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How Do You Stay Creative in the Corporate World?

Updated: Mar 22

i was created to create note on a table top with coffee and pen

Being a creator in a corporate environment can be a huge challenge. When your schedule is driven by deadlines, filled with meetings, and measured by metrics, you can feel like it’s less about the fashion and more about the forecasts. It’s hard to think creatively and innovate wildly when you’re worried about Key Performance Indicators. With all that outside pressure, it’s easy to get pushed into a rut and stay there, even if we grow to hate going to work each day. On the other hand, corporations and brands can offer money, structure, and a mission that we love! The trick is: how do we hold onto our creative spirit in a corporate environment? 

To begin, here's a few must-read books that can help:

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

Illustrator and writer Gordon MacKenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for 30 years and managed to find and keep his creative flow throughout the decades. He teaches you how to disentangle from “the giant hairball” — that mass of entwined rules, agendas, and “that’s how we’ve always done it” — and launch yourself into a juicy creative orbit around the central corporate system.

essentialism by greg mckeown book cover

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will,” McKeown says. Essentialism guides you to strip down your life to what is truly important, honing in on how you can make the biggest impact. McKeown has plenty of inspiring examples and specific methods for self-editing your life. Sacrifices will be made, but you’ll open yourself to freedom, effectiveness and creativity you’ve never experienced before! 

burnout, the secret to unlocking the stress cycle cover

When Emily Nagoski published her book Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, readers approached her over and over again asking her to elaborate on a small section she’d written in it about stress and burnout. So she teamed up with her sister Amelia to write a book about emotional exhaustion and the terrible damage stress does to a body and offer tips for coping. She breaks down the physical mechanics of the stress cycle and describes how we can save ourselves by closing the loop. Read it if you’re at or approaching corporate burnout.

steal like an artist by ausitn kleon

Don’t have time for a lot of reading? Pick up a book or two by Austin Kleon — we recommend Steal Like an Artist and Keep Going). Kleon’s bold style and slim books are easy to read in short bursts and packed full of motivation and inspiration.

the quieter you become the more you can hear girl meditating

How can you increase your creativity while improving your health?

Here what these experts have to say:

meditation can reintroduce you to the part that's been missing girl holding a lotus flower

“Whether you are trying to reconcile conflicting stakeholder priorities, finding a solution to a customer’s issue, or launching a new product line, your solution probably won’t come out of a textbook. But it’s hard to keep having great ideas day after day. What do you do when you run out of good ideas? How do you “get your mojo back”? One increasingly popular solution is mindfulness meditation. Google, Goldman Sachs, and Medtronic are among the many leading firms that have introduced meditation and other mindfulness practices to their employees. Executives at these and other companies say meditation is not only useful as a stress-reduction tool but can also enhance creativity, opening doors where once there seemed to be only a wall. To gain a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of short meditation sessions in boosting creativity, the authors looked first at the literature and then conducted their own experiments. They found that mindfulness mediation works to enhance creativity and innovation, and 10 to 12 minutes of it are enough to boost creativity.”

From Harvard Business Review; by Emma Schootstra, Dirk Deichmann, Evgenia Dolgova

What are your tips for staying creative in the corporate world? Tell us in the comments!


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