Innovation is the mother of great ideas, products, services, technologies and processes. Creativity is the mother of innovation. Knowing that we must spark creativity to keep our lives and businesses fresh and new isn’t enough. We must act on this knowledge if we want innovation to pour forth.
Business owners often live in their head much of the day as they make decisions, think through processes, carry out tasks and keep up with email which doesn’t allow for much holistic creativity to flow. We need a way to incorporate creativity into every day life to keep our business fresh and innovative, while keeping up with the more left-brain (hemisphere) tasks that must also continue.
As an Expressive Arts Therapist, I have been trained to help individuals express deeply held emotions, beliefs and thoughts through art. In learning this healing modality, I learned the importance of keeping our creative selves alive and well. Without the more right-brained activities, we become stale, stiff, and we lose touch with the vitality and the art of innovation. If you will commit to choosing at least one of the following activities into your mornings, noons, and nights, you will notice your creativity begin to soar within just 3 or 4 days (perhaps even more quickly than that).
Here are five ways to spark creativity:
- Make a conscious connection with your body. Pause for five minutes and breathe, focus in on your body and scan your muscles, your heart and lungs for any perceived feelings. If you notice tight shoulders that feel like they are coming up to your ears – simply imagine breathing in a beautiful color and sending it to your shoulders to soothe, to calm and to renew all those related muscles, tissues, and cells. Connecting with your body in this conscious way activates centers in both hemispheres of your brain.
- Listen to classical music (or some other music that really inspires you). There has been a lot of research done related to the complex musical patterns in classical music (Beethoven, Vivaldi, Bach . . .) which activate centers in both hemispheres of the brain while stimulating I.Q. and the ability to concentrate.
- Draw something. Anything. Grab a crayon, a colored pencil, a chalk pastel and give yourself permission to doodle freely without judgment.
- Pray/meditate. Be sure to start your prayer or meditation with listing 5 things for which you are grateful. This stimulates optimism and gets the feel-good chemicals flowing in the brain which in turn stimulates creativity.
- Get out in nature. Research has shown us that simply looking out a window at nature is calming. Actually getting out in nature to look at a leaf up close, or to see the sky overhead, to hear birds chirping . . . these calm the heart rate, soothe the mind and will stimulate creativity.
We were never meant to live in just our left-brain hemisphere (live in our heads). We are whole people – made up of body, mind (soul) and spirit with a will, emotions and unseen spiritual forces that influence our lives. Giving ourselves permission to have fun and get creative will help us tend to all three aspects (mind, body, spirit).
There are some corporations that have created entire “innovation” departments to breed creativity and success. If you are a solopreneur, you are your own “innovation department” and you must learn to spark new ideas, new processes and new services on your own. The great news is – as you incorporate more creativity-inducing exercises into your day, you will also feel more content in your business, life and relationships. Have some fun – get creative and innovate your way to a better life.