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Leading Creativity through Forward Focus

Leading Creativity through forward focus

Image by eilonwy77 via Flickr

The ideas of leadership and play when combined provide an opportunity to lead creativity through forward focus. What do I mean?

Think back, way back, to when you were a kid with all the energy and imagination that went with it. Can’t think back that far, then look at the world through the eyes of a child. One that comes to mind is with my son. All of 2 years old at the time, he decided that I must lay down on the kitchen floor to watch as two ants scurried across it. My first thought – get the ant spray and squish the ants. Yet I hesitated just long enough to lay down on the floor and listen to my son explain that the ants were on a parade and all the fun places the parade would see. Such as going down a slide,stopping at the beach, and visiting a picnic or two along the way. For that short time, I watched the ants through his imagination. He saw the possibilities that lie ahead, he had forward focus. I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t lose the creativity of that moment.

After all only about 20% of us will retain creativity in our lives. Not sure where you fall? Consider this – when you think about leading your team are you seeing the cannot or the can?

If you are among the 20% that thinks creatively, you are thinking about the can and changing the cannot to can. For the other 80% the to do list is daunting list with lots of cannot. As children our creativity flowed endlessy from crazy made up creations with Legos® to acting out whole scenarios with Barbie® orG.I. Joe®. Somewhere along the way we have lost many of these needed skills. How can we maintain it or find it again?

Leo Babauta had some similar experiences to my ant parade and explores how to infuse your day with creativity (play)….

You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right?

Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.

Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.

Let’s take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. She had to go to the dentist, which is a pretty routine thing for most people. We took the train and then walked a few blocks. In the train, she sang, found things fun to see out the window, played games with me. As we walked, she talked about how the building the dentist is in might possibly reach the blue stuff in the sky, and wanted to bet me that it actually did (10 hugs if I won, $1 if she won). The elevator ride to the 18th floor was like a roller coaster ride to her.

Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that?

Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.

We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.

It is amazing to see what we can learn from the children around us. They bring creativity to everything they do – now is the time to begin leading creativity. Do you want to know the benefits of leading creativity through forward focus? Look for the 7 Benefits to Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus next week.

 

Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
- Stuart Brown, MD

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