As a kid, I was confronted by mom’s favorite George Bernard Shaw quote every time I opened the refrigerator:
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
It’s true that without imagination, wonder, and risk-taking, things get old, fast. Embracing your creativity as a concept is easy; summoning it on a daily basis can be more challenging.
The opposite of play doesn’t have to be work – much like the opposite of success isn’t failure, but apathy. I stole that nugget from professional consultant and author of Creative Trespassing, Tania Katan.
It’s simple, really. You just have to know how to smuggle some creativity into your work day.
Tipping sacred cows at work
Being a “disruptive company” is applauded these days, but being truly disruptive at work sounds like something that might get you fired or cause you to lose business. Or will it?
One of my favorite things Katan offers up are productive disruptions. These are little exercises designed to bust up norms and juice your workday with creative fuel.
It can be as simple as swapping seats with a coworker, so you literally see things from a different perspective. Or ditch your desk (and phone) and get lost taking a walk, which has been proven to boost your creative output by as much as 60%.
Turn and face the strange
Seek the strange in the familiar. The most extraordinary ideas can often be found in the most ordinary spaces. ~ Tania Katan
When you open up to the idea of creative trespassing, you also free yourself up to spot magic in the mundane. If that sounds like some kind of Jedi mind trick, it is.
It’s also how Katan re-imagined the women’s restroom symbol as wearing a superhero cape to foster female empowerment. She co-created the viral #ItWasNeverADress campaign for an otherwise mundane B2B software company.
While that’s inspiration worth stealing, it’s also about sneaking in your own sense of humor, quirks, and imperfections into your work on a regular basis.
So go ahead: give yourself permission to commit acts of nonconformity and indulge in a little creative trespassing. After all, the most criminal thing you can do to your creativity is decide you don’t have time for it.