Research indicates that everyone is born with creative potential. But to have creative ideas when you need them requires the ironic combination of humility and confidence. Humility matters because, in my experience, one of the greatest threats to creative professionals is pride. It’s why so few artists and creatives can survive a long career. At some point, they start taking creativity for granted, and like a romantic relationship, things start to sour.
I’d rather apologize than be so timid as to never try to do anything smart or brave. — Lee Clow, advertising creative director
On the other hand, without confidence, we won’t get very far—but confidence is hard to build in the creative world. You can’t imagine the number of leaders I find who have lost that confidence. They’ve stopped asking questions about their purpose, their process, or their results. “We’ve always done it that way,” has become a mantra for far too many leaders who have stopped questioning.
Let’s face it: building on your creative potential is hard. So the question is—where are you right now? At what point did you get bought off with a raise? At what point did you give up? And perhaps, more importantly, what are you willing to do to break out of those walls?
How to Build on Your Creative Potential
1. Become the expert in your field. Read, study, be proactive in your career.
Don’t get stuck focusing on your past experience. Focus on your leadership potential—the kind of creative leader you see yourself becoming. Studies show that interviewers are drawn to candidates described as having potential (often more than actual achievement).