Writers around the world often experience a dip in creativity called writer’s block – an inability to find inspiration and progress their story organically. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the literary world, a lack of creativity is something that everyone is impacted by at some point in their life.
The stresses of running a business can often stifle creativity as you struggle to balance all the plates. inspiration can quickly be neglected in the face of an unbalanced book or the challenge of scaling your business.
Creativity and innovation are becoming the distinguishing factors for success in a world that is characterised by change, uncertainty and complexity.
So what is the solution?
Taking a step back and considering your mind can help set things back into perspective when the whirlwind of business management seems too much.
Using mindfulness in your business can help foster innovation and creativity and set you apart from your competitors.
Palma Michel, author of The Authority Guide to Mindful Leadership, suggests five practical ways to use mindfulness to create a culture for creativity to flourish:
“Asking questions is an easy way to bring curiosity to any situation. Don’t assume you know the answer or something is a given, but continuously ask questions and challenge your assumptions. Mindfulness practice encourages openness and curiosity to what is arising in the present moment.”
You might consider enlisting the help of a friend or colleague to help you discuss ideas and inspire the creative juices to flow when you hit a brick wall. Alternatively, the internet provides many outlets to discuss problems, like Twitter. if you aren’t on social media, the cathartic sense of community can help you find the solution.
Process-orientation over results orientation.
“Instead of just being focused on the end-goal, get interested in the process and see what you can learn from it. Continue asking questions throughout the process and not just afterwards. Practicing mindfulness naturally instills a process rather than an outcome orientation as the focus is on our experience in the present moment without being fixed on a particular outcome.”
Taking note of how you feel and breaking down a task at hand can help shrink the size of the problem. Take some time out each day to think about your project and write down a list of tasks that need to be done. Apps like Wunderlist are great for helping you to compartmentalise.
Manage your triggers
“Whenever there is uncertainty, we are dealing with the unknown or there are setbacks, there is a tendency for people to get triggered and into “caveman” territory. If you feel this happening take a few conscious breaths through your nostrils, inhaling deeply all the way into your abdomen. Exhale through your mouth with pursed lips. Count to two on your inhale and elongate your exhale by counting to four. The key is to make your exhale slightly longer than your inhale.”
Breathing exercises are a great outlet for stress and will help boost your creativity. Apps like Headspace can give you meditation techniques to teach you how to breath and generate creativity.
“Google recently looked at what makes the best-performing teams and the result was everyone having an equal turn in conversation, no one shutting other people down and different opinions are appreciated. The next time you have a meeting, try to give your full attention to the speaker and listen to them with compassion and openness.
“If your mind wanders off or you are catching yourself already rehearsing your next question, bring your attention back to the speaker. Try to be open and interested in what they are saying. When they stop talking, ask them an open question such as “tell me more about it” or “what do you think” and resist the urge to immediately share your opinion.”
“The skills of a team or group of people are always better than the individual qualities added together. So, notice if you have a tendency of wanting to control everything and everyone around you. Mindfulness practice encourages letting go, by observing what arises in the present moment, without being attached to it.”
By following these steps to mindfulness you can create a culture within which creativity will flourish, ensuring that your team remains flexible and able to innovate as the world changes.