What does it mean to be creative? Let me take you back to our kindergarten days when we ran around painting with our fingers or daydreaming in class or getting lost in our own fairytale world as we played “pretend”. As we got older, we classified ourselves by saying, “Oh no I’m not creative” if we aren’t painting a masterpiece or writing a novel. I am here to tell you that’s not the only way to be creative! Here are 5 ways to be more creative because hello, creativity is calling.

1. Change your mentality. The first step in being creative is having an open mind. You must tell yourself that you can be creative and that you can do anything you set your mind to. You cannot be afraid or hold back, even if you fail you still tried and that is enough. By having the mindset “I am creative” you will allow yourself the privilege to do so. Plus, creativity is fun!

2. Try something new! This is an obvious answer but it’s amazing what happens when you decide to take that step and try something. This could be looking at your work process and asking yourself, how can I try something new that would make me more efficient. Give it a try! Did you know that Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class in college which influenced the design of Apple? You never know unless you try.

3. Re-discover something that you loved as a child. Take a minute and think about something you loved to do as a child. Maybe I already mentioned it in the opening paragraph. Were you an avid reader? Did you have a lemonade stand? Did you build with Lego’s? Why not try doing these things again? For me, I loved coloring, so I have some coloring books lying around when I need a little break from my life; and I feel so much better after because it just feels good to be a kid again. That’s a special key that most forget is the things we did as a child were worry-free, so take some time to feel that again. Feel the possibility and the creativity.

4. Keep a record of creative ideas. Write down the creative ideas that you have. You can keep a journal or even just add it to the notes section on your phone. Start recording some ideas that pop into your head, it might be something you want to try in the future or a new work process or a new way to gain more customers, or it could just be a screenshot of a piece of art you like or a puzzle you want to buy. It could be an innovative way to show your spouse or partner or friend how much you care. If you keep a record of it, you are more likely to remember it. And when you go back and reflect, you will feel inspired to continue being creative.

5. Share your creativity with others. You don’t have to be creative alone (unless you really want to). Creativity can and should be shared with others. Find a friend, family member, or colleague that can be a creativity buddy. Someone who will remind you of the ways you are creative, or share in new experiences, or help you follow through on being creative. Consider inviting a friend, family member or teammate to join you in a new idea or improving something.

These are only 5 ways for you to start being creative or using your imagination to innovate. As a part of creativity or using your imagination, you can change and adjust them according to your plan and goals. You have the freedom to discover the great opportunities that await you in the creative and imaginative realm. Don’t limit yourself. Reach for the stars, the galaxies, and even the heavens. While this practice can have a significant impact on you, personally, being creative at work can also be a huge asset to your team or organization. So, start with yourself, and carry it forward. Creativity and the use of your imagination are calling, will you answer?

Danielle Moran, Becoming Your Best Team Member

I have heard, and read some discussions recently on a negative aspect of goals setting, or having a vision of the future.  Their argument rests mainly on the idea that living with a focus solely, or too much, on the future can cause us to miss the present; that living only so as to reach some future destination can cause us to pass by that which is so preciously present and often fleeting. Their reasoning rings of SOME truth and reminds me of an oft-quoted phrase “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.” There is a great deal of truth in the idea that looking only forward or even backward can have an impeding effect on our ability to appreciate the present. There are a few tools and skills that I believe counteract any issues of getting stuck in the future when it comes to our goals and our vision.

The first skill or tool has to do with how we write our vision.  Those who attend our conferences and coaching have heard this before- we should write our vision, which is the best version of ourselves in a role that matters most, in the present tense. For example- “I will be a loving father”, or “ I will be financially independent”, but instead writing them as “I am a loving father”, or “I am financially independent”.  Some have asked us “why write them this way if it isn’t true?”. There a many reasons for doing so but in the context of our current discussion it helps us to live our vision of a future, better self in the present. If part of my vision as a father is “I am a loving father” and I am striving every day to be that then I am filling my days with actions that make that statement true thereby not only allowing me to live in the present, but making that present much richer and more meaningful due to the daily actions of a loving father. As I think about my own children and when evening comes and my kids are trying to find a way out of going to bed or asking for a bedtime snack for the 47 thousandth time, I don’t look forward and think “I will be a loving father”, but I think “I am a loving father” and as a loving father I should take the time to read a few books to them.  There is no future in this, I am taking the actions now, in the present tense.

Another item and a serious game changer for thousands is the skill or tool of Pre-week Planning.  For those who are unfamiliar with this practice, I will explain. For those of you do this on a weekly basis you can attest to its power. Sometime between Friday and Sunday, you would take about 20-40 minutes to review your vision and yearly goals.  Then you would write down in your BYB planner, which is built to facilitate this very activity, the roles in your life which are most important. Once you have your roles written you would consider and write down under each role those action items which would be most important to accomplish in the coming week in order to achieve your vision and goals.  The last step is taking those action items and dropping them into your weekly schedule at a specific time. What you would have just done was take all of the future, all of the mystery and brought it into your present. Your coming week is now filled with items from a desired future focused into moments of present achievement. No longer are you carried downstream by the day to day with wishes of some future self in some future place.  You are leading a life by design, and not by someone else’s design, but by your own design and what could be more present than that.

When that future someday arrives, due to your vision, goals and pre-week planning you will be able to reflect on the past and know that you have lived as presently as anyone could have.

Today is the day—the day when, according to several studies, most people burn out on their New Year’s resolutions and wind up right back where they were last year— the same weight, the same spending habits, the same amount of time spent with family, etc. It can be a frustrating cycle and maybe you can relate to some degree. We understand how difficult it can be to develop goals that are inspiring and actually help you achieve what you ultimately desire. That’s why we’ve developed a process that has worked for thousands of people around the world and it can work for you as well. Fast forward to the end of 2019 and imagine how you will feel when you hit your health, financial, relationship, or business goals. We’re confident it can happen when you use the right process.

