Where and when do you feel out of place? In which business situations? With what people? During social activities? We limit ourselves by the way we think. In business, you must learn to think outside of your limitations to succeed. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Challenge widely held assumptions. Many people get trapped in the herd mentality. Expanding your creativity and comfort zone requires us to identify the assumptions about a problem and throw them out the window. In business, we usually assume that getting more customers is better, but what if instead we doubled our prices and made equal money with only half the customers? Never discount an idea until you fully explore it even if at first it seems absurd.
2. Refuse to label yourself. We often divide people into two categories, the creative and logical. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just not that creative”, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we refuse to label ourselves in this way, then we open the door of possibility. You may not be a talented artist, but everyone has creative skills. If you can think and dream, then you are creative.
3. Exercise the opposite half of your brain. Encourage yourself to expand your comfort zone by switching modalities. If you are a writer and habitually deal with words, then try drawing a picture instead. If your work is logical and left-brain oriented, then try painting or daydreaming to get your creative juices flowing. The key is to try something different than your normal way of doing things.
4. Give yourself permission to experiment. We often kill creative ideas before we give them a chance. What would the world be like today if people like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Alexander Graham Bell followed this pattern? Give yourself permission to experiment.
5. Discuss it with someone that sees the world differently than you. We all know someone that sees the world through an entirely different lens than we do. I suggest that you leverage that difference when you are up against a problem that seems especially difficult. Their different view might expose your assumptions or give you the creative jumpstart you need to see a new solution.