Creative ideas come to you after you start. It is best to not wait for them to strike. It is better to strike first and then allow them to come to you. It is similar to building a prototype. You just want to get something done to a barely passable version 0.1. Get it done and get it out there for customer feedback. Leave the building and go and meet with customers. Let them tell you where you’re on the right path and where you’re not. Sometimes the creativity will spark from a discussion with a customer. Sometimes it takes a back-and-forth between the two of you to see things differently. We often get too close to our products and creations to really see them with fresh eyes. This is why others’ perspectives matter so much in the development process.
If we wait for creativity to hit us before we begin something, we may never begin. All great writers know this. You can’t wait for inspiration to hit — you’ve got deadlines to meet. Your creative inspiration hits you every morning at 5 AM and your work ethic carries you through for hours. Great writers aren’t waiting for anything. They’re making it happen through discipline and simply getting after it. They know to break their large writing assignments down into thoughtful, preplanned written sessions in order to knock out the big projects. They know there’s no time to waste and certainly no time to look and wait for creative inspiration. Rather, they create creative inspiration through doing. There isn’t any creative inspiration in waiting for it.
The strange, and perhaps ironic advice for anyone looking to start? Get in the game. Start the book. Start the blog. Record the video. Start the company. Begin the presentation. The weird / hard thing about starting is it can be a bit intimidating. There’s no following. There’s no fans. There’s an audience of 1 — you. It can be lonely. Just focus on helping people and being useful. Create content around that and be consistent in your creative work. Don’t make the mistake thinking you need fans or a larger audience in order to start. Simply start. Start helping people. You will start to build an audience. It doesn’t take long.
Long before he became a star, Tony Robbins took an NLP course. This was a multiday training that ended with a certification at the end of it. Legend has it that after only one day of training, Tony was so inspired by the new teaching and technologies that he didn’t want to wait for the certification. He told the instructors that there are people out there right now that need help — Let’s go help them now! His enthusiasm threw off the instructors, telling Robbins to relax and that he needed his certification before he left the training to help anyone. Robbins replied, Screw the certification! Let’s go help people! He didn’t wait. He went to a nearby restaurant and began helping. He learned enough and he acted to make himself helpful and useful to others.
See, there is no need to wait for credentials, for training, for certifications, for others’ approval before we start. This is a common mistake people make in waiting for the go-ahead from someone else, a perceived authority figure or approval, before they start. Like Robbins’ story teaches us, there is no need to wait. Just begin. Get after it. Go and help people. And begin building your reputation as a person of value who gets stuff done consistently.
If you’re focused and dedicated to your project, you’ll find that the creativity well doesn’t run dry. It keeps giving and giving and giving if you believe it does and you have set times during the day to work on your key creative projects. Creativity is abundance. It has no limits. Do not mistake that your access to it is finite. You choose to connect with it through set times and discipline. Every day from 5 AM to 7 AM, you work on your book or blog. You block time to create the prolific quality outputs that matter the most to your career.
Think about what will help you build influence. Claiming topic expertise and the outputs that surround it will boost it. People admire writers and thought leaders, folks who want to be on the cutting edge of their field. If you dedicate time to creating videos to complement your writings and other helpful material, this will also help to build your influence. If you become a known speaker on your topic, this may be the best way to get to the top of your space of expertise. People admire speakers, even root for them. They pay good money to see them speak and listen to what they say.
Note how creativity surrounds all of these actions. Speaking requires creative thought, delivery and presentation skills. Writing requires daily discipline and time blocks. Video requires editing skills, extemporaneous speaking skills (if no script), and the ability to withstand seeing and hearing oneself on camera in HD, which is no small feat for most. You can be a band of one and pull these things off. It takes disciplined creativity, but it can be done.
One of the main keys to this success in influence? Consistency. You gotta keep at it. There’s always something to be working on. There’s always a need for another time block. There’s always another video. There’s always another blog post. There’s always another interview. No one thing will make you or break you. It is the consistent actions taken over time that will boost your influence.