Creativity and innovation are like muscles – the more we use them, the stronger they get. As kids we were all creative, but over time, so many of us were discouraged in our creative endeavours and eventually focused our energies on more traditional pursuits. In the Hero’s Journey project I will remind you that creativity is a story, a storytelling mind-set a way of thinking and a proactive approach to find new solutions.
We may not all be artists, but we can more creative professionals. Drawing on stories of heroes of past and present, this project hopefully gives you the courage to make a difference in your career, your company and the world around us.
The Story of Innovation
When you hear the word ‘creativity’, what do you think of next? If you are like many people, your mind immediately leaps to artistic endeavors like sculpture, drawing, music, film or dance. You may equate ‘creative’ with ‘artistic’. You may believe that architects and designers are paid to be creative thinkers, but CEO’s, entrepreneurs and innovators are not. Or you may feel that being creative is a feixed trait, like having brown eyes – either you’re born with creative genes, or you’re not.
As business storyteller who has worked for thirty years at the forefront of innovation, i have come to see this set of misconceptions as ‘the creativity myth’. It is a myth that far too many people share. This seminar is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what I call The Hero’s Confidence. And its foundation is the belief that we are all creative.
The truth is, we all have far more creative potential waiting to be tapped. I have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs bring breakthrough ideas to market. And i have also seen that our storytelling tools can produce a new creative mindset in people that can dramatically enhence teir lives, whether they work in the fields of design, education or finance.
At its core The Hero’s Journey confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you. It is the conviction that you can achieve what you set out to do. I think this self-assurance, this belief in your creative capacity, lies at the heart of innovation.
The Hero’s Confidence is like a muscle – it can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience. My goal is to help build that confidence in you. Whether you think of yourself as ‘the creative type’ or not, i believe that making this journey will help you unlock and draw on more of the creative potential that is within us all.
The Hero’s Confidence Now
Creativity is much broader and more universal than what people typically consider the ‘artistic’ fields. I think of creativity as using your imagination to create something new in the world. Creativity comes into play wherever you have the opportunity to generate new ideas, solutions, or approaches. And we believe everyone should have access to that resource.
For much of the twentieth century the so-called ‘creative types’ – designers, art directors, copy writers – were relegated to the kids table, far from serious discussions. Meanwhile, all the important business conversations took place among the ‘grownups’ in boardrooms and meeting spaces down the hall.
But the creative endeavors that seemed fanciful or extracurricular a decade ago have now gone mainstraim. Creativity manifests itself in the business world as innovation. Tech stars as Google, Facebook and Twitter have unleashed their employees creativity to change the lives of billions of people. Today, in every department – from customer service to finance – people have opportunities to experiment with new solutions. Companies desperately need employees’ insights from across the organization.
Most businesses today realize that the key to growth, and even surviving is innovation. A recent IBM survey of more than 1.500 CEO’s reports that creativity is the single most important leadership competency for enterprises facing the complexity of global commerce today. An Adobe Systems poll of five thousand people reports that 80 percent of people see unlocking creative potential as key to economic growth. Yet only 25 percent of these individuals feel that they’re living up to their creative potential in their own lives and careers. That is a lot of wasted talent.
For the people I have worked with, opening up the flow of creativity is like discovering that you’ve been driving a car with the emergency brake on – and suddenly experiencing what it feels like when you release the brake and can drive freely. In my experience, everybody is the creative type. I know that if i can get individuals to rewrite their story about themselves and stick to their Hero’s Journey a while they will end up doing amazin things. They come up with breakthrough ideas or suggestions and develop something truly innovative. They surprise themselves with the realization that they are a lot more creative than they had thought. That early success shakes up their story about themselves and makes them eager to do more.
What I have found is that I don’t have to generate creativity from scratch. I just need to help people rediscover what they already have: the capacity to tell stories – to imagine – or build upon- new – to – the – world stories. But the real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those stories. That combination of thought and action defines the hero’s confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.
It turns out that creativity isn’t some rare gift to be enjoyed by the lucky few – it’s a natural part of human thinking and behavior. In too many of us it gets blocked. But it can be unblocked. And unblocking that creative spark can have far – reaching implications for yourself, your organization and your community. I believe that our creative energy is one of our precious resources. It can help you find innovative solutions to some of our most intractable problems.
The Hero’s Confidence in Action
You don’t have to switch careers to change your story about your own creativity. You don’t have to become a design consultant or quit your job. The world needs more creative financial services professionals, business coaches and policy makers. Better storytellers. Whatever your profession, when you approach it with creativity, you’ll come up with new and better stories and more success. The Hero’s Confidence can inspire whatever work you already do – because you gain a new storytelling tool to enhance your problem-solving practices without having to abandon any of your existing techniques.
People with a powerful story have a greater impact on the world around them. Individuals who come to believe that they can effect change are more likely to accomplish what they set out to do. I call that a ‘quest’ story. People with a quest story set their sights higher, try harder, persevere longer, and show more resilience in the face of failure. When people transcend the fears that block their creativity, all sorts of new possibilities emerge. Instead of being paralyzed by the prospect of failure, they see every experience as an opportunity they can learn from. The need for control keeps some people stuck at the planning stage of a project. With the Hero’s Confidence they become comfortable with uncertainty and are able to leap into action. Instead of resignning themselves to the status quo or what others have told them to do, they are freed to speak their mind and challenge existing ways of doing things. They act with greater courage, and have more persistence in tackling obstacles.
I believe this seminar will help you over come the mental stories that h I old back your creativity. In this journey in Paris i will give you storytelling tools that empower you to pursue new ideas with confidence. The stories, methods and practices that we will discuss are from heroes of past and present in Paris I believe they will help you too.
The Hero’s Confidence Quest
Today my mission is to help as many people as possible to rediscover their creative potential through the power of their storytelling.
Confronted with their newfound creativity people sometimes confide in me that their mother was a dancer, or their father was an architect. They seem to be rationalizing their spark of creative energy, as if they are searching for concrete evidence. What they don’t realize is that their creative potential was always a part of them – not because of any family history or genetic predisposition, but because it is a natural human ability within us all.
The Hero’s Confidence is a way of seeing that potential and your place in the world more clearly, unclouded by anxiety and doubt. I hope you’ll join me in our quest to embrace creative confidence in our lives. Together, we can all make the world a better place.
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project, a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lifes and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.