5 for 5 blog – Shaking off a creative funk

23 Feb

blue winter


Good morning everyone.

The longer I work professionally, the more I have come to learn and appreciate how much my personal and business lives are connected. And while this is not a post about work-life balance, I do know that there is a harmony or rhythm that connects these spaces, especially in the area of creativity.

My great love, creatively, is photography (I try to only use my own work for the blog and Mid-week motivation posts). To me it is a space that I can stretch myself to try new processes and techniques without fear of having to compete with anyone else; it is just me and the camera. And as I have continued to explore and push myself in both getting the shot in the camera and post processing, I have found that my capacity for creativity in my work has grown as well.

However, I have also learned that the reverse is the case also; in that, my creativity can come to a screeching halt when I am pulled in other directions. I have really struggled to be consistent with my photography over the last month with travel, preparing for reviews and other items mostly work related. And it wasn’t until late last week that I saw my daughter walk through some really great light that I realized that I had not even reached for my camera in well over a month. I had become disconnected as a plodded through the “urgent” things that needed to get done, but I had truly lost sight of the important things, one of the most important being nurturing my creative process.

It has felt great to get back in the swing of things, both with my creativity at home and frankly at work too. Actually, I took the picture in this post last Friday while I was working from home. To many it may not look like much….in fact some may see it as out of focus, but the trees weren’t focal point…..it was the snowflakes falling in the foreground. It feels good to be climbing out of that rut.

As I am writing this post, mostly to myself, I wanted to share a few quick things for each of you to think about:

  • Realize the pushes and pulls of each part of your life. While that may seem like the top candidate for “most obvious statement of the year award”, it can often begin creeping up on you. Recognize where something is off (for me it was not picking up the camera) and follow it back to potential causes. But realize that door swings both ways, not just with negative impact. A burst of creativity outside of work, could be just the thing your new initiative needs to get off the ground.
  • I hope you can take a moment to think about what your creative ability is? Perhaps it is photography, or music, or cooking, or painting, or writing??? Whatever that gift is, please give yourself the freedom to explore your potential. It doesn’t mean you have to go pro but it may be a spark which if nurtured will help impact other parts of your life.
  • If you do find yourself in a creative rut, look for other areas that could be pulling more of your attention. It could be a very important matter at the time. If you can find a way to work even a small piece of your creativity into your day, even if it is flipping through photos, or previous projects
  • As a little bonus this week I am throwing in a great article from INC magazine that I happened upon late last week as I was trying to bust through my creative funk. As I was looking back on the suggestions, it really resonated with me and I hope it will for you too.


Here’s this week’s 5 for 5 (+1):

Manage your time like Google invests its resources: 70/20/10 – by Noah Weiss – via Medium


SO WHAT: Be consistent and make time to think about the future. Learn to see the new ideas (and gaps) that will be the projects and experiences that will take your work and career to the next level.

Tags: Creativity, Future


No Time to Think – by Kate Murphy – via the New York Times


SO WHAT: I am pretty sure that I have shared this previously but this article really hits at the issue preventing our creativity from blooming. And the problem is us.

Tags: Thinking, Mindfulness, Creativity


Going Past Empathy: The Four levels of Listening and How you can listen your way to innovation – by Daniel Stillman – via Design Gym


SO WHAT: One of the best breakdowns of the listening process along with ways to master empathetic listening and move on to emergent (active) listening.

Tags: Leadership, Listening


The Only Way You Can Change Someone Else – by Holly Bretschneider – via Holstee


SO WHAT: An important read for leaders….I have heard it said to “Show the way, you must go the way.” But please note, not every path you can show your team is positive: Workaholism, micromanagement, indecision. Show your team the key values of collaboration, of thinking (see  articles above), or connecting to their creativity through your own actions.

Tags: Leadership


Find the Gap: How Jack Ma and Elon Musk See What Others Miss – by Amy Wilkinson – via LinkedIn


SO WHAT: A long read but worth it for many people who have to create new solutions in their work.

Tags: Innovation


13 Ways to Break Out of Any Slump and Get Motivated – by Chris Winfield – via INC


SO WHAT: As mentioned in this post, this article has some great reminders if you find yourself in a funk creatively or as a leader.

Tags: Growth, Development


All the best, kevin