“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
Who doesn’t want more creativity in their life?
As entrepreneurs, we are quite literally creators – we created our businesses, we create our products and programs, we create our daily schedule, our income, our message… We are the genesis of it all.
So creativity, in many respects, is our lifeblood. It is our ideas, our inspirations, our visions – all the things that lead to our output, and (ultimately) to our livelihood.
So how can we get more of it? How can we ensure that our creative cogs keep cranking, even when we’re not feeling our best? And what can we do to increase the likelihood that the ideas we’re coming up with are of the highest quality?
Today I’m sharing my top 9 tips for how to be more creative as an entrepreneur… Enjoy!
1. Learn as much as you can about creativity and the creative process.
There’s a whole lot of myth, stigma and dogma around the creative process. Western culture has perpetrated many limiting beliefs around it – just look at clichés like the ‘tortured genius’ or the ‘starving artist’ or the ‘crazy professor’ – we have a deep, archetypal current of negativity in our culture when it comes to creativity and innovation.
But, of course, these stereotypes do not need to apply to you. Or any of us, in fact.
Reading about the healthy, life-affirming, joyful side of the creative process is essential for opening ourselves up to this positive force in a constructive, nourishing way. It’s also a powerful way to juice up our own personal levels of creativity.
One of the best books I’ve read recently was Elizabeth Gilbert’s excellent ‘Big Magic’. If you haven’t read it yet,
walk skip run to your nearest book store and get yourself a copy. It’s one of the warmest, most inspiring, most fear-dispersing books I’ve read in years – and I’ve used a bunch of quotes from it throughout this article.
My other top recommendations include:
‘The Creative Habit’, by Twyla Tharp
‘The War of Art’, by Steven Pressfield
‘The Artist’s Way’, by Julia Cameron
‘Steal Like an Artist’, by Austin Kleon
And ‘Daily Rituals’, by Mason Currey
2. Maintain your instrument.
By this, I mean that to be your best creatively, you must be looking after yourself. You need to be well fed, well rested, well hydrated… basically just well, in every sense of the word.
Which means you need to be doing all those ‘boring’, ‘unsexy’ things that you know you should be – like going to bed on time, not drinking too much coffee, eating 5 serves of veggies, and drinking 8 glasses of water.
Though these kinds of things may seem ‘old hat’, they’re not just repeated by health practitioners for the hell of it. They will actually, literally help you to embody the wellness required to function at a high level – and by extension, to be creative at a high level.
3. Get thy butt moving.
Ever read the book ‘Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’, by John Ratey?
Again, if you haven’t,
walk skip run to your nearest book store (which, incidentally, is an activity the author would highly encourage!) and nab yourself a copy.
There is sooo much research on the powerful effect of exercise on the brain – on our memory, on our stress levels, on our mental performance, and yes, on our creativity. This book presents the compelling science behind this physiological mechanism in the most entertaining (not to mention inspiring) way I’ve ever read.
(It’s the kind of book where you’ll read a chapter, then get so inspired you put it down and go to the gym.)
From the book:
“Cognitive flexibility is an important executive function that reflects our ability to shift thinking and to produce a steady flow of creative thoughts and answers as opposed to a regurgitation of the usual responses. The trait correlates with high-performance levels in intellectually demanding jobs. So if you have an important afternoon brainstorming session scheduled, going for a short, intense run during lunchtime is a smart idea.”
Translation: Exercise is excellent for creativity. So get thy tush moving!
4. Embrace the intuitive side of creativity.
‘I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.’
– Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein – one of the greatest creative minds the world has ever seen – relied on his intuition a lot. He even went so far as to say, ‘The only real valuable thing is intuition.’
But how do we use and strengthen this intangible part of ourselves, when it can be so difficult to pin down or comprehend?
Your answer may be different to mine (and I encourage you to find what works best for you) but my answer is simple: spiritual practice.
For me that means oracle cards. Crystals. Meditation. Kinesiology… They’re all SUCH powerful tools that help me tune into my intuition, which – in turn – helps me to hone in on better ideas and open myself up to divine inspiration.
Obviously, you have to find the things that make YOU feel the most connected with your source and the Universe at large. But once you find a tool or activity that does? Commit to a regular practice, and use it to fortify your intuition as often as possible.
