Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Power of the Hive: How a Mastermind Group Can Get the Creativity Flowing

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, a mom, or the CEO of a major corporation.  Sometimes you just can't find the motivation to think outside the box or be the least bit creative. It's times like this that you need to seek some inspiration from others, and one way to do that is by being a part of a mastermind group. 

While we all know the benefits of being a part of a mastermind, especially if you’re a business owner, what you may not realize is how those benefits translate into improved creativity in all aspects of your life.

Benefit #1 - Creative Ideas from Others

Sometimes you just get in a rut and don't feel creative at all. That's when you go to your mastermind group and draw on their creativity. Let them know what you're working on and ask for their ideas and thoughts about it. Soon you'll probably have more ideas than you know what to do with and sometimes just one comment from someone else is all it takes to turn your creative thinking back on.

Benefit #2 - You're Pushed to Think Bigger

When you're a part of mastermind group, people will challenge you to think bigger than you've probably ever thought before. They're going to encourage you step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself to reach for bigger and better things. And if you're going to be thinking big, it's going to require you to use your creativity and think outside the box.

Benefit #3 - Partnering with Others

One of the biggest benefits to being part of a mastermind group is that you'll get to know those in the group with you, and you’ll start building relationships with them. As time goes on, you may find someone you want to partner with on a project or someone else might approach you about partnering with them. It's a win/win situation as long as the both of you do your fair share of the work. Even better, you’ll experience how the other person thinks and works, which will in turn encourage you to think differently – otherwise known as “be creative.”

Benefit #4 - Brainstorming

When you work for yourself, there isn't anything much worse than getting stuck and not knowing how to move forward. But if you're part of a mastermind group, you’ll be able to go to the group and brainstorm ideas with them. Let them tap into their creative thinking skills and knowledge to help you get unstuck and moving forward again.

These four benefits are definitely not an exhaustive list of reasons to join a mastermind group, but they do show you how being a part of a mastermind can kick start your own creativity. Simply by discussing ideas with others in your peer group, you’ll discover new and different ways of approaching and solving problems, and that is the biggest benefit of all.

Monday, August 24, 2015

You Can’t Force Creativity: Know When to Work and When to Stop

When it comes to creativity, while there are courses and books out there about it, you don't have to pay top dollar to take a course or buy self-help books. Sure those aren't bad things but creativity is such an individual experience, it's something you can develop and practice on your own. And just like the other muscles in your body, your brain is a muscle that needs to be worked too. There are many different things you can do to get your creative juices flowing, but here’s the most important tip: know when to stop working. 

For example, imagine you’re working on a project that requires a bit of creativity. Maybe you’re writing an ebook or a series of blog posts, or maybe you’re designing a new website. With the deadline looming you may think that you have to work 24/7 (figuratively speaking of course), keeping your head down and just powering through it to get it all done.
That’s how many of us tackle projects, but it may actually be the worst thing for you when it comes to creative work. Let's face it, if you're not feeling creative you're going to end up staring at a blank page, which will only stress you out even more. Forcing creativity rarely works.

Instead, learn to recognize the signals that it might be time to stop work for the day. As mentioned above, if you're not feeling creative it’s not something you can just force to happen. You have to learn to listen to your intuition and if you're feeling stuck, take a break and walk away for a bit. In fact, you may even find it’s during that break that your creativity starts flowing and you come up with a great new idea for that project. It also works the other way, too. If your intuition is telling you that you're about to have a breakthrough and come up with the creativity you need to finish the project, then keep on working.
What if you don’t have a project with a deadline, though? Maybe you just want to develop your creative side. The same rules apply. You cannot force yourself to get the creative juices flowing. If you've been starting a blank document on your computer monitor for 30 minutes, chances are you need to get up and walk away. Or maybe you can take a few minutes to just start writing and see what happens. Sometimes that can do the trick and trigger your creativity. You know yourself best so learn to listen to your intuition and work with yourself instead of against yourself.

While you can practice and develop your creativity, and you can train yourself to be creative on demand, part of that training is learning when to step away. By listening to that inner voice and recognizing the signs that you may be stuck, you’ll find it much easier to produce creative works.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Boost Your Creativity for Better Business

Creativity is all around us and each of us has the ability to be creative - it's just a part of who we are. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes it doesn't. If the latter is the case for you and creativity seems challenging, it doesn't have to be. All you need to do is train yourself to be creative and you'd be surprised that it can be as simple as practicing your powers of observation and becoming better aware of your surroundings.
Here are some tips you can try that will help you improve your observation skills that will in turn help improve your creative skills.

Pay attention to details - this one requires you to slow down and be mindful about what you're doing and where you are. For example, when you get dressed, pay attention to what you do first, second and so on. When you leave your house, look at and notice the color of the door. Little things like this will help you learn to be present in the moment, no matter what you're doing and this can carry over into creativity. When you're mindful of what you're doing, you see things in a different light and your creativity begins to come alive.
Do something different - sometimes all it takes to not only hone your observation skills, but to also get the creative juices flowing, is to simply take the time to do something different. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate like running off and taking an exotic vacation, though. It can be something as simple as visiting a new place locally you've never seen before. When you do something new, you're more aware of what's going on around you because you're paying closer attention while observing what it is you see, smell, hear, feel and taste. 

Go to a park, coffee shop or some other public place with a pen and notepad - this one is fun because people watching can be very interesting. Set aside some time to head to a nearby park (or anywhere public) and observe those around you. Pay attention to how they walk, what they're wearing, and how they interact with others.
As you observe them, begin to write down different details. Pay attention to your senses and write about things you see, hear and smell. Don't spend too much time thinking, just write whatever pops into your head. Again, not only does this help you improve your observation skills, it helps you learn to focus and be mindful of what's going on around you. And as you do this exercise and begin writing, you'll start using those creative thinking brain muscles that need to be exercised.

Being mindful and observant is a skill we can all improve upon. Too often we go through life missing many of the details, but if you make it a point to notice what’s happening around you, you’ll soon find many creative ways to use what you learn in your writing, artwork, or other creative endeavors.