Updated: May 30, 2019
Growing up, I was always into drawing and painting. Large blank sheets of white paper were an opportunity for me to create and I would get lost for hours in my artistic creations. My mother was an artist, so I suppose my passion for art came from her.
When it came time to enter the workforce, get married and raise a family, my practice in art took a backseat. I stopped painting and found a new passion in the Learning and Development field. It provided the creative outlet I needed to design and deliver something to help others learn, develop and grow in their own careers.
Recently, I’ve turned back to my love of art in the practice of graphic facilitation or graphic recording. For me, it’s the perfect way to express myself creatively while learning something new. I don’t just take notes anymore. I take “visual notes” to help me retain the information in a more creative way. Graphic recording helps me focus deeply on the topic, connect the dots and feed my artistic soul.
When I explain this kind of work to people, the most common response I get from them is “Oh, I’m not creative at all. I can barely draw a stick man!” If you have said this before, I want to challenge your thinking on what it actually means to be creative, because artistic creativity is only one skill among many creative skills.
At work, your creative side may show up here:
Looking at a problem from multiple angles before solving it
Creating a strategic action plan, including a vision, milestones and measures of success
Ability to listen actively and ask the right questions
Thinking of an idea no one else has considered before
At home, your creative side may show up here:
Listening to music while you read or work because it helps you focus
Thinking through a big problem while out on a run
Helping your kids out with their science projects
Keeping a journal of your thoughts, goals and dreams
Do you recognize yourself in any of the examples above? If you want to ignite more creativity in your life, here are a few easy tips:
Force yourself to look at things from multiple perspectives. How would a 6-year old look at this? How would your boss look at this?
Find relationships in things that are not immediately similar. What does a banana and a coffee table have in common? How are gym shoes and your car alike? This exercise may sound silly, but it challenges your brain and stimulates the creative process.
Be open to all possibilities. There is always more than one answer to a problem. Try to come up with 5-10 answers or ideas to every problem (even if they seem outrageous or impossible).
Watch a comedy.Laughing helps you think more broadly and understand complex relationships better.
Learn how to Mind Map: A unique way to problem solve, connect ideas and promote non-linear thinking. Here is a very simple video on how to do it: https://youtu.be/Jb3LJNSycaM
Since reconnecting with my creative side through art and graphic recording, I feel more energized and open to new and exciting possibilities to every decision I make, every day. If you feel closed, blocked in your thinking or just overwhelmed, I encourage you to give your brain some creative exercise like the ideas suggested above.
How do you get into creative mode? I would love to hear your thoughts.