Give Yourself License to be Creative

We are lucky in Whitehorse; there are testaments everywhere to the fact that our community values creativity.

There are several galleries, coffee shops and government buildings displaying an ever-changing array of artwork. Craft fairs abound and many Yukon musicians are spreading their works throughout the country.

It is easy for people who don’t create regularly or who don’t have their work on display as art to undervalue creative activities. Creativity is considered a recreational pursuit at best and, at worst, a waste of what could or should be productive time.

Creativity matters. What you, a business person, creates matters.

The most successful businesses in town are testaments to creativity.

The obvious is the advertising copy that catches the reader’s eye and creates a connection. Less obvious is the way an employee solves a delivery problem to one of your best customers or when you manage to get six things done on a day when you only had time to finish two. You did that by being creative.

When you accept that you are a creative person (you are!) and that what and how you create matters to your business, you give yourself permission to create. Once you have given yourself permission, it is like letting a bird out of a cage. It flies everywhere and anywhere.

The hardest thing for many people is taking the first steps on a creative project. It is the blank canvas that intimidates. What if I mess up? What if I’m going in the wrong direction?

Here is a helpful analogy: when a plane is flying from Whitehorse to Vancouver it is almost never flying directly toward Vancouver. It takes off and sets a heading for its destination, sure, but because of weather and other variables, it is constantly veering off course. The pilot regularly checks headings, each time making a course correction so that after two and a half hours the plane reaches Vancouver.

It is the same when you take a new or creative step in your businesses. After you have decided where you want to go, the key is to start taking action. Get your plane off the ground and set your heading.

Realizing that course corrections are possible along the way gives you permission to get started before everything is perfectly planned out. Creativity becomes key when you have begun your flight – your process toward your goal.

Having everything fully planned out before you get started also creates a divide between you and the process. Your focus is the steps as you have planned them rather than the end result. We’ve all seen examples of how that can get a project off course.

Having everything fully planned out ahead of time also yanks your permission to create along the way.

I have a challenge for you. Keep a creativity journal for a week. Every day, make note of any time you have been creative. It doesn’t have to be a life-altering invention, just any time you combine two separate ideas or thoughts in a new way to solve a problem, make a decision or look at something a different way.

Acknowledge and appreciate your creativity on a day-to-day basis and you will begin to see it expanding and creating your success.

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