How many times have we heard, “Ok everyone I want your best ideas,” only to make one and be told, “Oh that is interesting, but I don’t think that is going to work”? Let’s delve deeper into how we can explore creativity to find inner confidence.
There is a lot of talk about nurturing creativity in the workplace, but when we are actually presented with a creative idea, we are reluctant to pursue it because it is untested. Its outcome is uncertain, and we don’t want to take the risk of it not working.
The World Economic Forum has creativity in the top three skills required to thrive in the future and universities are incorporating it as a stand-alone subject in their business degrees. Despite all this desire to nourish creativity, we still find it challenging to do it. Why? It bathes in uncertainty.
Creativity is a doing word. If we don’t actually DO something, we can’t possibly hope to be creative.
What is creativity?
I like Sir Ken Robinson’s definition:
“Creativity is a process of original ideas that have value.”
There are three parts to this definition:
- It is a process
- The ideas are original
- Those ideas have value
It is a 5 part process
This process forms the backbone of all our creative projects, events and workshops for girls that we run. It is not linear and often starts with a problem to solve. We can go around and around in the first two stages and never get around to creating anything. Or we can do the first three repeatedly in our work and never do the last two. It is essential that we engage in all five components if we are to sustain our creativity.
Activating this process often starts with a problem, big or small. The more we do it, the more of a habit it becomes. It is also beneficial to know at what stage we are at in the process to understand how far we are away from solving the problem and sharing it with those who count. This takes the overwhelming feeling out of any challenge, particularly if you have a finite amount of time.
It has original ideas
Creativity requires originality; otherwise, it is just another task completed the same way it has always been done.
It has value
By value I mean, it solves a problem. It can be for ourselves, another or the community more broadly.
So how does creativity contribute to inner confidence?
When we are confident, we seize opportunities. We don’t second guess that this is right for us. When we are creative we have the skill to resolve any problem and we are able to work out how those opportunities help us survive and thrive. The more opportunities we seize, the more experiences we have and the more inner confidence and resilience we build.
Finding the solution may not happen straight away, but resilience requires taking small steps to reach a big goal, which removes feelings of being overwhelmed. Experimenting and researching new information and knowledge. Each successful action deserves celebration. When we nail it, we deserve to stand back and pat ourselves on the back. From that, you can’t help but stand tall.
An artist is the master of their tools
If we are to master creativity and solve our biggest challenges we need to get good at the process of creativity and be comfortable with uncertainty. Uncertainty means we don’t know the outcomes and there is no right answer because it is an untested endeavour. We have to do it and see.
I am not saying we should allocate unlimited resources to creativity to solve our problems. I am of the mindset that the more options we have, the less creative we become.
Focus forces creativity and inspires inner confidence
I run five-day creative challenges with teen girls, and this is one of the reasons we give girls limited parameters to solve each of the tasks. They have to draw on their experiences and knowledge, and if they don’t have it, they open their mind up to more to solve it to their satisfaction. The beauty of the challenge there is no predetermined right answer. It is exciting.
The Teen Journal we have created and are distributing in collaboration with Leaders in Heels is a beautiful space for creative thought and interpretation. It is a place to start saturating and percolating ideas and creating them into something unique. The boundaries we provide are the confines of the book – the rest is up for grabs.
Each year I watch Year 12 students graduate. I sit on stage, as a member of School Council, as students collect their certificates. As they approach I hope they are going out into the world doing what they love and knowing what they are good at — trusting that both of these combined will take them somewhere special. I want those kids to feel ok about not knowing ‘where’, but to know that they have a ‘how’ when they do.
About Jane Harbison and her passion for inner confidence
When Jane was at school, she chose subjects that she thought would get her good grades, into university and then onto a career she knew could support her anywhere around the world. For 25 years she did accounting, and it wasn’t until she reached 40 she made the change to creativity. This is always where she should have been. It is where her natural strengths lie and she hasn’t looked back.
Dreaming Big for Little Girls was formed from this experience and observing teenage girls anxious and overwhelmed about what they should be doing. It specifically focuses on girls who are creative and want to extend that skill, so when they leave the safety of school and home, they are comfortable with the uncertainty that their new freedom provides.
From Dreaming Big for Little Girls they have a process to solve problems in a unique way. They are confident they will be successful with their creativity and know they will bring about beauty and excellence to the world around them.
Jane Harbison is the Founder of Dreaming Big for Little Girls and holds governance roles on the Council of independent schools. Jane is passionate about inner confidence, a country girl at heart and has an affection for rural Australia and the people in it. Find out more about Dreaming Big for Little Girls.