Channeling Childhood Creativity to Achieve Professional Success

March 2022
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When you think of your day-to-day responsibilities, your mind probably wanders to the tactical side of things: responding to media inquiries, writing pitches and press releases, updating social media accounts, and being pulled in multiple directions as you work to get your message heard. 

Creativity, on the other hand, may not be top of mind, but it’s essential to our success — both in the big picture, and in those everyday tasks. 

Creativity and imagination drive innovative PR strategy. Truly creative ideas use novel tactics and approaches that get people’s attention. Creativity can lead to messaging that connects with an audience on a deeper emotional level. It’s the foundation for pitches that get read, and campaigns that get noticed. 

Perhaps most important, creativity sets human expertise apart from the artificial intelligence that is increasingly becoming a useful part of comprehensive PR efforts. While A.I. can help us analyze data, refine and target pitches and more, it’s our creativity that drives the big ideas. 

But what if your creativity is nowhere to be found? 

It’s one thing to understand how important creativity is to your career. It’s another to use your own creativity to your advantage. After two years in a pandemic, Zoom fatigue, and the daily pressures of meeting goals and deadlines, most of us likely feel creatively drained. 

If you’re feeling tapped out and unable to think as creatively as you used to, then you’re not alone. In fact, you’re a pretty typical adult. According to a NASA study, adults lose 96% of their creativity just by growing up. Going to school improves our ability to think convergently, focusing on one task or topic, but in the process, we lose much of our ability to think divergently. That’s when creativity is lost. 

That’s the bad news. 

The good news is that you used to be really creative. That same study found that 98 percent of 4 and 5 year olds scored at a “Creative Genius” level of creativity. I, for one, remember writing song after song when I was a child — from elementary school into my teens. I kept an entire book of songs. And, because my father was a musician, I got to sing and record them at a music studio. Looking back, my creative productivity was off the charts. 

The key is getting back to that place of uninhibited creativity. If we can tap into the imagination and output we had as children, then it can do wonders for the way we think and contribute professionally. 

Returning to our creative roots 

We can’t just flip a switch and think like children again, but we can take on a mindset that celebrates creativity and plugs into the passions that inspired us when we were younger. 

Think about what fed your creativity as a kid. Maybe it was listening to music, writing stories, drawing, painting, building, spending time in nature or around animals, or simply taking the time to listen to your thoughts and trust your instincts. 

How can you incorporate these sources of inspiration into your life today? Consider listening to music or drawing while you brainstorm, meditating, moving your meetings outside, or taking the time to hone the skills that get your mind going by signing up for a class or workshop. (Think: art, writing, even improvisational comedy.)

Adding inspiration to our industry 

As adults, we have less freedom than we did when we were five years old. Life gets stressful, responsibilities stack up and our daily checklists can take us out of a creative headspace. But even small changes and mindset shifts can help us channel the imagination of childhood, lose some of our creative inhibitions and think in a way that can help us professionally — by coming up with new ideas and exciting strategies. 

Plus, creativity is contagious. If you can bring an imaginative spark to your organization, then you might inspire others to realize the creativity they thought they’d lost is still within their reach. 

Return to Current Issue Creativity & Innovation | March 2022
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