The first step in the goal-setting process is to do what less than 1% of the population will do and that is to establish your long-term vision. What contributions do you want to make to others, your organization, your community, and the world? How do you hope others will describe you when they look back on your life? As you contemplate what you are capable of accomplishing, what idea or thought takes your breath away? What are some things you would like to have accomplished in 5 – 10 years from now? These questions should help you come up with a draft of your personal vision. The length of each person’s vision will vary—some may only be a couple of sentences while others may be two or three paragraphs. The vision gives the direction and is generally tied to a feeling or emotion. What really matters is that it is meaningful to you and gives you direction. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not really a vision. This is the first step, figure out where you want to be going with your life.

After writing your vision, the second step is to identify each of your roles and set SMART annual goals. Possible roles in your life might include spouse, parent, your job title, son/daughter, athlete, or friend. Don’t forget about your personal role, which is the MOST important role. It includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of you. Your personal role is crucial because as you care for your individual needs, you’ll tend to be more successful in your other roles.

After determining the various roles, come up with between one and four goals for each role. Each of these goals should be SMART goals. This means that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific. In a goal, we should never see the words “more” or “better,” or any variation of those words. Quantify your goals as much as possible. Your goals should be achievable and stretch you to be slightly uncomfortable. While they should require hard work and dedication, they should be realistic. Lastly, your goals should be relevant to your long-term vision. A couple of examples of SMART goals are: Run a 5k in less than 25 minutes by September 1st OR Go on one family trip together before July 1st.

The third step in this goal setting process is to share your goals. According to one study, you are 33% more likely to achieve your goals when you share them and report back! So, choose a few people who you admire and respect and send them your goals. Then, at the end of the year, send these same people a follow up on how well you did in achieving your goals, along with your goals for the next year. Sharing your goals with others will hold you accountable and motivate you to work towards your best.

The last step to setting achievable and life-changing goals is to put them in a place where you will see them often. Although it’s beyond the scope of this article, pre-week planning is a process when a person takes 20 – 45 minutes at the beginning of the week to schedule their priorities. The most successful people review their annual goals each week as a part of their pre-week planning. Remember, out of sight, out of mind! Keep your goals where you can review them each week.

This will take some effort and a fair amount of energy on your part, but we’re talking about your LIFE! In our research and having trained hundreds of organizations, we’ve found that less than .01% of the population has a written personal vision, annual goals to achieve the vision, and consistently doing some form of pre-week planning. It’s not too bold to say that when you make these consistent habits, they are life-changing!

As you establish your long-term vision, set SMART annual goals (by role), share your goals with others, and put them in a place where you see them often, you will be on the fast track to having your best year ever! In just a few simple steps, you could take a significant leap forward towards becoming the person that you’ve always wanted to be.

Five Keys to Hire the Right Person

Every leader I’ve met wants to hire a contributor who makes the team better. Leaders crave someone who will engage, help the organization, and excel at what they do. One engaged employee can accomplish the same amount as three disengaged employees, so it behooves any leader to get it right the first time. In our experience, there are five keys to hire the right person so that you can sleep well at night:

1. Character: The person should have a track record of honesty and strong relationships. If the person has a history of broken relationships and spotty employment, beware! Odds are the person hasn’t changed and you will only cost yourself a huge amount of time, money, and energy dealing with the problems they bring. In the interviews, they should never blame others, instead they should be accountable for their actions. There are exceptions, but rarely is the risk worth the reward when hiring a new team-member if they don’t have a strong history of character.

2. Be Fun to Work With: If a person isn’t pleasant to be around, it’s just not worth it to bring them on the team. There’s a reason that optimistic sales reps sell 56% more than their pessimistic peers. People perform at a higher level when they are happy, and it only takes one negative person on a team for it to spread like a cancer. If you feel the need to talk yourself into hiring a certain candidate, it’s probably not the right person. When you meet someone, the litmus test is whether you feel better after talking with them.

3. Strong Communication Skills: If a person isn’t responsive in their communication during the application process, imagine what they will be like when they are a team member. Look for someone who is quick to respond to texts and emails, they are upbeat and kind in their communication, and it’s obvious they proof-read their emails before sending them.  They are politely persistent, but not over-bearing in their communication.

4. They Care About Your Success: When they care about the team’s success as much as the leader, they will likely be a high-performer. In the interview, the ideal candidate already knows about the company and ways he or she can contribute and help it be successful. The best candidates will do their homework and know specific ways they can help the team. If the candidate talks about themselves the entire interview, that’s probably the wrong person.

5. Hire for Mindset Over Skillset. The skillset is important, but the mindset is even more important. The assumption is that the person wouldn’t be a candidate if they didn’t already have the skillset and competency to be a contributor. In most cases, it’s easier to find someone with the skillset than it is the mindset. During the interview, it should be obvious that the candidate has a “can do” attitude and that they are a solution finder. To test their mindset, ask the candidate how they would solve one or two major issues that you’re currently dealing with (actual and real challenges). Give them thirty minutes to an hour to come up with some ideas. Don’t look for the right answer, rather look for a person who knows how to solve problems and generate solutions. If they come up with viable solutions, that is a bonus on top of the right mindset.

We’ve trained hundreds of organizations around the world and discovered that a team is only as good as the mindset and skillset of their team members. It will save a leader countless hours and large amounts of money to hire the right person the first time. These are five criteria we always use to ensure we get the best team member possible!

Rob Shallenberger is the CEO of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership. For additional ideas or questions, you can contact Rob at Support@BecomingYourBest.com.

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