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10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

10 Tricks Really Creative People Use To Come Up With Great Ideas

If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a great idea, you’re not alone. Coming up with great ideas regularly is absolutely essential as a creative person, though as we all know, it can be tough. Some of the greatest creative people of all time struggled with the need to come up with great ideas, but they did have a few tricks that helped. Today I’d like to share with you 10 tricks really creative people use to come up with great ideas.

1. Record your ideas & refer to them when stuck.

Recording your ideas is absolutely essential to the creative process. What starts as a simple thought now can blossom into something amazing later down the track. Record your thoughts, words, drawings and found objects in a journal or sketchbook and refer to it whenever you’re looking for a great idea. You’ll be joining the ranks of famous creative people as diverse as Tim Burton, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol, who all kept a steady stream of sketchbooks throughout their lives and referred to them regularly.

2. Take in diverse opinions.

Your creative ideas are limited by the thoughts in your own head, which have been developed uniquely through a lifetime of your own experiences. Take on the opinion and imagination of others to let in a whole new world of ideas and inspiration. Listen to what those around you have to say and take advantage of their unique perspective of the world.

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3. Make time for the big ideas.

Sometimes you can get so caught up in the day to day that in the midst of rushing from appointment to appointment, you don’t allow the big ideas to surface. Make some time to sit down, play with your materials, trawl through your sketchbooks and let the magic happen.

4. Keep abreast of news & culture.

What’s happening in the world around you can be an amazing source of inspiration. Keep abreast of the news and what is happening culturally in both your local area and the world. You never know what might spark your next big idea.

5. Work toward your big vision.

Some of the most prolific creative people of all time came up with their most amazing ideas because they were working toward a big vision that guided them every step of the way. Consider Apple, which took the world by storm with their revolutionary iPod, iMac and iPhone—all guided by the unique Apple design principles and their big vision for what technology products could mean in people’s lives

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6. Shift your attention regularly.

It’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut when you’re so intensely focused on trying to come up with your one big creative idea. Ease the pressure and shift your attention regularly to something else. Doing so will give your mind a chance to refresh, ready for your big idea to surface when you return to the task at hand.

7. Brainstorm.

Sometimes, a big brainstorming session is exactly what you need. It can be done alone or with others; simply start with your topic and write it in the middle of a big piece of paper. Around this central word write every single thing that comes to mind associated with the topic at hand. The connections you create can spark some amazing big ideas.

8. Do nothing.

It might sound counter intuitive but sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need to do. Sit quietly and stare out the window. Go on a walk around the block. Lie on the grass and stare up at the clouds. Allowing your brain to do nothing at all leaves it free to imagine and come up with some pretty amazing ideas. Why not try it out?

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9. Channel a new voice.

You’ve been thinking in your own voice your entire life, so what if you role played to be someone else creatively for the day? Take on the imagination of Walt Disney or the genius of Albert Einstein. Apply their unique ways of thinking to what sits in front of you and see what comes out. It can be as simple as saying to yourself “What would Walt Disney do in this situation? What ideas might he have?”

10. Stick to a routine.

Having a regular routine can be the perfect way to spark some big creative ideas. Many famous creative people, including writer Stephen King, had a very set and specific daily routine which allowed his best ideas to flow. Consider developing your own daily routine to encourage the flow of great ideas.

You might also like: How to Consistently Come Up With Great Ideas

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Photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi

Featured photo credit: Disruption by Tsahi Levent-Levi via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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