Remember when you were a kid, and all you did was spend your extra time coming up with elaborate stories for your Barbie dolls, creating games of ‘house’ with your friends at recess, and coloring outside the lines of your coloring book? Those were really the days, weren’t they?
As a child, our imaginations are free to run wild. Our families and teachers encourage us to spend our time expanding our imagination to teach us that our imagination is a powerful tool that, if tapped into, can cultivate and build our desired lifestyles.
The truth is, our imaginations don’t go away (and neither does our access to it).
We may not call it imagining now, but adults tend to use this skill when they don’t want to deal with depressing news or jobs they don’t love. When we fall asleep at night, our imagination can start to run wild as we imagine what our lives could be like. The difference between adult imagination and child imagination is that adults are not given the time to utilize this skill or the direction on how to best activate it as we grow older.
One of the reasons we are taught to make use of the skill of imagination as children is so that we have a creative outlet.
In an article from HuffPost, life coach Lamisha Serf-Walls says, “Scientists and creative artists have an amazing gift for thinking outside the box and allowing their imaginations the freedom to grow and evolve their thoughts, many of which have created products that have changed the way we live entirely.” That means, by actively practicing the skill of creativity and imagination, we are actually teaching our brains to alter the way we think. In doing so, we can find new methods, explore new boundaries and grow in more expansive ways (and as human beings).
What happens when we give our brains the space it needs to be creative? A-ha moments.
You know the ironic saying, “you have your most profound thoughts in the shower?” That’s because it’s kind of true. By allowing our brains to take breaks from our analytical tasks and indulging in a spurt of creativity throughout our day, it gives us the chance to go back to our task at hand with a newfound clarity. It could be anything from tackling the task in a new way or simply looking at the task with a fresh set of eyes.
So why is it so important to be creative when you’re an entrepreneur?
Well, for starters, an entrepreneur is all about looking at the world in a new way and seeing what’s missing in it. To become an entrepreneur, you need to be in touch with your imagination in a way that not many people are. And to be an entrepreneur, you can’t be afraid of taking risks. After all, if no one took risks on their ideas, well, we would have a lot less startups, companies, and innovations out there today.
“Imagination and innovation are always linked together,” says fellow entrepreneur, Mary Stallone.
“The mind of an entrepreneur typically has to revolve around brand new ideas and brand new opportunities to move the business in a forward direction,” Stallone goes on to say. The beginning of starting a business can be the most exciting part for many entrepreneurs. It’s a time when their minds can wander without boundaries or restrictions. It’s a time full of conversations with colleagues, family, and friends about what could work and what’s unrealistic, but super fun to explore anyway.
It’s all about thinking outside the box.
As the funnel of ideas narrow to what the business will actually become, that’s when things start to get a little more mundane. Many entrepreneurs are known as serial entrepreneurs for that exact reason. After getting the business up and running, many entrepreneurs sell their company and have someone else run it so that they can move onto the next big idea and, of course, start imagining again.
How do you expand your imagination? Ask your imagination!
But if that’s too difficult, consider naturally creative activities such as reading a fictional novel, doodling, journaling, playing games, and having meaningful conversations. You could also explore practicing a creative visualization to really elevate your vision! And, of course, daydreaming out of a window has never gone out of style.
So if you feel stuck as an entrepreneur and find yourself looking for answers in self-help books written by other entrepreneurs, the answer might be as simple as taking out a blank sheet of paper and a colored pencil. Starting from scratch on something new. It’s guaranteed to help reignite that spark you had when you first started your journey. Give yourself permission to spend hours upon hours exploring your creativity again because, let’s face it, you make the rules now.