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Do you wish you could bring more creative approaches to your events with greater consistency? Stop thinking that creativity is a mystical beast and start seeing it everywhere with these tips.
Creativity is the lifeblood of any event planners’ career. Without it, your events fall flat, your attendees are uninspired, and clients will go elsewhere. But creativity is not a mystical elixir. It’s not something that is served to some of us and not to others. Yes, some people do come by it more naturally than others, but creativity is a way of thinking, or a way of keeping doors wide open and inviting inspiration in.
How do you grab that inspiration when you’re just not feeling creative? On this blog, creativity is something we’ve profiled before in ways to crush a creative rut and ways to get the creative juices flowing.
The real way to capture the elusive creativity is by downgrading it from mythical unicorn to the workhorse of the event planning industry. It’s not something we need to look for under rainbows but one that is awaiting us in a quiet field by a roadside on our way to work. Here are 10 other unlikely places to find creative inspiration.
- A History Book. Yes, historic eras are great for themed events but there’s no better way to start seeing an interconnection in the world than by reading history. Once you do, you can cultivate a way of looking at connections. Looking for connections will help you grow your creativity “muscle.”
- An Airport. Everyone has a story at an airport. You’ll see joy, tears, and indifference. You’ll watch relationships that are thriving and ones that are circling the drain. Imagine these stories. Try to figure out the pieces. Stretch that creative muscle.
- An Airplane. Maybe it’s being sandwiched between strangers or the oxygen that’s piped through the cabin but I always have business ideas on planes. Before getting on, tell yourself that someone on the plane has a message for you. Then be open. It may be a direct conversation or something you overhear but be prepared to hear it.
- An Elementary School Classroom. We learn early to color inside of the lines so the younger the grade you visit, the better. Ask a kid to describe the most amazing birthday party ever and see if their dreams, spawn something in your mind.
- Dreams. Okay, this is not exactly an unlikely place but most of us simply aren’t ready to capture what we see and feel in dreams. Yet they are perfect for inspiration when it comes to themes, decor, and solving problems. The sewing machine needle and the idea on how it was threaded was allegedly a product of a dream.
- Exhaustion. Burn the midnight oil, run yourself ragged, and then sit still for a moment. As a child did you ever spin around in a circle and then stop quickly? You likely staggered and then dropped to the ground giggling. It made you feel dizzy and see the world in a different way. Arianna Huffington can say all she wants about sleep and its benefits, but sleep deprivation brings on really exciting, crazy thoughts, and minimizes the volume of your inner filter. You know that voice that tells you something is never going to work? Whatever you do, use a voice recorder or write down your ideas as they come to you because there’s no way you’ll remember them in the morning.
- Crappy Ideaville. We’ve all visited this place. You may know people who seem to permanently reside there, but sometimes you need to treat every one of your crappy ideas as if you were the mother seeing your child’s artwork after the first day of school. Yes, it might be a mess but there just may be something wonderful in there. Creative people don’t censor their ideas when they are still in the idea stage. They capture them and explore them, taking occasional trips to Crappy Ideaville and enjoying it, like the person who came up with Sharknado.
- Regular Exercise. First, creativity is a muscle that must be exercised. It can be built and it can atrophy from non-use, so it makes sense that you can find it while exercising. A study from the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience has found that athletes (or people who worked out consistently) did better on the convergent-thinking assessment.
- Messy Workspaces. Stop organizing that desk! Working in a messy environment has been found to nurture a need to try new things and is generally a more innovative environment. In a study published in Psychological Science, in three different types of tests people in messy rooms gave more creative answers. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found cluttered workspaces enhance problem-solving abilities.
- The Question and the Habit. Four-year-olds love questions and they’re never satisfied with “Because I said so.” Spend some time asking “why?” to everything and see what new thoughts it brings to mind. Or have a day where you can’t do anything the same. For instance, you have to find a new way to work or you have to eat dinner at a different time. If you do something every day the same way, switch it up. Make notes on your new perspective and what you’ve found.
The thing that is so frustrating about creativity is that we have made it seem untouchable. “The Muses inspire creativity.” “I’m not a creative person.” “She’s a creative person.” “I wish I was more creative.” All of these laments place creativity just outside of our grasp or in the hands of other people. We make it a mythical unicorn that stays out of our reach or spends fleeting moments with us before it rides off into the rainbow. Instead, we need to look at creativity as an ordinary act of thinking, a skill we can all obtain and grow because inspiration is everywhere.
Creativity is a muscle that can be shaped and built by working with it and dedicating time to its development. Creativity doesn’t belong to just artists and writers and it doesn’t dry up. The only sacrifice creativity requires is a dedication to it and a promise not to squelch an idea before it’s fully born. When you start seeing creativity as a natural part of your life, you’ll start experiencing a greater richness. Now go do some heavy creative lifting!