Chief,cook and bottle washer that’s what we are as small business owners. We’re responsible for everything from sweeping floors, to hiring staff to choosing a logo design. How do we keep,it all balanced?
Most people automatically go to stress reducing activities like exercise. I agree with this as an option to decrease stress levels. But this requires a deeper solution, learning to flex your creativity muscle.When people hear the world creative they start to panic and look the other way, I can’t draw stick men. That’s not the only way to be creative, anything that challenges your thinking and comfort zone can be considered creative. Activities that help challenge your typical way of thinking are creative. Taking your natural path of making decisions and charting a new route.
My philosophy has always been “try another way”. If what you’ve been doing isn’t getting you where you want to be look at it from a different perspective. My best challenger and teacher for this was my blind/deaf dog, Chance. He was born this way and I adopted him at about one year old. Conventional training didn’t work for him. He could not hear my voice he could not see my body language. Together we tried many different techniques to get him to be a great companion. Chance challenged me creatively and because of him when I am challenged with a business decisions I recall the thought process I used when working with him. What works for one problem doesn’t always work for another.
Try these little techniques to dust off that paint brush in your brain
1. Use brainstorming. Not just your typical way but outside your comfort zone. Go to a different venue. A walk in the park or a museum. Sometimes just being in a new environment can get the creative muscle twitching.
2. Mind mapping. Putting the problem or task out in front and laying out a visual game plan.
3. Exercises that help you learn to think differently. Try these two challenges:
1. From the the book, Creative Confidence,by brothers Tom and David Kelley. The 30 Circle experiment, from the book. Short description: draw 30 circles on a page. Then take 1 minutes to draw something in as many of the 30 circles as you can. Then discuss the challenges and differences you came up with.
2. From Shawn Achors book Happiness Advantage is the coffee cup experiment. Here he simply asks you to draw a coffee cup. More often then not everyone draws it from the same perspective, from the side never the top. When we see how we always look at things the same it teaches us to start looking at things differently.
All of these techniques can be helpful as small business owners. When every day we are challenged to make decisions that may not be our expertise. “: Wherever you fall on the creative skill curve, half the battle is to resist judging yourself.”(Kelley David, Kelley, Tom, Creative Confidence, p 86) Learning to be creative can be done, it just needs to be practiced and soon it will be just as comfortable as walking.