If you work for yourself, the chances are good that you feel pretty isolated. You might even like it that way, especially if you’re an introvert. I completely understand your position, but I think you’ll find what I have to say particularly interesting, and it’s something you can follow no matter what your personality.
Sociologist Martin Ruef studied 766 graduates of the Stanford Business School to determine how relationships affect innovation-- these graduates were all business owners. Those with the most diverse friendships scored 3 times higher on scores of innovation.
Knowing more people of various backgrounds and with varied ideas is important for your own creativity and innovation. Remember–information and inspiration is power. The more people you know and can bounce ideas around with, the better your creativity will be. You’ll have access to the information and creative flow you need to innovate.
The Importance of Masterminds
Whether you own your own business or you work for someone else, it’s a wonderful idea for you to join or form a mastermind. Masterminds are more than a business buzzword, they’re an essential part of working with other people to form new and better ideas.
A mastermind doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Simply get together with like-minded people, talk about the problems you’re faced with in life and work, and brainstorm ways to solve those problems. Bounce ideas around to foster creativity.
You can get together with local business people and colleagues, or you can join a mastermind online. Some people have formed mastermind groups using services like Skype and Facebook.
Or you may enjoy face-to-face interaction—which you can find using a service like Meetup.com. As I mentioned, this does not need to be a formal thing, the only important thing is that you take the time to work with other people. You can’t have your best ideas if you constantly work in isolation.
Being around People of All Kinds
In addition to a mastermind of other business people, you’ll be amazed at how much creative power you can find just by nature of being around other people. Go to a local pub or coffee shop. Talk to the bartender or barista. Chat with those around you. It’s incredible how much creative fodder can be found when you are out of the house, talking to people with a different point of view, and taking the time to love life.
It’s easy to want to work alone these days, especially if you work from home. But, bouncing ideas around with others really does work. You can’t work in isolation all the time and expect to be masterfully creative. You need to be around other people every once in a while. Learn to appreciate the gifts other people can give you–whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
Don’t Rely on the Approval of Anyone Else
I’m a fan of brainstorming with other people, but you can’t let those other people hold you back. You have to carefully pick and choose who you mastermind with. You don’t want to hang around people who just show up for work-- you don’t want to be around the negative Nellies who always find something wrong. You don’t want to hang out with people who don’t care to innovate.
There’s already something special and different about you, compared with that type of person. You are striving to do better. You want to create more, earn more, and gain more respect. You want to come up with incredible ideas that will change the face of your industry, or even the world.
So, work with others, but not at the expense of having negative people shoot you down. Other people can get jealous. They’re stuck in a rut and they like it that way. These are the people who complain about anything and everything and who will never get ahead. This type of negativity will bring you down and squash your creativity altogether.
Avoid this type of person. If anything at all, use them as an example of what not to be and what not to do. If they criticize you and your ideas, just smile and ignore them.
Don’t take anyone’s criticism personally. Allow criticism to shape what you create, but don’t let it lead you to give up. If someone is always negative and is only there to drag you down, don’t let them affect you.
If someone is really trying to help and offer a different perspective, let that person’s thoughts enter your mind. You can acknowledge and dismiss those thoughts, but only after you’ve weighed them and turned them around in your mind.
As a creative thinker, you’re going to come up against some roadblocks. Some people really dislike change–it makes them uncomfortable. By nature of you being creative, you are going to change things. This can make people squirm in their seat. Don’t let that bother you, because you are meant for bigger and better things.
This is an exciting journey, so you don’t have time to listen to people who only serve to hold you back. Focus on those who will help to move you forward.
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