sparking creativity through cognitive distance

I had the opportunity to speak earlier this week at the Innovators Improv. It’s a monthly gathering that brings together a variety of interesting folks from the community to share experiences, discuss questions, and raise  ideas on a range of topics. I was invited to talk about “Sparking Creativity“. I wanted to share my talk as I think we all benefit from the opportunity to spark creativity in our everyday lives (stay tuned for video).

the shower and idea generation
When thinking about the idea sparking creativity I couldn’t help but think about where my own ideas are sparked – and quite often that’s in the shower. Why do our best ideas often come while we’re taking a shower …or walking the dog …or running to the bathroom between meetings? It seems so inconvenient.

The good news is that there is an actual reason for why this happens and in better understanding what’s underneath perhaps we can harness it and encourage it to happen during far more convenient (and needed) times throughout our day.

… the subtle suggestion of psychological distance seems to help people think outside the box. Jia, L. et al., “Lessons from a Faraway Land: The Effect of Spatial Distance on Creative Cognition,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming) (Boston Globe).

The focal point of cognitive distance as it pertains to our daily creativity is that as we further ourselves physically from the problem the more able we are to tackle that problem in a creative, innovative, and out of the box kind of way.

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forward motion

…you’ve got huge potential – it’s up to you to make it happen!

The best words of wisdom, inspiration, motivation, and the kick-in-the-butt that I needed. I am grateful to an amazing support network of women I have come to know and am so appreciative to their generosity in time, advice, and spirit.

I could talk about the challenges and frustrations of the past few months, but that would only further the negativity that has been hanging over me. This is about forward motion and reconnecting with passion to not just make a change, but be the change.

A big thank you to the many wonderful people in my life, but especially to Amy, Lauren, Debra, and Kristin for simply being you.

Last, but certainly not least a big, big thank you to Colin who has always patiently (and persistently) told me to make it happen.

writer’s block gets messy

Recently, writing has been like trudging through molasses. It’s been hard and heavy. It’s time to let my writing get a little bit messy. It’s uncomfortable and so outside my comfort zone. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionism always seems so stifling.

I know the tricks of working through (or avoiding writer’s block). They are invaluable to me and many others, but this isn’t going to be one of those posts.  This isn’t about breaking through writer’s block – it’s about experiencing it. It’s about allowing it to break me, and enable a break through.

overcoming hurdles and creative limitations by experiencing discomfort

We are often quick to want to push through and get to the other side of discomfort.  Whether we’re talking about writer’s block, a personal situation or professional one we try to get through uncomfortable or painful moments as quickly as possible. However, sometimes the really good stuff lives within those raw moments.

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developing a feedback loop

I am a firm believer in feedback. It’s something that was instilled in me as an important skill, both to receive gracefully and to offer honestly. Given my recent work and life transitions obtaining feedback has become a much more proactive process.

While feedback might not always be easy to hear it presents us with an opportunity to improve and change. Creating our own personalized feedback loop can be incredibly valuable, keep us on track, and focused on achieving all we aspire for.

observe what’s going on around you

Where does feedback come from? It comes from our friends, family, co-workers, managers, professional peers, or even the barista at your favorite cafe. Feedback cues are all around us we just have to listen. Each encounter offers insight into how we behave, work, and interact with others. Are there improvements that could be made to these interactions that would have better results or simply a more positive feeling.

ask for feedback from a range of people

Are you looking to improve a specific area of your work or life? Perhaps you’re interested in taking personal stock of your strengths and reveal areas of improve. Human beings are dynamic and therefore we need feedback that’s multi dimensional. Feedback should come from a group of people that are representative of our own dynamic nature.

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exploring communal growth

This tweet from Geoff Livingston really got me thinking about my last post.  Was I being too insular? In many ways yesterday’s post was intended as purely self exploratory.  It’s not uncommon to struggle with self identify and personal revisions. This awareness often leads to improvements and growth.  However, yesterday’s post should have been less about me and more about our exploring of communal growth.

take a look at how you grow.
How do you improve yourself personally and professionally? Some of us grow in solitude, pulling from within, but many of us value and seek communal growth. Regardless of ‘how’, it’s important to be aware of what you need to improve and cultivate growth throughout the many facets of your own life, profession, and inner self.

others enable us to see what we can’t.
We are all capable of amazing things; handmade creations, intellectual ideas, unconditional generosity, and so much more.  However, we can benefit from the growth that comes from our community of peers. We are able to witness opportunities and potential through the honest lens of others.  Growth in many forms comes from experience and the wisdom offered by those we encounter (online or in person).

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