a catalog of songs that are far  better than any songs I could have written on my own. My co-writing experience mirrors any good collaboration and being open to sharing your process can lead to gains far beyond what we can do alone.

Problem Solving

Taking the seed of an idea and turning it into a finished song  requires a variety of different creative tools. Each attempt to “crack the code” of a song strengthens our problem solving muscles in a way that gives us increased confidence the next time we face a similar – or  different – challenge. Songwriter’s are wired to solve problems and simply thinking that way is half the battle.

Conclusion

You don’t need to be a professional songwriter to benefit from thinking – and behaving – like one. The simple act of learning the component parts of what makes songs work and trying for yourself can unlock your access all of the above skills. It’s always inspiring to see how quickly the business teams I lead through the process of learning to write songs not only catch on but also demonstrate each of the elements of the songwriter’s mindset to the benefit of their songs and their continued creativity.

-Cliff

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Since I firmly believe that creativity and productivity work best when equally developed, I’ve been giving some serious thought to the ways that I’ve actively structured my life and career to balance the two. It’s not simply a matter of honoring both the creative and productive elements in our lives but the clear proof that each element improves and enhances the other. To that end, I thought I’d start with the way that I’ve balanced my songwriting career with my work as a recording engineer.

Being a songwriter is about unbridled creativity

I started writing songs from a place of sheer inspiration. After more than ten years of classical piano training as a kid (and never having written a song), I taught myself to play guitar my freshman year of college and wrote my first song just a few years later. Something about the freedom to discover a new instrument on my own terms unlocked a desire to express myself creatively. Now over thirty years – and more than a thousand songs – later, I’m still moved to put new songs into the world. Writing songs is about channeling inspiration which, while exciting, is still – even after all these years – emotionally taxing. I love the feeling of “going to the well” of creativity but there are times when it simply feels better to dig into something clear and predictable. Hence, without knowing exactly why it was important to me at the time, I also built a recording studio business in tandem with my work as songwriter.

Being a recording engineer is about nuts and bolts productivity

For me (and I’m sure many of you), there is something deeply soothing about knowing exactly what to do and when. That is the essence of engineering in the studio. Whether it’s reading a four-hundred page manual to learn about a new piece of equipment or figuring out which cable to connect to which device to make everything work, audio engineering has always scratched my productivity itch. I love the precision and predictability of engineering and the satisfaction of knowing that if done properly the results are undeniable. That being said, too much precision and predictability can feel somewhat dry and uninspired which then leads me back to the emotional spelunking of songwriting.

How being a songwriter and recording engineer work together

Now here’s where things get good. My experience shows that knowing I’ll be able to capture a beautiful recording of my new song in my studio will give me the confidence and bravery to tolerate the short-term emotional chaos that songwriting brings. But, at the same time, the awareness that I’ll be writing new songs to record, provides me with extra motivation to make sure my studio equipment is updated, properly connected and running smoothly. It is in the development, maintenance and interplay of my creativity and productivity that they both flourish.

Conclusion

I’m certain that I was simply exploring things I found interesting when I started writing songs and putting together my first recording studio. And as a result, it wasn’t until much later that I began to understand how my right brain-inspired creativity and my left brain’s desire for precision informed one another. However, I can now say with complete confidence that they absolutely do. This is but one of many examples of how creativity and productivity work together. I’m also convinced that those of you who lean far to one side or the other on the creativity/productivity spectrum can benefit greatly by incorporating even small elements your less-developed side into your lives. The goal, in time, is to honor and grow both creativity and productivity so that they can not only help on their own but also in the way they inform one another.

-Cliff

Find out more about my creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.

In my experience, it’s much more likely that corporate executives would describe themselves as “productive” than “creative.” While I firmly believe that we are all creative, this article is going to take a slightly different tack. Instead of thinking of productivity and creativity as being at odds, let’s consider the likelihood that as an executive, you can leverage your well-developed productive abilities to rekindle your innate creativity. To that end, I’ve thought of three (there are many more) ways that productivity makes creativity easier.

1. Discipline Enables Creativity

One of the hallmark characteristics of productive people is their iron-clad discipline. It takes discipline to keep the machinery of business moving in the right direction. What you might not have considered however is that creativity requires an equal amount of discipline. Enhancing your creative ability takes focus and the will to bring attention and intention to whatever creative endeavor you choose to undertake. Inspiration, for example, is not something that working creatives can afford to wait for but, rather, something that they actively pursue. On top of that, when exploring your creativity feels daunting, it’s your discipline that prevents you from walking away or giving up. The conscious pursuit of creativity and creative ideas is a direct function of applying your discipline.

