They are totally inter-connected.
Three professors in Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management unit who focus on the study of creativity—recognize the romantic allure of believing it’s a rare quality bestowed on a chosen few, but all agree that notion has been debunked long ago, and rightfully so.
“Creativity does have a reputation for being magical,” says Harvard professor Teresa Amabile, “one myth is that it’s associated with the particular personality or genius of a person—and in fact, creativity does depend to some extent on the intelligence, expertise, talent, and experience of an individual. Of course it does.
But it also depends on creative thinking as a skill, that involves qualities such as the propensity to take risks and to turn a problem on its head to get a new perspective. That can be learned.
The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.”
So what can managers and executives do to promote a healthy, positive inner work life among employees?
Sure, a pat on the back or a company Ping-Pong table is always welcome, but what these Harvard Business School professors discovered was much simpler:
People have their best days and do their best work when they are allowed to make progress.
There have been times in my life, when I’ve wanted to move forward, but people in my life said this is as far as I want to go. As an entrepreneur, it is now I who determines my goals, my pace, my timing and therefore I can measure progress.
When a victory happens such as attaining non-profit status for my dream Kalein after five years of frustrating and tedious effort—it is real, tangible PROGRESS. When I check off my to-do list by the end of the day, that is progress…
And progress, my friends is a word this creative entrepreneur can live with.
- If you are leading, give your team room to make progress.
- If you are in a situation where your progress and creativity is stifled, don’t hang on just for the paycheck.
Instead, look for the place where your passion intersects a need, and there you will find opportunity, your calling, that will give deep satisfaction while being personally challenging—which will result in the highest creativity.
Traditionally, this is called “bailing.”
But is it?
Why have millions of Americans quit their lucrative day-jobs in the past few years (as chronicled by Dr. Carl Ray in his extraordinary book, The Cultural Creatives) to do much lower paying jobs such as social work, working for non-profits and starting their own businesses?
Listen to this quote, “The charity work of celebrities is not just a publicity stunt—it is a genuine search for meaning. And many find it is the most meaningful thing they do.”
When Piers Morgan recently asked whether Clooney gets angry when people say he’s wasting his time in Sudan and that his charity work is for “self-aggrandizing reasons,” Clooney told Morgan, “I don’t need to be more famous. I’ve got all the attention I need,” Clooney continued, “and I’m just trying to use that attention on other people.”
Creatives everywhere are leaving jobs where they cannot make progress, searching for meaning and in the process discovering who they were created to be.
Let’s not simply SURVIVE, let’s LIVE.
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