There are times in life when everything seems to go our way. We develop great ideas, make the right connections, and experience exponential growth. Then it happens. We begin to lose momentum and wonder why our creative juices are drying up. Everyone experiences this phenomenon at one time or another. For me, I pushed so hard for so long that I wore myself down. Where I once experienced an influx of great ideas, I now struggled to create anything. It took some time, but the ideas and creative juices are now flowing freely once more. During the process, I learned 5 steps to help you get your groove back.
1. Take a sabbatical. This may sound counterintuitive, but it works. We can’t force our way into creative thinking— great creativity flows naturally. When we reach the point of mentally trying to force creativity, we waste our mental energy to develop mediocre ideas. We trick ourselves into thinking that we can’t afford to take time away, but the truth is that we can’t afford not to take a break. We have learned the correlation between sleep and improved performance. In the same way, our creative minds need a break from time to time.
2. Learn to say “No.” We have to learn to say “no” to good opportunities in order to say “yes” to the best opportunities. When our schedule is filled with very little margin, we don’t allow ourselves time to think creatively. We become so busy with the next item on our to-do list or our next appointment that we don’t have time for creativity. I had to learn to say “no” to a few opportunities to allow myself the margin I needed to allow creativity to flow freely.
3. Revisit the “why” of what you are doing. Passion and purpose are catalysts for creativity. Sometimes, a trip back to the drawing board is exactly what we need to determine the “why” behind what we’re doing. Once we take the time to remember the “why,” our purpose is magnified and can fuse with passion to stimulate our natural creativity.
4. Narrow your focus. The best speeches throughout history have one thing in common: a central theme. Consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” or Lincoln’s “The Gettysburg Address.” Both men were great leaders who recognized the power of narrowed focus regarding their speeches. While our culture may suggest that being well-rounded is the ultimate goal, a jack of all trades is a master of nothing. Whether you have many talents or passions, you cannot deliver your best work when you are pulled in different directions. Want to boost your creativity? Narrow your focus.
5. Pace Yourself. Developing creative content is not a sprint. Take your time. Don’t hesitate to deliver your content, but take time to recognize the beauty and potential of your thought or idea. Just like great food is best when savored slowly, excellent ideas grow into something truly special when pondered. Not every idea you have will transform the universe, but there may be one that can truly be a part of making history.
Have you experienced a creative dry spell? What techniques did you use to get back in the game? To participate in the conversation, leave a comment below.