If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my core belief is that the old model of leadership is dead and now, anyone in any organization on any part of the planet can show leadership. I’ve seen taxi drivers who display rare-air leadership along with school teachers + breakfast servers + construction workers. Work is changing. And we all can provoke impact and influence if we Lead Without a Title. But here’s the point of this piece: not only do each of us have the potential to be leaders – we each have the potential to be creative. Massively.
Who sold us on the lie that only artists and poets and musicians are Creatives? When we were kids, we all expressed our Inner Rembrandt as effortlessly as we would breathe. We colored outside of the lines, ideated at the slightest chances and were essentially idea factories on two short legs. But then, as we aged, we stifled our creativity as the mortgages, deadlines and the stuff of life took over our days. Sad.
You and I do no favor to the world in withholding our creativity. So, in my sincere effort to help you work + play at your best, I invite you to consider The 8 Faces of the most creative people I’ve observed. These are the qualities that the brightest of the best have. And you can develop them too. Here we go:
The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders
The Face of Madonna will serve to remind you that nearly every great Creative was a perfectionist. Yes, I know perfectionism may not be the most healthy attribute in the world. But facts are facts and when I study the superstars of creativity, the fact is almost every one of them stood for nothing less than ideal work.
A while ago I watched Madonna’s documentary “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret”, which deeply inspired me.
At every touch point, Madonna sweat the small stuff and demanded that every element of every performance was perfect.
Why work on a project if not to get it as close to perfect as possible?
The face of Picasso will reinforce the notion of devotion.
Great creatives don’t do what they do just for the applause and accolades. They do it because they love it.
Picasso used to leave beautiful dinners with his friends to return to his studio to advance his craft.
His art was his passion.
And like every fantastically creative person, he worked with utter devotion.
The face of Henry David Thoreau will remind you of the need to create space for your creative talent to flow.
We live in a world where too many people have too little time away from the noise of ringing smart phones, constant email and the dumbing hum of the television.
One of my all-time favorite books is “Walden” by Thoreau. He wrote it over a period living by a pond, away from the world. Living in quiet solitude with nature as his daily companion.
We don’t get our best ideas at work. We get them on beaches or in bathtubs.
Create spaces for your your inner artist to present itself.
The face of Ernest Hemingway will reinforce the idea that hugely creative people are extremely disciplined.
It’s pure myth that the best artists achieved what they did without structure and organization.
Hemingway, the famed author, wrote at the same time every day – whether he felt inspired or de-inspired.
Yes, spark a steady flow of great ideas.
But great ideas that are not executed upon and converted into real results are a waste of time. The world is littered with geniuses who did zero with their big ideas.
Richard Branson’s face will remind you to have fun.
Creativity often occurs in the heat of play.
Branson’s a billionaire. But he really seems to have fun at all he does.
Look – no, hunt – for ways to make whatever it is you do fun.
That will open up that part of your brain that drives your best ideas.
The face of Edison will remind you that creative mastery is a numbers game.
Yes, we all know the cliche that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he got the light bulb right. But the story’s worth remembering.
Study any genius – in the arts or in business, and you’ll discover the same thing: they succeeded because they outfailed everyone around them.
Come up with a thousand ideas and one’s bound to be brilliant.
Philippe Starck is awesome. And part of his awesomeness stems from his love of minimalism.
Here’s where I’m going with this one: genius resides in simplicity.
The best inventions were the simplest inventions.
Further, de-clutter your workspace + your home + your mind.
Breathtakingly beautiful ideas can’t flow when your energy’s being taken up by the messes around you.
Ok. Last one. The face of Henry Ford will remind you to trust yourself.
I’ve made my biggest mistakes when I’ve listened to the chattering voices around me vs. trusted my own instincts.
Self-belief is a powerful leadership quality.
Nearly everyone laughed at Ford’s concept for a car. His reply: “If I’d listened to the people around me, I would have built a faster horse carriage.”