by Jackie Simmons

Our ability to be creative is by far the most compelling and least understood aspect of the human mind. Long kept out of academic and business discussions, we now know that creativity and the ability to use it in problem-solving is the number one determiner of success and happiness, no matter how you define them. But how do you become more creative?

Creativity begins with simply giving yourself permission to do three things. First is the permission to see something that isn’t there yet. You probably do this all the time already, you just didn’t realize it. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere and you decided which route to take? Surprise! Your ability to make the decision was completely dependent on your ability to visualize the possible outcomes, obstacles, and advantages of each route. Now that you’ve granted yourself the first permission, let’s move on.

The second permission is to say something that hasn’t been said yet. This sounds simple, until you start to notice how much of what passes for conversation is mostly a regurgitation of information from other sources. Take a moment and think back over the past few hours/days and take note of your original thoughts. How many of them were actually shared with others? It is not an increase in original thinking that will expand your creative abilities, it is the speaking of them into the world. You will build your creative muscles faster by sharing your original thoughts and ideas with others. Granting this permission might include writing a blog, posting on Facebook, or even submitting articles to publications like the GSCA newsletter.

The third permission that will awaken and strengthen your creativity is to go somewhere new and spend time with people you do not know. But there’s a caveat, choose your places and people wisely. This is important because it is in community that we expand or contract the most. I’m a big fan of choosing and building communities with people who are “like-minded enough to get me” and “open-minded enough to stretch me”. My personal favorites are the Greater Sarasota Coaches Alliance monthly meetings and the annual Florida Creativity Conference.

Please join me at either one or both, I’d love to hear your original thoughts and whatever topic you give yourself permission to share. What I’ve learned is that building my creative community is the fastest path to growing my business and increasing my satisfaction with my life.

Jackie Simmons, Organizer of Creativity-SRQ, The Self-Empowerment and the Empowering Women Networks on