I’ve always been a little quirky–my parents told me I was lot like my “artsy” grandmother, who made her own clothes, jewelry, and quite a scene at family gatherings. I loved her winsome spirit, and quickly realized that she was brilliantly creative in process and product. Living creatively was her way of life.
It’s not surprising that I have become a lot like her, taking risks, challenging assumptions, and causing creative chaos in life and ministry. Some people are quick to say, “I was born that way” but truthfully, creativity is something I practice daily.
Every morning I wake up at the crack of dawn and wonder what surprises are in store for me. Who will be put in my path that I may inspire to act or think differently? What small or big disruptions might become opportunities for creative exploration? How can I see the world in a new way? As my day unfolds and I experience life through the lens of these questions, I’m wildly surprised by the serendipitous events that fuel my creativity and engage my noggin. To capture these insights, I carry sticky notes with me wherever I go. Occasionally, during meetings, people point out that I have one stuck somewhere on my clothes, computer or shoe. They laugh, and I celebrate their discovery as I explain the big idea on the tiny note. Conversation usually ensues, providing a platform to spark new ideas that become relevant to the topic at hand. We press on with newfound inspiration to solve the challenge we’ve gathered to address. Before the meeting is over, someone thanks me for my creative input and wishes they were creative, too. I respond, lovingly, saying it just takes a spark, an idea-spark, to fuel the fire of innovative thinking.
To boost your creativity, ponder three questions: Who will be put in my path that I may inspire to act or think differently? What small or big disruptions might become opportunities for creative exploration? How can I see the world in a new way? (Try standing on your head.) Then write them on a sticky note, and carry it with you wherever you go. Throughout your day, read the note aloud and search for answers. Take a picture of what you discover or jot down your ideas on another sticky note.
Designate an area of your home or office an incubation space, where creative ideas simmer and sizzle. Each day, post your answers to the 3 questions in this space, and let them cook. Revisit the ideas often and make connections among them. Move and reorder the sticky notes. What new ideas did you develop? What might be all the ways you are looking at the world differently?
Keeping asking yourself these questions and fill your incubation space with lots of ideas and answers. When friends visit, ask them what connections they see. You’ll be amazed at what they see through your ideas sparks.