Episode 258: Creativity for Leaders and Entrepreneurs

9 Minutes Read


Creativity is essential to business because it is how you bring to life the next new thing. It’s how you grow. 

But despite creativity’s importance in being an effective leader, too many people think they don’t have enough of it or believe that they can’t develop it.

In this episode, we will dispel those very unhelpful beliefs and give you tools to increase your creativity in business and life. You will discover:

  1. An easy mindset shift to spark ideas anytime you feel like you’re in a creative rut

  2. How to use focused intention to get a boost of creativity

  3. A nighttime ritual to tap into the power of your subconscious to create solutions

  4. The words leaders use about their creativity that block their full potential, and what to say instead

To get the creativity meditation we mention in the episode, join the Superabound Collective at besuperabound.com/collective

Listen on Spotify here







Episode Transcript

Erin Aquin  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase are business owners like you learn tools to help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to Episode 258 creativity for leaders and entrepreneurs.

Steve Haase  0:22  
Hello, everybody. I'm excited about this episode, because creativity is how you grow. It's how you create the next new thing in your business. It's how you do work in a new way. It's what keeps things interesting. So we're going to share some of our best insights, tools, ways of thinking about things that have sparked creativity for ourselves and for our clients, and cannot wait to share that with you. So, Erin, I'd like to know, what were some of your biggest creative breakthroughs either for yourself or for the business or with clients? And where did they come from? How do you make them happen? What's the secret? Okay, I

Erin Aquin  1:04  
wish it was a secret. I wish it was like something I figured out. But I think one of the biggest breakthroughs in the mindset space about creativity for me was I was in a an intensive training program. And one of my friends, she's a friend, but she's also a leader of a very impressive business. And she and I were coaching on something we were practicing some some tools. And I spent time coaching her on her belief that she was not a creative person. Like she was the way she was talking about her ideas. And her inspiration was like it was a finite little bundle that she had to do like very certain special things and had to be in a certain headspace for, and it could run out at any moment. And I think that what was really interesting was when I compared her perspective, and her rather unhelpful belief about her own creativity to mine, I realized that I just thought of creativity as a muscle. It was something I could just decide in a moment. Okay, that whatever I'm trying is not working, I need to think creatively here. And there would always be something there for me. So that insight and understanding from someone who I thought was very successful and creative, watching her limit herself kind of just reinforced to me that I wanted to share with more people that creativity doesn't just like strike you. It is something that you already have inside of you. It is a muscle that can be worked, you can call upon it. I've written that in almost We've almost finished what I would call my fourth book, but it's our your first book, my fourth book, that took an unbelievable amount of creativity, but also discipline. So I think the very first not secret. But the very first important thing to consider is that creativity is just part of who you are. And all you need to do is figure out how to tap into that for yourself in a way that doesn't make it mythological, but rather, just another facet of your beautiful human self.

Steve Haase  3:29  
That is amazing. I love that you frame it as a muscle as a discipline as a practice, something that you sit down and you call upon much as you would your strength or your intellect. Because there is this myth and I think it came out in my question, there's this myth that there's some secret source of creativity that you haven't found, you know, but that the creative types have. And it isn't actually true. Like the people who are most creative are also the ones who spend the most time it was Stephen King famously said what you need to be a great writers but glue. You just spend time doing the thing. And you will improve your people will look at you and say wow, aren't you creative. So it's almost a misnomer in the sense of, in the sense of there being some kind of genius or hidden spark that only a select few have. It's often just a view from the outside, have a very strong commitment to the work into creating things that matter to creating work that matters. One thing that stood out to me in what you're sharing was the importance of intention and purpose for the work that you're doing. If you're clear that you want to have a certain outcome or that you want to create something, then the creativity tends to flow as opposed to if you're waiting for something to happen, or are not sure what it is that's going to come next. It's a little bit harder for for that to come through. One practice that I like to use is actually asking a question before I go to bed about a creative challenge that I'm having. Maybe it's what's the next product we're going to launch? What's the next topic we want to focus on? How can I best support my clients and the people in our world, I will ask myself that before I go to bed, and really hold it in my mind, hold that outcome, whatever it might be. And it's just kind of a hazy, fuzzy thing, before I go to bed, and then waking up, I will do some journaling on that first thing in the morning, and we'll find that there are sparks all over the place. But those sparks didn't just descend from the heavens, they came to me because I set the intention that I want to solve a certain problem. So that's what came for me.

