How to Be Creative at Work [Hint: You Don't Need Permission to Start]

Feb 8, 2019

do-more-at-workIf you don’t have a plan for yourself, someone else has a plan for you. They’ll write it down, and you’ll follow it. It’s what traditionalists call a job – it has a map and, if you’re not careful, you’ll follow it.

If someone can write down what you do for a living, eventually they’re going to find someone cheaper than you to do it. You need to think carefully about that every time you’re asking someone for the organisation chart or the job spec. While it’s naturally to crave certainty, it can come at a price: if you know what you’re supposed to be doing and who you should report to, chances are you’ll never push beyond these boundaries or be truly creative at work. 

Why does this matter?

Most companies have rigid job descriptions for new hires. They also have endless charts that map out who reports to whom. When you start a job with them, what you do will fit exactly into one of those little boxes, with no scope or opportunity to do something radically different. The real reason they have boxes is because one day, when you choose not to turn up, you can be replaced with another name in the box.

Think about You in a different way. 

paintsplat-creativeYou don’t have a job, you have a platform. You have a platform to make art. You have a platform to speak up. You have a platform to connect people, which is what humans are for and to do the work that matters.

Yes, if you want to, you can stand up and make art and make a ruckus and do work that matters. Then you can connect people and you can lead people, and you can shift work out the door, because no one can tell you that you can’t.

The challenge is, will you choose to fly ever closer to the sun? See, we’re told at an early age not to take risks. Not to break the rules. To learn how to do things without ever trying them ourselves. 

But what if you choose to be different? To try things? To be someone that matters and someone that makes a difference?

The question is not can you do something amazing, the question is do you care enough to do it? Do you care enough to stand up and say, this is not about selling more software or high tech products. This is about making a difference.

Leadership and creativity is about taking initiative

So are you going to put your hand up? Are you going to be the one that takes the initiative and gets on with it?

Do you really need permission from your manager - the person that has  avoided doing anything different from what is in their job description?

If you want your work to be fulfilling and accomplish something special, why would you wait to be told it’s okay to start?

If you want work to be creative...

.. ask yourself, do you really need a rulebook to get a job? Is there a rulebook for connecting people – for creating emotional engagement and belief – in demonstrating your passion and your promises? Do you need a specific degree? Or qualification?

Or, actually, is it your passions, experiences and ideas that count?

Arm yourself with facts (data helps you make decisions). Arm yourself with belief and passion. Set out to build a movement and to differentiate.

Here’s the good news. You don’t need their permission.

For you and your personal brand there’s a simple message: You don't need anyone's permission to be creative. In fact, if you're waiting for permission to get started, you're probably doing it wrong.

The only path forward for you is to be the only one. One of a kind. The one that people can’t live without. The one that’s worth crossing the street for. And remember you can’t get there by bragging about it. You have to get there by owning it and living it.

People will not cross the street for average. What they are looking for is something that is alive, something that is bubbling. 

Pick up the tools – that’s you. Reframe your value/values. Earn your value. Take initiative. Live your life.

Now. Who wants to get started?

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