This weekend my best friend challenged me over a very large glass of wine about the term, the power, the rules and universal potential of “creative leadership”. The very big glass of wine is a lie, I am still breast feeding and had a smoothie. But in my imagination the glass was giant and red and helping me with very smart answers. It worked! A magic asset of creative leadership, perhaps? Anyway, our synthesis, high on greens, I want to share with you and hopefully inspire you to nurture just that: The Creative Leader inside of you. In my believe the biggest power ever.
Firstly “Creativity”.This beautiful term has one of the strangest perceptions in our society. Some believe creativity is bound to being artistically strong, drawing well, if not perfect or playing the piano just like Mozart could. Which ultimately leads to statements in my training sessions like: “Hedi, I am not creative! I can not draw!”
I think this perception is so dangerous. And so wrong. I am not the first to say: “Everyone is creative”. Creativity can be trained just like muscles can and below you find 3 power rules for activation.
And what about leadership?
Leadership is not managing. Not being perfectly organized nor controlling anything. Leadership is the equivalent to creating positive change, being visionary, fulfilled and motivated. Sounds big and audacious. It is just that. It is the activation of your inner power and becoming the leader of your live. In any category.
Creativity saved my life. Often. Still regularly does.
The last crisis I had, after over a decade of rushing through life, being an assistant to well-known artists and building up my own company, consulting high profile customers and this, at best, 6 days a week. Living in Berlin and traveling the world.
To … being happily pregnant, still dancing the stages and promising myself and everybody else: “I will be back in 3 months after the baby arrives”….
To… a big fat identity crisis when I held my baby in my arms. Suddenly, I loved being home, sitting on the sofa with my family, playing all day long. I got anxiety attacks thinking about being on the road again. Literally when seeing a train. It felt right but totally wrong at the same time. I turned the sentence in my head: “You need to proof to be an independent woman by working. Now!”
THE RULES – UNSTUCK YOURSELF
To get out of any dip of life, projects, younameit, here are my most beloved 3 rules, permissions, to change your life for the better. It helped me to create the life I never could imagine having. It’s not a myth, it’s a law.
1) Become a wisdom collector: Ask & listen.
The first sentence Wikipedia gives you about the term “Creative Leadership” is this: “It’s a style based upon the concept of working cooperatively to develop new ideas.” Ha. If you are stuck, don’t know who you are (anymore), what the next step in a project could be or how to move to an entire new business, strategy, or in my case an entire new life chapter?
Work in a team (this topic will have another blog article, too big, too important). And if you don’t have that, just ask around!
Consult your network, the network of your network. Create surveys, post questions on social media. Be the one asking and listening on parties. Get real and imaginary mentors (I have a couple of them and it works magic). Simply open your bag and collect as many pieces of wisdom you can!
It is my favorite strategy to get out of the question-mark-bubble and tap into human wisdom. Most people have experiences and strategies about what you are going through or where you want to go. And more than most people love sharing their knowledge. They are grateful for you asking them, because this way they can reflect and gain “AHAs” themselves. It is a joke how little we make use of this basic need of so many humans (including myself): Sharing and helping others with their challenges. Making a little difference at a time. A win, win.
Watch out: The more divers the people, hence answers you can gain, the smarter you get.
BTW: The biggest AHA I earned by asking high performance mums and dads during my process of collecting wisdom was that all struggle in one way or another. But feel as if they would be the only ones on the planet doing so.
Ok. Moving on.
2) Become your director: Spot the possibilities & take action
Creativity is the “phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.” (Wikipedia) And this is how you turn into the director of your life.
Shifting your focus is key.
From sitting in a rollercoaster, fully dependent on people who have created that fully automatic system. Possibly sick to your stomach but doing it just because…Or because this is how it has always been done.
To sitting behind the wheel of your dream car,the most beautiful vehicle. Driving through a magic scenery. And I deliberately say THROUGH scenery and not TO destination. Because the ride suddenly becomes so delicious, it is the destination.
That change of perspective is key and by the way one of THE MOST POWERFUL strategies to escape depression. You make a decision to turn your believe from “life, projects, whatever else happens TO me”.
To “I can create my life, project, whatever else. Step by step, here and now”.
It doesn’t mean you change everything overnight. It means you focus on solutions, options, possibilities. Rather than on problems and hurdles. Energy is energy. Wherever your attention flows that is where it is used. So rather use it to direct and move than to occupy your roller coaster seat.
- If you are not certain yet:
Write down what you want to get out of. (i.e. “My job sucks.”) Then turn it around (see next step)
- If you are certain:
Write down the destination you want to drive towards. Your vision or future goal. A positive, doable and concrete statement. (i.e. “My job is fulfilling and helping me grow on a daily basis.”)
Then answer these questions:
What can you do, in your own power, to make that happen? List 5-10 ideas.
Who can help you to achieve your destination or to speed up? List 1-5 people.
What is the next action step towards your goal? List 1-5 ideas, then prioritize.
How do you measure your own success? List 1-3 KPIs.
3) Become the Creative Leader: Experiment forward & inspire others
“A win anywhere is a win everywhere” (Anonymous)
Look at all your options and evaluate: What would be the “quick win”, the thing you can do immediately. And what / who can help long term to make the biggest change. Take one step at a time, evaluate, learn, possibly fail (that’s great because then you learn the most) and use all knowledge in your bag to become smarter, better and over time more and more successful.
To me “creative leadership” is not a safety net, because you tap into the unknown. But this unknown certainly is where magic happens. And when you keep on training your muscles opening (gaining options) and closing (making choices and moving forward) you become a surfer of your life and this, your, strategy becomes the best safety net you can have. Because you have the tools and mindset to deal with it and ultimately create.
This approach has turned my life into the best version I could possibly imagine. Inspiring others is the last rule for being a creative leader. I hope I was able to do that. Please let me know about your journey and share all your AHAs in the comment section below. Who knows who will need exactly that?!
Create on and inspire the world!