Erin Aquin  5:56  
Yeah. And what's important about that, too, is I actually also, you know, as much as I'm saying, Oh, it's a muscle and you know, it's just, it's just that thing you do, it's part of who you are. I don't think that that makes it any less magical. I think that, yes, going to sleep and waking up with a solution to a problem or an idea. It's kind of magical. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for it. But also, it does feel a little bit magical. One of my favorite creative practices that we've talked about here that we talk about regularly within the superabound Collective is what I call coffee with the Oracle, which is literally sitting down with myself, pen and paper, a cup of coffee and doing either nondominant handwriting or spiritual channeling answers to questions or insights and things I feel blocked about. There is an element of magic and mysticism to that. I think the differentiator is, I don't, I'm not treating that act as though something has to come to me, I am talking to a part of myself, that may be connected to the greater forces in the universe, if we want to get esoteric about it. But it's something that is in my control, I'm not waiting for it to happen to me. And I think that that is a really important distinction, especially if we're talking about creativity for leaders and entrepreneurs. One of the other things is you have to identify as a creative in your work, leadership is actually totally creative, be owning a business, very creative. Anytime you're taking an idea, and then turning it into something real in the world, like a business or you know, a new initiative, a new lantern that your team is going to light. That's a very creative thing. And I remember I used to I have, I work with a lot of creatives, which is really interesting, and a lot of people who do Visual Arts and Design, you know, it's really fun for me to work with all of these artists, because I am not an artist. But a few years ago, I had someone stopped me from saying that, and just said, You created a business, you created something your your strategic approach to things is an act of creating. So play with that, like what if you were to think of yourself as a leadership artist, or an entrepreneurial, creative, it might change a lot.

Steve Haase  8:38  
I love that it's so true. So often, the image we have of the creative is like your cousin John, who has tattoos and is just, you know, dressed in black and designs. Video games for a living like that is the creative, but anyone listening to this is creating their business. And so consider the words that you say the team that you build the product that you sell, as your canvas, and what are you going to paint there, what is the next line you're going to use? What's next color you're going to use? Each of your words is a color, your emotional quality that you're bringing to a situation is a color as a shape is part of your creative act, in your business and in your life. Along those lines. When there's a problem, something that I'm often coaching people through, is thinking around the problem like what is the space in which it's occurring? If you consider that there's always a solution, then you can actually open up space in your brain for creativity. Because when you encounter a problem, the regular brain like not your switched on leadership brain will often just feel stuck. Like I don't know, we're screwed, right that there aren't enough sales payrolls too high. We're just gonna, we're just toast. But toast is not very artistic. I mean, unless you're some kind of executive chef and you do amazing things with that toast, but opening up space to be instead of, you know, the metaphor I like instead of playing checkers, you're playing, not just chess, but you're playing Vulcan chess, right? It's on three dimensions that where there's always a solution, there's always a possibility, that is a crucial part of creativity for leaders and business owners. Because, you know, let's be honest, your creativity is not always pretty, it's not always rainbows, sometimes your life is just solving one problem after another. But if you take an approach that there's always a possibility, you're playing Vulcan chess here to steal a line from from Ben Horowitz, there's always a move, there's always a dimension you haven't considered, you can open up new levels of creativity, just from stepping back from that kind of primitive brain that says, there's a problem, we're in trouble, and actually says, there's a problem. This is my chance to be creative to flex my creative muscles to see what good could emerge from this.

Erin Aquin  11:07  
Yeah, and you can't, you don't even have to wait till there's necessarily a problem to practice creativity, like you don't want to, you don't want to run a marathon without having gone to the gym and done some training and all the things, it's not running a marathon, you wouldn't enter a weightlifting competition without training for it. So one of the ways, you know, we've, we coach a lot of leaders and team managers, we coach a lot of leaders, and one of the exercises that I will often give them is teach your team to think creatively. You know, at your weekly meeting, give a scenario and let's practice coming together as a team and coming up with really creative solutions and ideas and brainstorming in a low risk. sort of made up scenario. The holodeck, if you will, if we're gonna stick with Star Trek. You know, you can start to practice those things so that your team is ready to be creative in the moments when it matters. And so are you. Another training exercise for your own personal creativity is commit to some kind of creative act within your field in your wheelhouse. For us, this podcast is actually a really great example. I wanted to flex my creativity muscle week after week originally, when I started this, it was just me way back, I was alive with purpose, and then revitalize your relationship. And then I think it had some other name. And but it was a weekly exercise, it was a weekly workout to say, Do I have something to say, every single week? Can I teach something? Can I create something? Can I reflect on something? Can I give something to people for free? can I connect with people in a way that is a little bit above and beyond just posting on Instagram. So for me, it was the podcast for us. Now it's the podcast, we always have to think of something to talk about. And we do it week after week, our book that's coming up is another creative exercise taking years and years of our tools and our approach and putting it into a written form. So that people can actually read it. That's another creative workout. Trust me, they work out.

Steve Haase  13:30  
So I hope you found that helpful. Honestly, we could do an entire day on this. When we do our day long intensives. With leaders, that's pretty much what happens, right? It's a full day of exploring what's on their plate, finding out what the creative space around that might be to find the best possible path forward or even several paths forward. And it's a really fulfilling and rewarding part of being a business owner, being a leader. And we invite you to really lean into your own inherent creativity. If you're

Erin Aquin  14:02  
not in the superabound collective, you should go join that be superabound.com/collective because I recently posted a short, creative visualization meditation on how to step into creative flow when you have to do any business writing, or any creative solutioning. This is a really fun, playful practice you can do in about five minutes and that is free for everyone inside the Superabound collective. You can head over there now and it's in the community feed waiting for you. All right. We hope you have an amazing week and we'll talk to you again soon. Take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai