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Unleashing creativity

By Clare Mitchell, Director of Product, Ivy House

We’ve all been there – you’re on your way to a meeting and all you can think is ‘I am far too busy for this’, and ‘what a waste of everyone’s time’. You are silently plotting against the person who organised it, and just when you start thinking of all the things you could be doing instead… your train is delayed by 45 minutes.

Okay, maybe that was specific to me. In this case, the meeting was going to be about updating the content for one of our workshops – and I firmly believed the content was fine as it was. But when my train was delayed and I had 45 minutes to spare, I started browsing WHSmiths and my eye was drawn to this one book (probably because the cover was luminous pink): ‘HBR’s 10 Must Reads – On Creativity’.

I read the first article, ‘Reclaim your Creative Confidence’ by Tom Kelley and David Kelley, and – I’m not being dramatic here – not only did it change that meeting, it changed my life!

And the crazy thing is, it was so simple. What I learnt in approximately 5 minutes of reading was this:

We are born creative. But over time we stifle those impulses. We become warier of judgement, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide up into creatives and non-creatives, and too many people resign themselves to the latter category.

This may seem like a tragedy and an inevitability, but the good news? We are not lost – we can rediscover our creative confidence. The trick is to overcome the four big fears that hold most of us back:

  • Fear of the messy unknown
  • Fear of judgement
  • Fear of the first step
  • Fear of losing control

I realised right there that I wasn’t too busy, and the content wasn’t fine as it was – I was just fearful of the messy unknown and fearful of losing control. By realising that my frustration came from fear, I was able to look past it and step into my most powerful creative state. Armed with this insight, that meeting, and my life since, has been quite different.

This experience highlighted to me the importance of reading a lot, often, randomly – and of being open to learning constantly as a mindset, not as something you switch on and off.

As a result, we have updated our recommended reading list at Ivy House. If you would like a copy, just email us at Enjoy!





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