Updated: Oct 15, 2019
How many of you turn to Google as your creative muse? You need to come up with a new idea or it's time to reboot an existing one and before you think of your own ideas, you open Google. It seems easier to let Google do the heavy lifting and let you peek into the windows of what everyone else doing....right? Well it's maybe easier but not better.
How do you come up with truly innovative ideas if you start building from everyone elses' ideas first? Do you think that's what Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci or Nikola Tesla did? Uh....probably not.
Sparks of inspiration can come from research but true creativity & innovation comes from getting out of the research mode and getting into your own mode. I find I’m my most creative in business when I stop reading about business or even thinking about business. It’s when my mind is relaxed from the planning, strategizing and hustling that the most creative ideas pop in my head.
“Innovation happens when we free our mind from needing to obey everyone else’s rules.” –Shari Kingston Adams
When I stop “trying” to be creative and visionary, I become creative and visionary. Most of us spend the prime hours of our day with our heads down in the weeds doing the mundane--innovating nothing. Then when the rest of the world is home binge watching their favorite show we’re still obsessing over our website, our vision, marketing, sales or the impending dome we might face next week in a presentation.
In our information over-polluted world it’s hard to get away from all the noise and just listen to our own sparks of innovation and creativity. To find your creativity you must turn off the noise, obsessing, looking at everyone else--even your heroes. You can't create your own masterpiece if you keep looking over at other peoples' masterpieces.
I’ve learned that when I go on a walk, go out in nature, go window shopping or even go on a drive, this frees my mind to wander, meander and explore. I gain ideas and inspiration from the environment around me. I don’t have an agenda instead I just allow myself to be in the moment. Authentic inspiration demands that we hit PAUSE and be alone with ourselves-- the great thinkers & inventors of our time needed this also. The only catch is we don’t do this with the intention that we will come up with awe-inspiring ideas every time. Ugh! that seems so unproductive right? Wrong!
Hiding from my business, clients and to-do list for an hour or a couple days allows the light back in. It softens my thoughts and reconnects me to Providence.
Sometimes I never leave my office but I’ll watch a documentary on an artist or black holes in the universe. We need moments to remind ourselves that the world is much bigger and deeper than our business. This is why I find inspiration from concepts completely outside of business, like art, science, faith and history. We have so many amazing people that have lived over the past 2000+ years —yet in popular business & culture we naively only focus on people who’ve lived in the past 20-50 years. When I mention this to business friends they usually say they only have time to read about their industry. What a shame. So much is missed when you only make time for your familiar and predictable world. Imagine the creativity, new ideas and inspiration they could gain from a philosopher or an artist. We look at business so literal. Business can be art, science or even philosophy yet we only see it in black and white—money, marketing and competition. Most “hustlers in business” don’t see inspiration outside of their business world, yet I see inspiration for my business everywhere.
I think the people who see and feel their business like an artist feels their work has the ability to uncover more creative ideas, solutions and inventions. If you want a business that doesn’t look & feel like everyone else, you have to unleash your ability to be creative and find inspiration in many parts of our world—instead of just Google.