5. Embrace the deliberate side of creativity.
Many people think that we have no control over the actual process of generating ideas and creative thoughts. They think that it’s a completely mystical process, and if the ‘muse’ happens to be on our side that day, we might get blessed with a great idea. But if not… well, too bad, so sad.
I’ve never liked this paradigm of passivity. And it’s never been the way that I run my business or come up with my product ideas. (Sitting around waiting for an idea to strike is not my idea of fun. It’s also not overly conducive to a successful business…)
The truth is, just as there are plenty of right-brained, intuitive, ‘woo-woo’ activities that can encourage creativity, there are also plenty of left-brain ones – I’m talking about the strategies, techniques, devices and mental representations that can help you take control of the inspiration process and influence the quality of the ideas that come out the other end.
These types of tools have always played an important role in my creative process, and have helped me get the idea-juices flowing whenever I’ve felt stilted or stuck.
6. Give yourself as much internal space as possible.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
To uncover the creative jewels within you, it is imperative to give yourself the internal space and stillness that allows your thoughts to coalesce, and inspiration to take root.
Activities that can help you cultivate this inner space include: meditation, long walks, baths, colouring in, swimming, yoga, painting… basically anything which calms the ‘monkey mind’ and allows you to lose yourself in the flow.
(Want further proof on the power of space? There’s a reason why everyone has such great ideas in the shower – it’s because for most people, it’s the first time we’ve allowed our brains a proper break all day!)
7. Feed yourself as much creative fuel as possible
This is the flipside to the point above. As well as cultivating internal space, it’s essential to also fill yourself up with high quality creative fuel.
What do I mean by this? Great books. Beautiful art. Interesting conversations. In-person events. Thought-provoking movies. Cutting edge articles. Challenging music. And poetry, of all sorts.
I’m talking about content that takes you outside your comfort zone – the stuff that you don’t normally read, watch, or listen to.
Creativity is all about connecting dots, so making sure your dots are as diverse and disparate as possible is a great way to ensure your thoughts and ideas are more creative.
8. Get outside
Revelling in nature is one of the most powerful ways there is to amp up your creativity and inspiration levels. So soak up as much of the outdoors as you can – whether that’s the beach, the mountains, the park down the road, or just the grass in your front yard… After all, Mother Nature is the ultimate creatress of the Universe.
9. The final guiding question to ask yourself…
This final question is, once again, from ‘my gal Liz’ (‘cos after this blog post, we’re totally on a first name basis! 😉
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
When it comes to the creative process, you must have faith. Trust in the journey. Be gentle with yourself. Practice compassion. Turn towards the sun. Have courage. Go the distance. And stay open.
Do all that, and the jewels inside you will be bursting to be brought forth, and it will be ‘big magic’ all around…
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A Post-Script on Creativity and e-Courses
Coming up with a creative idea for an e-Course can be tough.
Coming up with one that will also make a profit can feel close to impossible.
Some people find themselves with no ideas, some find themselves with too many ideas, and almost everyone struggles to determine which of their options will make the most money.
Because I know how tricky the process of coming up with ideas can be – and because I also know how much is riding on it – I’ve distilled my personal ideation process into an online training program – The e-Course Idea Generator.
This instant access program guides you through my proven step-by-step system for finding the right e-Course idea for you. It includes 5 hours’ worth of content – including PDFs, videos, and some ridiculously cool guided meditations.
Better yet, it encompasses both the deliberate AND the intuitive sides of the creative process, ensuring that you end up with an idea that is both ALIGNED (satisfying your right-brained, intuitive, sacred self) and PROFITABLE (satisfying your needs as a left-brained business owner who needs make enough money to buy
wine shoes crystals groceries 😉
There’s a very special early-bird offer on the table, where you can save yourself a cool 25% off the purchase price, but please note that this introductory offer is expiring very soon…
So if you want to create an e-Course – whether you’re ready to get started now, or you just know that it’s something you want to do one day – now is the perfect time to get the program and ensure that when you’re ready, you get the most important part right: the idea.
And when you find the right e-Course idea?
There are a few things you can count on:
Making something you’re passionate about.
Making an impact.
And making bank.