Create Something!

I have often looked at something and thought incredulously, “well I could have done THAT!”  I could have written that book, created that process flow, started that business, given that talk. But I didn’t do it, did I? Someone else did.

Today we are unpacking the difference between “doing” and “creating”.  We can “do” lots of things and many of them are valuable, but “creating” has a special feeling that comes with it.  I hadn’t realized that the word “creative” is from the same root as “create”. So when you create something, you are by definition, “creative”.

I participated in the Marshmallow Challenge last week, an activity that I’ve facilitated many times but never actually participated in.  The Marshmallow challenge is a group activity where you build a structure out of spaghetti, tape, string, and a marshmallow.  When our shaky structure was complete, I felt a sense of pride, I wanted to keep that thing forever!

I found that of all the good work I’ve done consulting, the thing that I am most proud of is these blogtoons.   Why? Because people can see them! I made that! And when I printed a year’s worth and put it into a book, it really felt like someTHING.

There’s something tangible about creating things.  They can be shared with people. Non-object creation like music is creation too.

What if you created one thing each day, a small thing, that’s an actual output?  It just might change your life.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Make a sketch. If you are an artist or musician you probably already think of yourself as creative.   You have a head start. If you were an aspiring artist, musician or writer as a kid, go get back to that.  Start small, do small sketch once per week, or every day. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, it’s the creative act that counts.  The Artist’s Way is a great book with exercises to flex your creative muscles.

Write up a how-to document.  Have you done something at work that no one knows how to do?  Write up a process document. Make it fun. I’ve done this in the past and those documents live on forever.

Powerpoint can be creative.  Technically, powerpoint decks are “creating” but they don’t always feel like it.  Consider these decks; Zappos Culture Book, the Netflix Culture Deck or the How Google Works deck.  These 3 powerpoint presentations have gone viral.  I bet the people that created them felt like they made something.  Challenge yourself to look at your powerpoints as a creative activity.  Can your powerpoint evoke emotion? What experience is your powerpoint intending to create for the viewer?  

What have you created at work? Let us know!