2. Organization Makes Room For Creativity

The image of the stereotypical creative is someone surrounded by chaos and disorder from which their amazing new ideas and products arise. However, while creativity does make room for chaos, creatives need to make room for creativity. There is only one way I know to have a meaningful creative practice and that involves making room both physically and emotionally for creativity to happen. This takes organization. Given that organization is one of the cornerstones of productivity, why not use that organizational ability to carve out time and an actual space for creativity. Then, within that safe space, be a little brave and allow chaos and disorder to roam free for a little while.

3. Consistency Sharpens Creativity

Not only does it take discipline and organization to nurture creativity, it also takes consistency. This is yet another natural skill for most productive types. Being creative isn’t a one-off dramatic event, it’s the cumulative effect of dozens or even hundreds of small creative efforts that when combined over time can have dramatic results. By introducing a 5-minute “haiku writing break” into your day, every day, you’ll have amassed three hundred and sixty-five poems by the end of a year. This is only one example of countless ways to tap into your creativity consistently which, in time, will strengthen your creative muscles much more than taking a full day to “be creative” which, incidentally, rarely works.

Conclusion

Discipline, organization and consistency are qualities that successful productive people have in abundance. By simply applying those well-developed productivity skills to your creative practice, you’ll find that creativity does, indeed, become easier.

-Cliff

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Let me begin by saying that if you’re struggling to access and develop your creativity, you’re not alone. Even full-time creatives such as myself find the process intimidating and daunting from time to time. To that end, I’ve put together a few creativity hacks that make the process not only more accessible but also more fun. 

1. Designate a creative space

Creativity is absolutely environment-dependent. Attempting any creative endeavor from painting to poetry to music is significantly easier if you are able to carve out a little space in your home or office that lends itself to inspiration. Not only that but entering that space works as a kind of signal that you’ll be tapping into your imagination. I should also say that by “creative space” I don’t just mean physical space but also space on your calendar. Picking a time of day when you are less distracted and there are fewer demands on your time can be extremely helpful as well.

2.  Give yourself a time limit

Speaking of demands on your time, it is somewhat counterintuitive that having unlimited time to create is actually more difficult than having just a little time available. But creativity – ironically – craves constraint. To that end, giving yourself a limited amount of time to create will generate the best results. It’s less intimidating to know, for example, that you’ve only got 15 minutes to try to write a poem instead of the entire weekend.

3. Don’t wait around for inspiration

In the early days of my songwriting career, it never occurred to me that I could go out and get inspiration. I thought that inspiration simply showed up and then it was my job to do something with it. I think I wrote my first twenty songs that way. However, for the next 980 songs and beyond, I realized that inspiration was something I could proactively seek. This took many forms but one of the simplest and best practices was that I started keeping a small notebook on my nightstand and each morning I would take a minute and write down a single song title. That’s all. This seemingly insignificant behavior resulted in my always having an idea to bring to a writing session even on days when my inspiration was at low ebb. Think about a tiny creative effort you can do every day so that inspiration is waiting for you instead of the other way around.

4. Find a collaborator/collaborators

As an inveterate songwriting co-writer, I’m a big believer in creative collaboration for a variety of reasons. First and most obviously, it’s half as hard to be creative when you share the work with someone else but it goes deeper than that. Collaboration equals accountability. In my experience, there’s always some significant distraction or task that can get in the way of a solo creative endeavor (folding your socks or gazing at your own navel come to mind). But when you schedule an appointment with your collaborator, you’re holding each other accountable which tends to keep us honest and on creative track.

5. Be macro patient and micro impatient

This is one of the best suggestions I’ve ever heard on how to have a successful creative practice. What “macro patient” means is that any significant creative gains are, on some level, beyond our immediate control and getting frustrated when they don’t come sooner will be a futile exercise. So you should stay patient when it comes to dramatic improvement. However, you should also be “micro impatient” to do some kind of creative work every day and not wait around for things to happen. This “impatience” has the benefit of improving your creative output while also keeping you from worrying too much about the big picture.

Conclusion

Creativity can be – and often is – a truly joyful process. However, as noted psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi states in his seminal book “Finding Flow,” creativity (like the flow state) requires a certain amount of “activation energy” which can be enough to discourage most would be creatives. The above tips are ways to get you past the natural resistance to creativity and will, hopefully, serve to deepen your creative practice.

-Cliff

Find out more about Cliff’s creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.

Although I have made my living for over thirty years as a songwriter and musician, I have to admit that I have a somewhat conflicted relationship with creativity. There are several reasons for this and also several reasons why creativity will – in spite of everything – always have an important place in my career and life. I thought that by confessing that creativity is complicated even for this full-time creative, I might shed some light on why as adults we’re often resistant to creativity and why we should strive to incorporate it into our lives regardless.

