If The Boss asked you to be on video right now, how would you feel? Terrified? Anxious? Nerve-wracked? Cool? Calm? Collected? Which set of feelings would you experience? Would you believe in your ability to figure things out?
The Boss asks us to do certain things that we may not desire to do. This list generally includes creative acts, such as: presenting to a group; talking to strangers; learning new software apps; being on video; cutting podcasts; writing; editing and reviewing works of others; making things from scratch; dealing with creative tampering. Some of these you may find painful in your day-to-day work. Others you likely excel at. When The Boss asks you to do one or two of these you don’t like to do, what do you do? How do you feel?
Self-Confidence is simply our belief in our ability to figure things out that we don’t know. A self-confident person doesn’t shy away from actions she doesn’t know or doesn’t yet understand. She realizes she simply has not had the experience to be great at it yet, but she has the patience and the belief in herself that with enough time and coaching and feedback and practice, she will get good very soon. In fact, with enough time, coaching, feedback, mentorship, and practice, she believes she can figure out and excel at just about anything you throw at her. She’s got the track record. She’s got the skills, many of which are transferable to other domains. In short, she’s got this and she’ll let you know.
Are you confident like our hero above? What if The Boss asked you to do one of those things above, would you react like our hero does? Would you believe in your ability to figure things out creatively? Or, would you choose to be terrified?
The only way to build on your creativity is to simply exercise it and practice it each day, just like muscles you want to build up in the gym. Your creativity benefits when you choose to get after it, engage it and play with it. You do certain things already that are creative acts and you likely don’t even acknowledge them.
For instance, do you write? Do you develop content? Do you take photos? Do you shoot video? Do you tell stories? Do you collaborate with others on a creative project, like a video series, ad campaign or other sales and marketing efforts? Do you sell? Do you solve problems? Are you in the field? If you do any of these things, you are performing creative acts. Now, you just need to leverage them and do them over and over and over again.
See, it isn’t as hard as you thought. You’re already doing them.
There is no need to be afraid of creativity. It isn’t reserved for the anointed few Creative types in marketing or design. It isn’t something conferred onto others like a Knighting. It isn’t something you seek permission to obtain. It is a choice. It is a discipline, a practice, an execution. It is something you claim as yours.
The Discipline of Design Thinking at the Stanford d.School
Take Design Thinking, which is a discipline taught at the Stanford School of Design or d.School. The d.School teaches that this way of thinking and problem solving is available to us all if we’d only take the time and effort to learn it. Creativity is open to us all if we are openminded enough to allow it and disciplined enough to practice it. And it ironically isn’t that hard. It is simply a new way of looking at things, of making connections, of creating the new from the ether. Design Thinking is open to us all. Design Thinking is open to you, too, if you are ready. Are you ready? Or, do you still feel unworthy?
Creative confidence is our belief in our ability to figure things out in a creative fashion. We problem-solve creatively. We attack the project from many different angles creatively. We pitch ideas creatively. We make the video series creatively. We write the blog post creatively. We tell stories creatively. We cut the podcast creatively. We develop the content creatively. And we do all these things as a matter of discipline. We wouldn’t think to not do them. Of course, we do them. We’re doing them right now, in fact.
Don’t be scared off. Don’t be so frightened to be frozen into position. Don’t disengage. Don’t say that you don’t have enough time. Don’t say that you’re too busy to do your most important work. Don’t worry about what the others think.
Instead, choose to engage. Choose to create. Choose to get after it. Choose to Go. Now.