A workshop participant once said to me, “Jeff, we’re living in the days of the Jetsons, but we’re serving our customers, like the days of the Flintstones.”
There’s always a better way. Your challenge, is to find it.
Here are nine creative strategies:
- To boost your brain…
- To crank your cranium…
- To turn creativity into cash…
- To convert possibilities into profit!
1. BE ON THE PROWL
Read. Then read some more. Especially, outside your area of expertise or traditional areas of interest. Head to a bookstore or newsstand and buy a book or magazine, where you might exclaim, “I can’t believe I’m buying this!” Or hop online and surf the web. Ride the wave of wonder. Give
yourself permission to bust beyond your perceived boundaries. Seek fresh content. Open your eyes to new stuff. Play with the possibilities.
Several years ago, as part of a project for a new series of books, I was stumped. My creative inspiration for an impactful logo was frozen in futility. When my graphic designer kept asking, “What do you envision?,” I’d reply,
“Ain’t sure. Still thinking. Still looking.”
And then, one memorable night, I received the lightning bolt of inspiration I was waiting for. Where did it come from? One of my kid’s magazines. With the turn of a page, boom, there it was! A publication geared to eleven and twelve-year-olds stirred my creative juices. (Okay, so maybe I think and act like their target audience, but that’s a discussion for another book or therapy session!)
2. STARE WITH YOUR EARS, LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES
While focus is crucial, be sure to still look in all directions. Pay attention to the world around you. There’s lots of cool stuff happening! Look at billboards and signs. Walk into stores you’ve never visited before. Politely eavesdrop on conversations. Take a different route from point A to B. Then wonder, “Whooa, when did they build that?! Where did that come from?” See new things.
When you’re at an airport, a mall, a restaurant, activate all your senses. Look. Listen. Smell. Be ready and receptive to discover and uncover the possibilities. Because some times, they sneak up on you.
The inspiration for my Carpe A.M. • Carpe P.M. – Seize Your Destiny™ book title, came from a passing bus billboard, promoting a discotheque in Florida.
3. KEEP IT
When an idea hits you, capture it. NOW! Don’t lose it. Mumble into a recorder or smartphone. Send yourself an e-mail. Leave yourself a voice mail. Write it down. (I keep paper and pencil; in my car, next to my bed, in the bathroom, near the treadmill, etc.)
Start a file, (either hardcopy or electronic), for your ideas, then categorize them, i.e., new products, new services, new clients, new strategies, etc.
The idea hits you, cool! You wrote it down, excellent. Now, forget about it. For an hour or a day. Get a good night’s rest. Sleep on it. Let your subconscious kick-in.
Time, is a miraculous contributor to upgrades and improvements. It brings clarity. Use time to your advantage.
5. SEEK OUTSIDE COUNSEL
Ask others for their input. Capitalize on multiple brain-power. Remember, “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” Or to state it another way, “When two people are always in agreement, one of them ain’t necessary.”
6. GET ABSTRACT
Let the bizarre, absurd or goofy creep into your thought process. Defy the rules of conformity. I’ve always believed, if enough people tell you you’re nuts, you’re probably headed in the right direction!
7. TRUST YOUR GUT
That strange, quirky sensation that stirs in your tummy is usually right. Listen to it. Trust your instincts. Don’t let your intuition lose to the cynics or voices of logical debate and doubt.
8. WATER IT AND WATCH IT GROW
Crank the H2O. Something miraculous happens near water. When I’m in the shower or shaving, my subconscious creativity is in turbo-drive. Let your mind wander. Often, the journey to greatness doesn’t take a straight or linear path. Let water unleash your creative spirit.
Nolan Bushnell entrepreneur and founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese once said, “Everyone who has taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.”
9. BE A DOER
Take action. Turn ideas into implementation. Inspiration into execution. There’s a big difference, between thinking and doing. As Ben Franklin once stated, “Well done is better than well said.”
And the best way to predict your future, is to create it!