How Much Do Companies Value Creativity Over Getting Things Done?

Most career infographics never add this step: Being the person who can get things done.

Why is that?

We’re saturated with articles lauding the importance of creativity over almost anything else in the business world, including intelligence.

Of course you want idea-people on your team. Without ideas, without creativity, I wouldn’t be sitting here in my comfy chair using WordPress on my laptop.

But who took the idea and made it live?

Was it the same person or team that thought it up in the first place?

CAN it be the same person?

TeddyPigg

Don’t worry, this is just a guinea pig. (Teddy)

Check your attributes

All those infographics and posts that talk about the top skills you need today—adaptability, self-reliance, teamwork, people-personing—are absolutely correct. You need those. Those so-called soft skills balance out your knowledge and experience.

But those posts never seem to get to the next step: Being the person who can also put those ideas into production.

In The Most Valuable Work Skill You Need, I talk about that one key trait that seems to be left off of employer wishlists and career advice lists.

And that’s accountability.

I-am-an-accountable-employee

If you have to hold up a sign….

Who’s accountable for your accountability?

It’s not quite a trick question.

A lot of us probably don’t get around to doing half of what we dream.

We’ve got ideas, and ideas are fun and sparkling and exciting, but we’ve also got to do a lot more other stuff, hard or boring or bogged down in committee stuff.

And it’s not like we’re in this alone. I know I couldn’t do some of my ideas without my team.

moobaala

Here’s a fine example of teamwork.

As well, perhaps employers should be equally invested in acquiring or training for accountability as they are about the shiny, sparkly ideas.

But if you find you’re looking back over the past few months or entire year and can’t quite put a finger on a concrete “did,” you’re going to have to actively focus some energy on  getting things done.

Because, alas, nobody wants to hear excuses.

Which are you?

Are you a doer, a dreamer, or both?

And is it that simple of a choice?

 

You can also click to find three ways to get going on accountability!

 

Read This: “Write Like a Motherf****r.”

Excuse the title; I’m quoting.

But this is some of the best advice I’ve seen about how to become the writer you wish to be.

Hint: Even those scraps of paper and tissues, those spiral-bound notebooks, that file on your laptop, matter.

And none of it is a waste.

Do remember that some of the language is NSFW–got it?–okay, click here for remarkable insight, rabid empowerment, and the gumption to do what you need to be doing.

Write-because-you-have-to

Yeah, this.

 

 

When Are You Your Most “You”?

Stop right there. What do you do that makes you feel fulfilled?

When I first read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light (read it; it’s good at any age), I came across this passage:

Protagonist Vicky is talking with her grandfather about how she feels when she’s outside and part of the sky and sea, and how sometimes she’s very aware of the sky and the sea. But at other times:

“I’m there–but it’s as though I’m out on the other side of myself–I’m not in the way.”

I recognized this as something I’ve said to myself for a long time: When am I my most me?

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Enchanting forest found at wall.alphacoders.com

In other words, when am I at my full potential?

I’m at my full potential when I’m doing something fulfilling, creative, and satisfying, when I’m immersed in things that nurture me and things I like to associate myself with, things that I know are good for me–yet when I’m doing them, I’m not thinking of myself at all.

There’s no “I” in the back of my head, shouting “Hey, look at me, I’m being creative, aren’t I cool?” Instead, I’m one with the moment, however long that moment is, the vessel through which it all pours, the genius, such as it is, burning.

Look-at-Me1

Look at meeeee! Found on imgmob.net (I don’t know the original source).

 

I wouldn’t even say I’m always doing anything one could consider creative. Sometimes just sitting around and musing takes me places I’m glad to go.

Take a look at Four Innovation Lessons From Mozart. While one can shoehorn just about any apple and orange together and make it work, comparing Mozart to today’s entrepreneurs is at least a creative idea itself.

The last point in particular speaks to our full potential, our self-actualization:

“[Mozart] wrote: ‘When I am …completely myself, entirely alone… or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.'”

mozartdeathbed

See, even on his deathbed, Mozart was exuding music. npr.org.

We all have this ability. Whether you sequester yourself in true isolation, recede to a space in your head no matter the distraction, or welcome those same distractions as a buffer, you owe it to yourself to know when you’re fulfilling who you are.

Plus, we do better when we’re feeling good about ourselves.

So spend some time doing what makes you feel good, even if you think it won’t matter to the world or make you any money, even if you think it’s silly or your should-do list is longer than sin or somebody snarks that you have wayyyy too much time on your hands.

As Martha Beck says, “It’s too late to feel guilty about enjoying simple things.”

So tell me: When are YOU at your full potential?