I sat at my office desk in 2014 pouring over notes I had filled my notebook with after a two day workshop for photographers. I was determined that the $1,200 I had spent would not go to waste and I was going to implement every single thing I had learned. Everything.
One of the new business management tips I had written down was this:
When you’re going through your emails, filter ones that don’t need immediate attention into a folder that you’ll respond to later. Then filter the important ones into another folder you’ll respond to sometime that day. Then respond to the urgent ones right away. This will keep your email management in order.
I very quickly learned that I just didn’t work that way. The messages that I put into each of those folders were lost and forgotten. Like that junk drawer in the kitchen… things go in and no one ever sees or hears from them again. So I changed it to something that fit me. I started living by the “Touch it once” rule. Any email I got, I was only going to touch once. I wasn’t a “Come back to it later” type person. I decided it would take me less time to reply to it on the spot than it would to filter it into a folder, come back later and reply then. Since then, my email management system has been fine.
Does it work for everyone? No. Some people probably really love the email folder filter system and some people have an entirely different system in place.
So I want to start today by saying that all rules are made up. What works for her might not work for you the same way. Knowing who you are and why you are the way you are is going to clear the path for you to shine in your creativity. Being able to say, “That won’t work for me” and know the “and here’s why” of it is endlessly valuable because then you can turn around and say “This is what WILL work for me.”
So to end this three part series on Creativity, I wanted to share three more ways to develop your creative muscle.
1. Ask yourself why all the time.
I’ll give you an easy one. Do you love going to Disneyland? Why? The cast members are SO nice, aren’t they? They go out of their way to create those extra little moments for you and it just makes you feel that Disney magic. It’s clean, there isn’t trash and gum everywhere. The details are absolutely incredible. The care that goes into creating window displays and keeping the plants manicured and creating the costumes, it’s impressive and sweeps you off your feet. Get into the details… every time you have an incredible experience, take inventory of why. Every time you have a bad experience, take inventory of why and spell out the details. As you do this, it will help you to know what will and won’t work for you and your business so you don’t have to weed through ideas and you can spend less time “testing waters.”
2. Dream and Daydream
Raffi and I do this often. When we don’t have anything in particular to talk about, we say “Let’s daydream.” Most recently we asked the question, “If we wanted to start an annual ‘Raffi and Denise’ party, what holiday would we build it around?” Our friends already have a Christmas party and we aren’t big on big New Year’s celebrations… President’s Day? Something ridiculous like Groundhog Day? We finally landed on Valentine’s Day. We gave ourselves a budget of $3,000 and started dreaming.
By the end of the conversation we decided our party would have:
•70’s style party food, including that weird jiggly bundt dessert
•A caricature artist
•Newly Wed style game
•A build a bouquet bar
•A make a Valentines Day card station with stamps and we all send one to someone we love.
•A photo booth where you slice a cake like it’s your wedding and feed each other
•Floating dates – A hired male model that will go be a stand in date for any single lady friends… but in a non creepy, but also super cheesy way. He’ll get them drinks, bring them flowers, etc.
•Karaoke with just love songs
•a raffle for a couples massage and dinner for two
•a champagne toast
•School Valentines as favors. Like, Spiderman themed.
•Kindergarten photos as their place settings
•An obvious singles table labeled “Obvious Singles Table”
•Proposals – everyone gets proposed to at this event, even if you’re already married, just propose again.
•A bar made to look like you’re mixing a love potion
•A violinist playing the wedding march as guests walk up the pathway to enter.
Dream and Daydream. Plan a trip to Europe you know you won’t be able to afford until you’re fifty. Plan a menu for a food truck you don’t really intend to open. What will be your food truck experience? Will the truck shoot bubbles out every time someone walks by? Will the menu items have ridiculously funny names? Will each person who orders get a tiny rose in a tiny cup to serve as a centerpiece on whatever picnic or break room table they plan to eat at?
You might be thinking, “So this is cute but it has absolutely nothing to do with my Yoga business…” If this is you, then I need to let you in on a big beautiful game changing secret: Creativity Here is Creativity There. Maybe daydreaming about a Valentine’s Day party gives you the idea for a bouquet bar which will actually be a gorgeous addition to the open house you’re hosting next month for your wedding planning business.
In a previous blog post called “Coming up with New Ideas for your Business,” I realized that when it came to my business, I kept my imagination blocked because I was terrified to mess up in an area where I really wanted to be perfect. When we concentrate on our business, that thing we take so incredibly seriously because we need it to feed our families and pay our mortgage, our brains shut down the fun part that allows us to dream and create. By moving to a different space say, a fantasy boutique on a boardwalk, a food truck we never intend to open, or a President’s Day party we don’t really plan to throw, we then move to a space where we don’t have any fear of failure. We move to a space where we don’t have any fear around creating and that is what will open the door to creativity.
3. The Best Ideas Will Come From You
I believe in investing in education. I believe in taking a course here and there, watching Ted Talks, listening to podcasts from people you admire, but all the best ideas that I’ve had have all come from me. From my own brain, created by my own experiences. The same will likely be true for you. Don’t get too caught up in what everyone else is doing. You can take what you know and love and believe and make it into something original and new.
Look for inspiration everywhere. All the best ideas are going to be yours. Just keep your eyes open and strengthen that creative muscle.
|Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris|
Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one of you. And there will never be another.