So many things seem to slow down in the summer: The pace of life, demands from work (if you're lucky), and inner desires to amp up productivity. I remember visiting Taiwan in the uncomfortably hot and humid summers, when my glasses would literally fog up when I walked outside and I would just wanna sit in a cool pool and do nothing. So maybe it's the heat. Or our year-long burnout that finally has a chance to take a breather. Or the sunny blue-skied weather that naturally puts us into vacay mode.
But just because life may be slower than usual doesn't mean your creativity has to be. In fact, it might even give you more headspace and time to let your imaginations run wild!
If you're hoping to let your creativity juices flow while all else stays slow, check out these 7 tips below:
1. Opt outside Alone
Oh, the great outdoors. So many of my own lightbulb moments come from when I walk my dog by this beach park in Southern California, where I get to look out onto expansive oceans, go earthing on fresh grass, and take in the naturally purified air. Solitude automatically shifts us into self-talk and self-reflection mode, and the grounding rhythms of our foot steps invite creativity to flow.
Whenever you feel stuck, find some time to explore the parks or wilderness near you, and give yourself that much-needed quiet space to lure out your inner genius.
2. Go On GMCO Dates
You know how they say "GMTA," or "Great Minds Think Alike"? Of course, I've used this phrase before. But I do challenge it. Confirmation bias -- when we tend to pick up on things we agree with while subconsciously dismissing ideas that we don't believe in -- is so real. And despite me being conscious of this, it's still so hard to work around! But I know I have to, because when I only stick around people that think the exact way I do and know more or less the same things I know, I don't learn much. And it just makes me more narrow-minded and rigid in my ways. No good.
On the other hand, I've realized that differences are what challenge me to go further and dig deeper. For example, while it's flattering for my self-confidence when people sing praises to me, constructive criticism is what teaches me something new about myself and my work. And while it's reassuring when others validate my ideas, seeing people's unique viewpoints is what pushes me to think outside my box.
Do you feel the same, too? I know it's more comforting to chill with people who just get you. But for your self-growth and creativity, hang out with someone who challenges you this summer. Or someone who inspires you. Or even somebody who you don't get along with, because that's a sign you guys have deep differences that you can learn from! And try to go openminded, not to be understood, but to understand. Not focused on preaching or converting, but on learning and questioning what you know to be true.
It's about YOU and how you can broaden your lenses to see farther and gain profound revelations.
Oh, and the GMCO stands for "Great Minds Challenge Others."
3. Travel somewhere new
From Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., to Jane Goodall, some of our greatest influencers have drawn key inspirations from their travels. Although photos are pretty to look at, they never do the full experience justice, because it's that firsthand immersion that can give you new eyes. It's the little things you encounter. The simple moments spent elsewhere. The discomfort of feeling estranged. The people you meet who've been molded differently than you have (GMCO!).
Where can you venture out to this summer that is totally new to you? It doesn't have to be somewhere exotic across the globe. And you don't have to go alone. But just get out there and try to explore someplace foreign to you, and try to be as present as you can when you do.
4. Check what your competitors are up to
Some of us hate competition. But the reality is that competition pushes us past our own limits so we can constantly learn, develop, and grow. It keeps us on our toes. And in turn, we may then offer the same source of motivation for others. This means, in the big picture, a healthy amount of chronic competition can actually be good for society, because it ensures that we all bring our best and continually innovate. It's not about individual ideas or people winning or losing, but about finding the best solutions to help our planet win.
If you find yourself in creative block, check in on your competitors and see what they're up to. Perhaps they're up to something unexpected that can inspire new ideas within you.
5. Listen To The School of Greatness Podcast
Stumbling upon The School of Greatness podcast was one my greatest gifts this year. Every week, Lewis Howes, the lifestyle entrepreneur and host of the show, interviews top thinkers, change makers, and professionals in various industries. By asking intentional questions, Howes extracts the juices from every guest to show us how different people define success, live meaningfully, and achieve greatness.
6. Read Conscious Company and Fast Company
Mission-based reads like Conscious Company can motivate you to turn your grand visions into reality, and entrepreneurship publications like Fast Company can teach you how to let your ideas gain traction and grow. Learn from the best, believe that you can do it, too, and get inspired on how to get to where you want to go.
7. Let yourself dream big
If you ever get stuck due to motivation levels of zero, remember why you set out to do what you do. Create vision boards, dump out all of your thoughts onto a poster-sized paper, think about what you want your life to look like in five to ten years, and let yourself dream up all of the possibilities you have with your future. Envision yourself thriving, becoming the best person you can be, and transforming your dreams into reality.
As your determination bubbles up with hope, jot down everything that comes to your mind so you can regain momentum to move forward again.
If you can't seem to gain the motivation and momentum needed to reach your milestones, let me help. As a Coach, I support change makers like you in thrive in all areas of their lives so they can best serve the world.