5 Reasons Why You Stink at Being an Innovator
#1 Your muscles are weak:
Your brain, while not technically a muscle, acts like one. The more you exercise your mind the stronger it gets, the more you don’t the weaker it gets. This is especially true for your innovation muscles. The more you intentionally exercise your innovative mind and give it creative fuel, the stronger it gets. Whether you feel totally lacking in innovation skills like thinking differently, creative problem-solving and critical thinking, or you see yourself as a master innovator, you have the ability to get stronger. You just have to be intentional and consistent. Find resources, tools and sparks of inspiration that help you get the mental exercise you need to be a strong Everyday Innovator that makes an impact.
Quick Tip: Schedule 5-minutes every morning to warm up your innovative mind with a simple activity like journaling or mind-mapping. If you do this every morning you’ll feel the difference all day long.
#2 Don’t believe in yourself:
What stops you from being a strong Everyday Innovator isn’t talent, skill or even time, it’s belief. Interacting with tens of thousands of people across the globe, I’ve come to realize that the level of belief in your own innovator identity and abilities is the biggest determinant of how innovative you are in your work and life. Belief guides actions, habits and behaviors. If you believe you “don’t have a creative bone in your body,” your brain will do everything to validate that belief. You’ll see obstacles first, give up easily, and miss the opportunities staring you in the face. If you believe you “are an Everyday Innovator that can creatively tackle any situation,” you will find new ways around those brick walls, find creative ways to tackle anything that comes your way and see opportunities where others see obstacles. It all starts with your belief in yourself.
Quick Tip: Create an Everyday Innovator Manifesto that you can read, say, even sing every day. A manifesto is a powerful way to change your beliefs. And every time you hear that negative internal chatter pop up you can say the phrases in your manifesto and begin to turn that chatter and your beliefs around. If you don’t know where to start, get the October edition of the Everyday Innovators digital magazine and join the thousands of Everyday Innovators that use ours.
#3 Too busy mimicking others
You see the covers of Fast Company magazine, read the articles about disruptive innovators, and listen to podcast interviews with people like Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley stars. Then you mimic their morning routines, mantras, or working styles to little or no results. In fact it does nothing but demoralize you because even with all that effort, you don’t feel like an innovator. In my twenty-five years of work and research I’ve come realize one important truth: being innovative is universal, BUT how you innovative is unique to you. In fact, there are 9 styles of innovation and each of us possess two power styles and one dormant style. So, stop mimicking how others innovate and start unlocking your unique and powerful innovation style. It will make your efforts to innovate easier, less stressful, and much more fruitful.
Quick Tip: Put two columns on a blank piece of paper. On the left write, “not my best self,” and on the right write, “my best self.” Think about moments or experiences that match both. Write down those down: what was the situation, how did you behave, what held you back, what helped you thrive? In filling the page you’ll discover how you innovate best and begin to see ways to apply that to your day-to-day life. Take the guess work out by taking the Innovation Quotient Edge Assessment and discover your Everyday Innovator style.
#4 Too frustrated spinning your wheels to even try
I get it, you’ve got three pages of to-dos, three people giving you deadlines, and you are tired of continually hitting that insurmountable brick wall. Why bother, right?! It’s so easy to get stuck in that hamster wheel and lose motivation and site of what’s possible. You stop seeing how you can work smarter to get through those to-dos with less stress. You stop seeing how there are actually many ways around, under, or even through that brick wall. You get stuck, and with every turn of that hamster wheel your motivation to think differently goes down. Instead you move into a mindset of “keep your head down and just get it done.” Unfortunately that mindset only makes things worse. The key to getting off the hamster wheel is to stop, assess, and ask yourself new questions. Here’s the kicker, part of the reason you can’t get off the hamster wheel of hell is that you keep asking the same questions about how to get off, and then get the same answers that got you on the hamster wheel to begin with. Questions in equals answers out. If you don’t change the questions you ask yourself, you’ll never find the answers that will help you ignite innovation and thrive.
Quick Tip: Get into the habit of asking different questions. I like to ask inciting questions — ones that stir the pot, make me uncomfortable and force me to think differently. Questions like “what if I did the opposite of what I usually do?” Or, “if my ten-year old self solved this without all my baggage and curse of knowledge, what what would they do?” And one of my favorites, “what if all the assumptions about how I have to do things is wrong, then what would I do?” You’ll be amazed at how a small shift in questions totally transforms your answers and outcomes.
#5 Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the stars to align
If only things worked this way. Let’s face it, if you are waiting for everything to be perfect — to have all the experience, all the confidence, and all the right circumstances — you would never do anything. You have to move before you have all the facts. You have to take that bold action when you still feel uncomfortable. You have to leap when you aren’t totally sure where you’ll land. You have to make your own stars and your own path.
Quick Tip: If you get stuck in “over-thinking” or struggle to take risks, practice with little risks and decisions. Find small ways to make decisions that move you forward and tiny risks that allow you to build your risk muscles. I believe courage is just fear combined with action. Stop waiting, start acting. And, get yourself assess to the top innovation tools so you can practice with the best and build your confidence muscles too!