3 Things You Absolutely Have to Know About Being Creative | Part 3
Here we are jumping into part 3 of my series: 3 Things You Absolutely Have to Know About Being Creative.
You are a creative person. You may not feel it; you might be thinking that you can't draw anything. You can't sing a song to save your life, or you have no design skills. As I have been sharing with you, creativity is more than just about singing, drawing, being good with colors, having the right words to say or songs to sing. We are each creative, and that is manifested in different ways. Sometimes it's in how you solve a problem, or how you build a plan; or a strategy that you build; or a way that you helped one of your kids navigate during a difficult time in their life; maybe it's a product idea; or maybe it's a system that you've been to support that product idea or that product launch; maybe it's a new way that a message is delivered, or a new way you connect with an audience. Creativity is all over the map, and you are created by Jehovah God, the most creative being ever, so embrace that. I want to help you in this series to stay creative.
A few articles ago, I talked about doing your most important work when you are at your best, something that I hope you are embracing and doing. For me it’s those first three hours in the morning. Give me my coffee; give me a few hours, and I can really crank out some work. The most important work in my day always happens in the first few hours of my day.
In the last article, I talked about being a lifelong student. You’ve got to make sure you are surrounding yourself with people that are going to help you grow and get better. Everyone that you are around will either bring you down or lift you up. Be around people that make you better, enlarge your thinking, and help you go to a new level. Listen to their podcasts; read their books; hang out with them in the office. Take them out to eat; have them come over; get your kids around them. These are the kinds of people that push you forward.
Today I want to talk about number 3. It is the third thing you absolutely have to know about being creative, and it’s this: be willing to fail. None of us, in our human nature, want to fail. Part of it goes back to our childhood, our culture, and the shame that comes with failing.
I remember this as a kid. I was a C-D student. There were subjects that I just struggled with. I would go and tryout for the basketball team, and guess what? I didn’t make the cut. We would go out to recess, and the two team captains would pick people for their team, and guess who always got picked last? It was me. I would go into junior high, and I would get bullied around. There is this shame that comes with failing. We have each been wired by God to be significant. We seek significance. Because we seek significance, we often run from failure. But here’s the thing, failure can make you better, if you let it.
Don’t be ashamed to fail. Don’t fear failing. In fact, do you know what I worry about? I worry about people who don’t fail. I worry about leaders who never fail. If you are going to be creative, you’ve got to be willing, and you’ve got to embrace the idea that you are going to fail at times. Get this, I am okay with it because like John Maxwell says, “I am going to fail forward.”
Here’s the deal: who cares what other people think? I am thankful that I told you that as a kid I was a C-D student, or that I never got picked for the teams. I am thankful that I had parents that helped me see myself for the way I truly was and how God created me. I empathize with people that don’t have that growing up. I am thankful that I did; that I had a dad that said that God can help you do what you want to do, and God can help you be who you want to be.
Who cares what other people think if you fail? Sometimes we are so afraid of what other people are going to think. “Well, what if I put myself out there and it bombs? What if I try this and nobody signs up? What if I ask for help, and I’m left all alone?” I get those; those are legitimate concerns, but they should not keep you from trying.
Don’t take the bait of what other people think and being consumed by what other people think. Instead, be willing to fail. You’re still young. If you’re twenty or thirty, you’ve got a lot more life. If you’re forty or fifty, you’ve got thirty to forty more years to go. I get it when you are in your sixties or seventies, you might be thinking “I don’t know how much more I want to try,” but you’ve still got a little bit of time. You should do some stuff, and if you fail, I know you’ve got to navigate those waters carefully, but you can try again.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is one of about ten thousand steps that you are going to take in your life. If you fail, you are going to learn and jump right back on track. Most of the people you admire, they’ve got failures. If you come hang around me very much, if you come to my office and hangout with me for a day, I will start telling you about my failures. I will walk you into some rooms in my office and point out the things that didn’t work.
Life is full of failures. Be willing to fail. If you are willing to fail, and when you fail you are willing to learn from it, get back up, and keep going, you are destined for great things. However if you resist failure, and you’re afraid to move because of what other people think, you’re afraid to try something because you might look dumb, if you’re afraid to go after it because you may screw up, you are going to keep yourself from your ultimate destiny, satisfaction, happiness, and knowing that you tried it.
Friends, I want you to be creative. I want you to harness that creativity, live in that creative rhythm, and let those creative juices flow. Here are the three things that will help you be creative: do your most important work when you are at your best, be a lifelong student, and be willing to fail.
Your #1 fan,