Creativity messes things up

Let me start by saying I truly love order. I can be described – only somewhat tongue in cheek – as the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and makes the bed. For me, creating order is not only soothing but also my way of establishing focus in my work and life. One of the problems I’ve found with creativity is that it’s messy. The act of creation involves trial and error (lots of error), tension, vulnerability and no small amount of discomfort. And for a guy – true story – whose kindergarten teacher told my mother that I didn’t want to finger-paint because I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, this is a serious challenge. And yet I’m still drawn to creativity. The way that I reconcile this is by looking at creativity as messing things up so I can then put them back together again but better.

Creativity is scary

Even though I’ve been writing songs for over three decades, I still feel a slight tremor of fear every single time I sit down to write. So I can only imagine what it must feel like for someone who doesn’t explore their own creativity with any regularity. However, leaving your comfort zone is supposed to be scary. What I mean by this is that the fear that you feel when confronting creativity is exactly what you need to break out of your old, familiar routine. Also, I’ve found not only with myself but even with business teams that when I take them through my songwriting workshops, the fear is temporary. Once you’re absorbed in the creative process, everything else falls by the wayside in service of your creative effort.

Creativity takes effort

And, speaking of effort, it’s not an easy thing to begin a creative project of any kind. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Finding Flow” refers to the effort it takes to begin any creative endeavor as “activation energy.” The difference between flopping down in front of the television and actively engaging in a creative exercise is significant and ofter enough to discourage even the most intrepid creatives. However, like getting past your fear, once you’ve exerted the effort, the rewards far outweigh what it took to get started.

So, let’s talk about those rewards…

Creativity adds meaning to life

A life built on maintaining the status quo and avoiding challenges may seem appealing at first glance but, in reality, will be almost unspeakably dull and unsatisfying. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to become a painter or dancer in order to have a meaningful life but the act of having a hobby, telling a story or raising a child (one of nature’s original creative endeavors) adds meaning and texture to our lives. We need creativity to become the fullest expression of ourselves.

Creativity fuels productivity

Productivity – that coveted skill that all businesses require – is based on having something to “produce.” So without the creative act there’s really nothing to be productive about. In my experience, I’m always much more motivated to be productive when I’ve created something I’m proud of that I want to share with the world whether it’s a new song, workshop or book. In the end, productivity is in service of creativity.  It can be helpful to remember that productivity for its own sake is an empty exercise.

Creativity leaves a legacy

I’ve written about this before but it’s important to repeat that creativity isn’t the domain of a select few “anointed” ones but, rather, something that we are all born with. All of us are responsible for adding our unique creativity to the collective whole. Our reward for this is that we leave a little bit of ourselves behind. This means that a part of us will continue even after we’re gone. Whether it’s a made up story for your child or a song people sing, your creativity will outlast you and that is a powerful reason to brave the discomfort and fear that are only temporary.

-Cliff

Find out more about Cliff’s creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across bright, motivated executives who – when asked – say they’re not creative. Similarly, I don’t know how many times in my talks, workshops and writing I have said that we are ALL creative. I believe this to be true without exception. I believe that part of the problem when it comes to people downplaying or outright dismissing their own creative ability is the standard for what counts as “creative.”

Just as it feels like common sense to say that we are all endowed with a certain amount of creative ability, it also makes sense not to compare ourselves to the icons of creativity in various fields. In other words, it is reasonable to say that anyone can tell a story but not everyone is Stephen King. More importantly, we don’t have to be Stephen King to benefit from incorporating storytelling into our communication.

The reason I bring this up is twofold. 

First, by comparing ourselves to the exceptions (the genius, full time creative types), we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment and – perhaps worse – discouragement. This is an unnecessary comparison and one that doesn’t do anyone any good. On top of that, just because you’re not Steve Jobs doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute to the creativity of your team. Teams need creativity – and creative awareness – at all levels in order to function at their best.

Secondly, in a business context, even if someone on your team IS brilliantly creative, that feels like a risky way to incorporate creativity across a department or entire company. For example, that brilliant creative might have a creative slump or even leave your company all together. Might it not be better if everyone were to explore their own creativity so that at the very least they can understand – and contribute to – the creative conversation? I’m not saying that everyone has to contribute equally but I am saying that putting all of the creative weight on just a few shoulders could cause problems down the road.

I’ve spent my entire working career in the arts and while there are countless ways of finding and harnessing inspiration, there are also creativity-damaging behaviors to avoid. First on that list is comparing your creativity to the creativity of those around you. Better to explore your own creativity, celebrate the creativity of your peers and idols and know that there is room for all creativity.

-Cliff

Find out more about Cliff’s creativity & innovation workshops for business teams.