We’ve all been there. You’re roped into a brainstorming session at the very moment your hair caught on fire from that looming time sensitive project that’s due in 15 minutes.
You’re expected to sprinkle some of your magic creative dust in the room and come up with a ton of stellar ideas that will change humanity and rock the world for Jesus. It’s all happening on-the-fly and your brain is melting into slo-mo.
Who cares about your other projects and never-mind that you weren’t given a heads up on what’s coming down, you’re a creative!
Come on, they say, show us what you’ve got!
Out of thin air, you should be able to fabricate the creative goods, right?
The session is dripping with grandiose plans for reaching the world for Christ but with budgets so small that you have to zoom in 5,000% to find them.
Been there. Many times.
As creatives, what should our attitude and approach be when it happens?
1. Put it all on the table. Don’t hold back. Be vulnerable. Take the risk. Be willing to suck up that horrible chance that someone might say “I hate it.” If you aren’t occasionally getting this reaction, you may not be stretching yourself enough (or those around you). Any person that can’t handle this simply can’t be invited back to the party. Sorry. By definition, creatives are placed on God’s good green earth to smash (lovingly of course) those empty imaginary boxes.
2. Be willing to share your not-so-great ideas. I’ve never known a single really good creative or strategic thinker who doesn’t regularly have bad ideas. There is something incredibly freeing about getting to that peaceful place in life where you’re willing to just throw it out there without fear that someone won’t like it. There will always be that “someone.”
3. Make zero assumptions. Nothing stifles creativity and shuts down communication more quickly than this.
4. Question everything. You never know what being inquisitive might yield or lead to next.
5. Give everyone permission to “think out-loud,” or “brainstorm,” or share ideas that may be “totally whacked out.” When you do, they will be more inclined to speak freely which always yields the best ideas.
What empty imaginary boxes have you smashed lately? How would you encourage others to handle it when thrust into these kind of sessions?