When teams are hard on themselves, they tend to push themselves even harder and they use language like, “We can grind through it, we can get through this. We just need to roll up our sleeves and get it done.”
That type of thinking doesn’t lend itself to greater creativity or problem solving. Instead, when teams are more creative, they tend to laugh more, they move their bodies more, and they’re using more positive language about themselves and their goals. Creative problem-solving flows out of that mindset much more naturally — and it delivers greater results.
In moments when teams are being hard on themselves, I often help them notice where they’re feeling tension and stress in their bodies. That helps bring a greater awareness to the present moment and to their emotions. It gets them out of their heads and back into the present moment.
Let’s take a look at five techniques that have been proven creativity boosters for my clients.
Pray or meditate for a few moments. Sit quietly with your thoughts, eyes closed and relaxing into the present moment. This helps you to slow down and get present. Insight Timer and Headspace are both helpful tools.
I prepare for all my sessions with clients in this way, before the leadership team arrives. Sometimes I lead my clients through a time of silence as we begin our session — especially if they’re feeling stressed out when they arrive or if things seem to be weighing heavily on them. It helps every time, and creativity flows much more freely afterwards.
Focus on your breathing. Like silence, paying attention to your breath gets you out of the moment and stops all the many distractions and voices in your head. You can focus more on the present moment, because controlling your breath oxygenates your brain. More oxygen to your brain stimulates creative problem solving.
3) Physical Energy Boosters
Every break we take as a team, I ask someone to lead the room in a physical energy booster — something to physically get our bodies moving before we return to our work. It’s always the team’s choice — whatever they want to do, we do.
We’ve done everything from pushups to jumping jacks, yoga, stretching, walking around the building, and even Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose.
I have a mini trampoline in the corner of the Session Room for anyone who might need to get their body moving while we’re discussing an issue. People find it incredibly helpful to restore energy, get blood to the brain, and boost problem-solving skills.
4) Clarity Breaks
Clarity Breaks help you to relax out of your head by taking all those swirling thoughts and voices and getting them down onto paper. When all your thoughts are captured on paper for you to see, you can make better sense of those thoughts and let go of them.
Use gratitude journaling or other forms of journaling as you take a Clarity Break. Expressing gratitude is especially helpful for restoring you to a state of positivity. It also clears your head and brings you back to the present moment.
5) Free Days
Dan Sullivan uses the concept of Free Days in his Strategic Coach program. Free Days are non-work days. No email, no client work, no cleaning up any messes, no professional development. These are days where you’re free to do anything but work and exercise your passions in life.
Free Days are incredibly restorative, and essential for rejuvenation. When you relax your mind and strengthen another part of who you are, you’re able to use that when you come back into your business. You’re stronger, more creative, more impactful, and more present.
Solve Your Toughest Problems Better
If your leadership team is stuck on a problem and unable to get out of your own head, pick one of these techniques and spend a few minutes recharging your brain and your energy. You’ll be surprised how powerful these practices can be. Is your leadership team ready to take your organization to the next level? Let’s talk about your needs!