How to build your creative confidence

How to build your creative confidence

Are you a creative person?  

Chances are, you had an immediate, instinctive answer to that question. If you’re a designer, writer or in another profession that’s typically deemed “creative,” you’re probably thinking yes! I’m a creative!  

Or maybe you shine at skills like bookkeeping or management. If that’s you, you might have gone your whole life believing you’re not one of those ‘creative people.’ But the distinction between creativity and other types of work isn’t nearly as clear as you might think.  

In fact, thought leaders like Bruce Nussbaum, author of Creative Intelligence, and David Kelley of impact-oriented design company IDEO believe all work can benefit from creativity. We just need to overcome our fears and tap into creativity with confidence.  

What Is creative confidence?  

Creativity isn’t the domain of a special, gifted few. We all have the power to think and work creatively. It’s just that it’s far too easy to lose confidence in this ability.  

For many of us, this happens early in life. In a famous TED Talk, David Kelley talks about how experiencing a sense of failure or judgment in even one creative endeavour, such as a school art project, easily puts many people off creativity for life.  

When they don’t see the outcomes they expected, people may take this as evidence they’re not creative. They learn that in the future, they shouldn’t even try.  

Of course, we’re not suggesting that everyone reading this article take up oil painting or interpretive dance (unless you want to). Creativity is so much more than skill in one specific medium, like sculpture or saxophone.  

When we talk about building your creative confidence, we mean embracing your creative intelligence. This is a framework that can be applied in a wide range of situations.  

What is creative intelligence?  

Creative intelligence is a unique, flexible, play-oriented way of approaching complex challenges. This way of thinking breeds innovation in nearly any discipline, from engineering, to human resources, to bioethics.  

At its core, creative intelligence is about playfulness, experimentation, bold thinking and a willingness to fail. In his book Creative Intelligence, Bruce Nussbaum outlined five core competencies of creative intelligence, or CQ. 

The Five CQ Competencies  

  • Knowledge mining: The ability to make new connections between knowledge you already have, especially in unexpected ways.  
  • Framing: How do you see the world in a unique, individual way? Knowing your frame of reference allows you to reframe topics and situations to get fresh ideas. 
  • Play, not problem-solving: Why not turn that challenge into a game? Play is all about a risk-taking, experimental mindset, and a willingness to fail as you try implementing those bold new ideas.  
  • Making: To be creative, you must embrace the process of making things. That also means learning new skills, tools and disciplines to do it. 
  • Pivoting: The creative process doesn’t stop once you’ve started implementing a new idea. Even after you start creating, keep evolving and improving on your original concept.  

Building your creativity  

Regaining creative confidence can be scary. But remember, the whole point is to be willing to fail and have fun experimenting!  

Here are two great strategies Nussbaum suggests to tap into your creativity.  

1. Examine what you’re already good at.   

We promise — you’re more creative than you know! Think about the areas where you already shine. Are you a great party planner, budgeter or chef? Even if these skills don’t seem creative, you can apply them creatively in many other ways  

2. Start your portfolio.  

A collection of someone’s past work is the best way to get a sense of their creativity and perspective on the world. Start building your  personal portfolio, like a journal, sketchbook or notion board. Don’t take things too seriously — remember, it’s all about play! 

Creativity helps us work better 

Building creative confidence is all about overcoming your fears of failure and judgment. That will translate into confidence in other areas of your life — both personally and professionally.  

Whether you’re looking to build creative confidence for yourself or your team, LC Extension can help. Check out our offerings today and embrace a passionate, inspired way of working.  

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