Personal Development: Creativity

I have been doing a lot of personal developement around Creativity the last few months.

It started with painting. While others were panic buying toilet paper, I started to stock up on art supplies. I knew, I would have a natural coping mechanism and have long used painting as a technique for mental health. It’s an incredible feeling to create something. It’s a solitary space to let my thoughts wander while at the same time be full of intense focus. It’s a project where I’m the only stakeholder and its a safe space to experiment, make mistakes and fail. I try to make time every day to paint.

A few years ago I used painting as a way to cope with work. At work there are many stakeholders and I needed to be less precious about my ideas. I enjoyed having a mental space where I was 100% in control and without commercial interests. I found that it allowed me to leave the artist at home and make better business decisions. I fell in love with a kind of creative freedom that is difficult to impossible to achieve with a team of stakeholders.

Running Product at a startup studio is a wild experience. Instead of thinking about one company with a small group of stakeholders, I’m currently working on 4 companies nearing launch, 3 more in the early development stage, a handful of early experiments, 2 portfolio companies that have spun out and stakeholders for each. I sometimes fall back on parking my creativity in favor of raw execution. It requires a lot of trust in the people around you and doesn’t give you the affordances of Deepwork or obsessing over a single problem space. I don’t have a singular enough focus to have shower ideas.

My next personal development project is to bring creativity back into my product development process. I’m at the early stages of reading and cataloguing things that have worked well in the past. I’m better at managing my time and making the space for creative work. I hope to develop a practice of deepwork.

I’ve tried so many tools, systems and apps the last few weeks and I finally feel like I’m settling into the next stage of my process; making the time, practicing and flexing my creativity muscles in the workplace.