I’m fed up with all this talk about new year, new me. Everyone rushing to the gym in an attempt to reinvent their bodies. I’m more interested in reinventing our creative thinking.
Looking fresh is all about an ongoing daily habit I have attempted to hone over the last few years. I have certainly not mastered it but my intentions are good and its paid me back in leaps and bounds.
Let me explain a little more. ‘Looking fresh’ is the ability to see things from different perspectives and open yourself up to new opportunities. Its imperative if you really want to problem solve in new ways and hence critical for creativity & innovation.
Looking with fresh eyes fills our brain with new stimuli. Then, we naturally call on them when seeking out new ways of doing things. I think of it as ‘food for the brain’.
We all tap into past experiences when faced with a challenge. So, the more diverse the experiences you have the greater your power to creatively problem solve. The truth is that we won’t get this diversity of experience by remaining at our desks, interacting with the same circle of people or sticking to our natural routines.
For me this this has been about forcing myself to say yes to opportunities that stretch and push me. I’m constantly reminding myself that saying YES will give me a fresh look at the world.
This daily habit meant that last year I travelled the equivalent of 1.5 times around the world visiting 31 cities over 9 countries: I said YES to go to take on work in Armenia, Moscow and Turkey, I said yes to tackle some big hairy challenges with clients, and I said yes to my daughter joining me in the company and came out the other side the better for all these experiences.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve called on these experiences to help others with a creative solution or used an example or story to help teams learn something new. One that I call to mind is sharing a story of how a Leadership team in Russia built their culture of trust and respect with a team in the US! Yes, it involved Vodka but the principles could be shared by all.
If you want to develop some fresh habits to boost your creative brain, here are my top 3 ways to get started:
- Interrogate your current habits – reflect on the routines and rituals that make up your week
- How many days a month do you spend out of the office, behind your desk, meeting new people?
- Do you travel to work the same way every day, watch, listen, read same news outlet?
- Do you tend to eat the same lunch everyday at the same place, sleep on the same side of the bed?
- What other routines do you have that you are ripe for disruption?
- Select one or two opportunities where you could easily disrupt the routine.
- It might be something as simple as brining lunch to work and sitting in the park to eat it.
- You might be more ambitious and choose to spend a % of your week working from another location or with customers!
- It might mean saying yes to that career opportunity that you’ve been reluctant to pursue.
- Start small and build the habit
While it may seem obvious, we all need to build-up our confidence and tolerance when making any changes. Choose something that’s relatively easy to begin with and then push yourself to get a little braver each week.
The bottom line is to go for it, you have nothing to lose and lots to gain. Who knows what will happen and who you will collide with when you change things up a little? May your new year be filled with new brain food and lots of exciting experiences to get more and more creative.