There are a lot of myths related to creativity. You don’t need to be a musician or an artist to be creative. Creativity is much broader than that. Creativity can be expressed with different forms of art but creativity is not art – it’s a mindset. Creativity is especially impactful in surroundings that are not naturally seen as creative because the impact of finding your kind of creativity is even more significant when it adds on a particular unexpected layer.
You might feel that creating change isn’t possible for you, but that’s not true. A lot of people are held back and not bringing the creative spark into their lives because of more or less imaginary obstacles. I want to help you to see that all of this is possible. Ignoring or overcoming the barriers will help you to not only change your life but impact the lives of many others.
Myth 1. This is only possible for people with special creative skills, and I am not creative.
There is no such thing as creative or non-creative people,
only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.
You might not score high in creativity and imagination in a personality test like WorkplaceBig Five / Big Five or Enneagram but be able to be creative despite of that. When you are curious and operate through your strengths with ease, believing that you can do it, a change is possible. Start by seeing the possibilities instead of the obstacles and feel the bubbly energy of creativity. It is in you. It may require some digging to truly feel it and make it real, but it is in you.
Myth 2. It requires a lot of money to create inspiring events and creative things.
Many of the biggest projects I did had zero budget. The key is to find collaboration partners who are willing to give their expertise or to sponsor or sell their services or products. It is interesting what you can receive by just bravely asking. If you can paint a vivid picture of something that is about to take place, many people will want to be involved. If you have a great cause or purpose for your actions, you will be surprised at how easy it is to involve people.
When organising Children’s Dream events in my neighbourhood, I got everyone involved when I asked. I even got someone to compose a song for the event just by asking if he would like to do it.
When organising fascinating events in my violin shop gallery, I have brought together interesting people in a unique space. I didn’t need to pay for food for the event because we had a pop-up restaurant each time, and the pop-up restaurant sold the food there. It brought a special extra element to the event, but it didn’t require any investment on my part. We have also brought in a pop-up flower shop, jewellery shop, barbershop, fashion show etc. and all of these elements brought excitement to the events but didn’t cost us any money.
At a big IT company where I worked, we gathered together a network of internal coaches and created a massive coaching program that had a big impact, also without hiring external coaches. The price was the time put in, but bringing together coaches from Finland, Sweden, The Czech Republic, Latvia and India created a big impact on the organisation. With the leadership teams, we utilised also external coaches.
A lot of marketing can today be done for free on social media platforms. We have new tools to use that helped us do marketing for the right target groups, either for free or at a low cost. And utilising AI tools can give a significant help in generating ads or other marketing content.
When thinking out of the box, a lot can be done, either totally without cost or with low cost.
Myth 3. It requires a special time and place to be creative and I don’t have the time.
One of the biggest myths related to creativity is that everything creative requires a special calm time and place for it. That can feel depressing if you are not in a state of mind or place in your life where you have time for calm creating either because of too much work, small children, worries or something else that is distracting your peace.
Actually creativity thrives many times in pressure and in difficult situations. My publisher Leila Green, who eventually wasn’t part of the publishing process as she gave birth to triplets (!), wrote one year after the birth of her triplets that the first year as a triplet mum made her more creative. Hell yes! You have to. My husband upgraded his stringed instrument rental business to cover up for the black hole he got on his shoulders when he lost his house to mould. Under pressure, he just had to do it.
Many of the creative things I have done, either within my official work platform or in my spare time, were done in collaboration with other parties. When everyone brings their expertise to the table, you can share the time used.
When I was involved in neighbourhood activism, the founder of the network said that he used to say that if you gave a task to a busy man then it got done, but after having worked with me, he says, ‘Give the task to the mother of small children and it gets done.’
I organised events during the nap times of my children. I contacted people when it was suitable for me and wrote a message now and then, sometimes in the evening before going to bed, sometimes first thing in the morning. I do not suggest that you should work night and day. What I am saying is that part of the ease comes from doing your things at times that suit you. Bit by bit, junction by junction. Don’t expect it all to be done at once, instead break it down into pieces.
Some time management or structuring tools may be helpful. Some people like an Excel spreadsheet, others like Asana or the Kanban board to be on top of things. It is good to know what you have going on and what needs to be taken care of. A structured approach doesn’t kill creativity but gives space and time for it.
I highly recommend everyone to take time for creating and to leave some time for leisure and for being bored in their calendar. When you get bored creativity fires up. But creativity can as well thrive under pressure or in any collaboration. You can also have amazing creative ideas while being busy with something else. You just have to get open to seeing the creative possibilities placed in front of you on a silver plate.
Myth 4. I need a big network to bring people together.
A big network helps in getting your message out through different channels, but what is most important is curiosity, an open mindset and bravely in contacting people.
I have contacted people that I have never met, having only read about them in articles or seen them on the socials, and just reached out to them to bring in their art to my gallery or for other expertise. People are, in general, very taken to be noticed and invited to interesting events. If you present your offering in an interesting way, most people want to hear more about it, and many say ‘yes’ right away. My perspective is always that it needs to feel right and light for every party. It needs to feel that it gives more than it takes, and I am vocal about that. It is in general something that speaks to people. They know that I am not there to exploit them, but instead to give them a new experience or a platform for creativity.
You don’t need to count the hours you have worked but the impact you made. How you make people feel is what matters.
Myth 5. It cannot be done with ease, anything proper requires hard work.
Hard work is relative. You have a lot of expertise in your repertory, that has been developed throughout the years. You did not receive your expertise for free but have worked to come to the point where you are. However, being impactful doesn’t always require hard work or even long training. You don’t need to count the hours you worked, but the impact you made. How you make people feel is what matters. If you can change how someone feels, it is hugely impactful. If you can change the path an organisation is taking it’s impactful. It may be a long journey, but small insights may take people and organisations to new spheres.
That’s why coaching is so impactful; any small insight can grow into a huge change in a human being’s life.
Start taking the steps and you will notice that you have it all in you. Sometimes I feel with coaching clients that they do not need me; they have it all in them already. Eventually, that is all that I have to do: remind them of their worth. Sometimes small things done with ease are very significant and sometimes you can move mountains with ease. With the right attitude.
This blog post is modified on the basis of the chapter 3. Cracking the Myths in CREATE Crack the Cast – Become the Creative Leader You Want to Be.
Maija Fast is an author, speaker and certified business coach (ACC, ICF) who is on a mission to give creativity and creative people the value they deserve in working life.
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