When we talk about how to be creative at work, it’s like opening up Pandora’s Box. There are, in fact, endless possibilities. I know it doesn’t often feel that way. I don’t know if you can relate, but I have worked many places in 3 different countries, and the social and work codes are almost always, that you must follow the rules. That you must do what everyone else does (even if you’ve been hired to do something else), because then we all speak the same language. So to speak.
That’s why it can be hard for highly creative people to get along with co-workers and bosses. Generally in my experience – but thankfully not always – it’s ok to come up with new ideas, as long as the right people like them. But if you are being too weird (read: creative) that’s less ok.
What is creativity?
I think creativity is our unique currency.
And I think to understand that, is step number one.
Because as much as it’s unique in you, it’s also unique in your co-workers.
And creativity is not a competition. It’s so definitely is not. No matter how many times and ways you get sucked into the comparison game. Comparison is a creativity killer.
Creativity is imagination. It’s creating new pathways in your brain, also called connecting the dots in a new way. And it’s very much experimenting, trying out what works and what doesn’t. You can translate that into making mistakes.
I kind of see being creative at work not so much the outcome, but more like taking risks and being brave. And kind. Kind to yourself and kind to the people you work with.
Being brave and taking the risk it is, to go in and ask your boss if you can try this new approach/thing you have come up with. And if you get a no, then just think of a different way to go about it. Don’t give up, just because everybody doesn’t think your idea is as brilliant as you do. Chances are, they probably won’t. And that’s ok.
Creativity doesn’t run on a schedule. It works all the time. It’s you!
How to be creative at work
Realizing that creativity is unique in all of us
Creativity is not a competition.
Creativity is making mistakes, and not everybody is going to like that.
Make those mistakes anyway.
As you can read, I’m not going to give you a list of real things you can do at your work. Because that would mean you don’t get to use your creativity. Creativity thrives in a work culture where it’s ok to make mistakes. And where it’s ok to try new things.
Sometimes it’s good to do things you don’t normally do. Let’s say you’re someone who talks a lot (ahem, that would be me) and then you decide to just listen all day. As much as it is possible, be a listener. Or the other way around. Maybe you are a quiet one. Surprise everyone and talk a lot one day.
I will leave you with a question you don’t have to answer now.
Just repeat it often and let your subconscious come up with an answer. It goes like this:
“How can you do things differently?”