6 ways to tap into your creative potential by thinking of “creativity” as a boss in multiple senses of the word.
Boss (noun)- a person in charge of a worker or organization
Boss (adjective)- excellent; outstanding.
Part I: The Common Approach
When it comes to buzzwords “creativity” tops the charts on regular basis. Whether it’s writing rap songs, selling crocheted headbands on Etsy, or launching an app for millions to use, it seems as though everyone wants more creativity. A single google search on the word summons thousands of “how to” articles claiming to hold the special secrets to unlocking your potential. Unfortunately, much of the advice revolves around the fleeting and unnecessary prerequisite of “feeling inspired.”
Supposedly, if you wait long enough and set the scene just right then inspiration just come: One day at sunrise, on the water, while drinking puréed kale, a dolphin will simply nudge a glass bottle onto your paddle board with a million dollar idea inside. The idea will arrive fully developed of course, and minutes away from manifesting into reality.
It’s no wonder so many of us report coming up dry from well of inspiration so often. Practicing this mentality is like pursing a job at Apple by watching TV and hoping Steve Jobs interrupts you with a personalized phone call.
We commonly treat creativity with nonchalance and apathy, but the reality is, creativity is a boss. A very good one, don’t get me wrong, but a boss that demands to be treated like a one none-the-less. Everyone has the choice and potential to take part in the “creative company” where the benefits of joy, and even health, are unparalleled. A place of skyscraper dreams, where the boss Mr. Creativity himself delivers boxes of light bulbs and stacks of ideas daily, even minutely, to your office doorstep. While I cannot claim to be a certified expert in creative sciences, I have learned a few insights in my journey thus far. In efforts to make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible, I put together a company handbook chock full of crucial tips and inside information. Enjoy the read. 🙂
Part II: The Handbook
1. Ace the Interview
The moment you decide to try your hand at something new, and the empty canvas or a blank page stares back at you, the interview has officially begun. Upon entrance into the boardroom, you will find a box labeled “scripted answers, and risk-free guarantees.” Outside of the box, sprawl hundreds of jigsaw puzzle pieces with parts of peculiar questions and of unique solutions. While you may not know it, this is your first test. If you reach for the box of guarantees, the company lets you keep it, and a receptionist in a khaki pantsuit escorts you out of the facility. However, if you stay and gravitate towards the puzzle, Mr. Creativity sits back and watches your reaction. Are you thankful and curious as you seek to connect the pieces? Or do you complain about how the puzzle seems confusing and unrealistic?
2. Know the Company Culture
If you wish to cultivate a positive personal relationship with the boss, don’t use self-limiting vocabulary, and never utter the phrase “I’m just in this for the money.” See Mr creativity emphasizes a unique company culture where people subject themselves to squeamish levels vulnerability by sharing raw content of their heart. He recruits for the dream team based on the joy voltage meter and degree to which people come alive on the job. Also, be mindful of pet peeves. Mr creativity does not have time for the conditional signature. If you agree to sign the contract only under the condition that “Ms inspirational feelings” sits around on site full time, this communicates neither dedication nor sincerity.
3. Arrive Early and with Coffee
Congratulations on the hire! After you’ve signed on with the company and start scheduling regular meetings with the boss, be warned. Mr Creativity is notorious for arriving at his appointments fifteen or more minutes late. It’s not that Mr Creativity doesn’t care about you, he’s just busy collecting information and schmoozing with big shot ideas. Now, no matter how stupid, alone, or unmotivated you feel, it would behoove you to stick around. He will get there—as soon as he untangles himself from the perceived paparazzi and critical voices—but it’s imperative that you show up first. Also, do bring coffee. A spiced up and caffeinated environment is Mr. Creativity’s natural habitat. Coffee motivates him to arrive promptly, and the meetings turn out much more fun.
4. Choose Present over Perfect
If you repeatedly skip appointments with the boss because you fear a project isn’t good enough, don’t expect premium employee benefits. Actually, you could get fired. Doubt, frustration, and internal resistance all exist as a normal part of the creative process. Some people go so far as to call the middle experience, it the dark night of the soul. I know, it feels terrible, but do not abandon ship. This is when it’s most important to keep going. If you wait for perfection and everything to make sense, you will never break through to the beauty on the other side. Instead, chose to show up again and again like a faithful apprentice, and Mr. Creativity will work overtime, to help you develop your ideas and master your craft. “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse will show up too.”– Isabelle Allende.
5. Be an Excellent Assistant
Anyone who has ever worked in an “assistant” type role understands that one of the most important parts of their job is to make the bosses job easier. Whether it’s schedule organization or dry clean suit pick up, the assistant removes the hiccups, to allow the boss to do their thing uninterrupted. Mr. Creativity works in the exact same way and nothing annoys him more than employees bringing petty logistical details—such as parking tickets or budget queries—to the meetings. Most the time he is a delight to work with, but when bogged down by disordered mundane tasks, Mr creativity grows so upset that he storms out of the premise, leaving you all alone with your fight or flight lizard brain to finish the rest of the project. Please, do Mr. Creativity a favor and take care of the basics so his brilliance can go to work.
6. Agree to be on Call
Today, “Work-life- balance” has become another popular catch phrase. I do agree with the important principles of self-care, and time management but Mr. Creativity just isn’t that kind of Boss. He seldom holds meetings in designated board rooms, and he certainly doesn’t operate within the limits of typical bank hours. Instead, he invites the dream team to stay on call and find meaning and interest in even the most ordinary things.
Dare to say yes, and watch what happens. Package bundles of ideas will land on your rooftop like Santa’s sleigh in the middle of the night. New recipe infusions will float into your mind while sitting in traffic. You might even find metaphors at the dentist. Although the interruptions will seem annoying or distracting at first, in due time you will never want to leave the company. Regardless of whether you strike it rich or never make a dime, a life of creativity is simply too much fun to pass up.