Popularizing the structure of creativity
I grew up in a creative, entrepreneurial household. Ever since I can remember, certainly by age seven, I was curious about how to come up with a new idea. What were the creative processes/ways to think that would enable someone to create a continuous stream of new ideas? The passion to understand the answer to this simple question led to my majoring in psychology at Dartmouth, and when I graduated college, to spend ten years interviewing experts in the field of applied creative thinking.
Ultimately, this passion led to my becoming a full time “ideation” (or brainstorming) facilitator, keynote speaker, and then co-founder of an innovation agency called Growth Engine.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
I knew that I wanted to someday write a book about my experience in applied creativity. Because I had become an expert in creative thinking by my late thirties, being featured and authoring articles about creativity in business, it was a true dream come true (and life-changing experience) when the American Management Association and their publishing division, Amazom, asked me to write a book on business creativity. Titled, 99% Inspiration, Tips, Tale and Techniques for Liberating Your Business Creativity, ultimately they selected it as their membership offering/book of the year and mailed to all of their 52,000 members worldwide. I was forty years old when it was published.
Since the publication of 99% Inspiration, I have written another applied creativity book: Idea Stormers, How to lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs, and a third one was published in November 2015: 21 Days to a Big Idea.
What were the specific obstacles that you faced?
Writing was difficult. Getting the contract was easy. Accepting one’s mission in life can be a scary proposition. To step out in the world, you have to be willing to say, ‘This is what I think, know, discovered and invented.’ To do that can be a scary proposition. It was tremendously scary for me.
I had to accept my role in the world, acknowledge it and then share it with the world. To do that, for me, was almost like death.
Sometimes the things we know and love are tremendous learning opportunities. Because I love what I am doing so much, it got me through my fears.
What helped you get through them?
The big thing was the love of the subject matter. It was the passionate, obsessive love of creativity and the creative process. The love I had was greater than the fear.
Were there people that tried to discourage you?
I did hear people say, ‘Get a job, what are you doing?’ People very close to me were supportive. That was the key thing.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
It changed my life. It was such a struggle at first but I did it, I’m happy to be relaxed within myself. It changed my life.
The first book was sent to the American Marketing Association as a membership offering. The phones were ringing off the hook. It dramatically and radically improved my business. It allowed me to relax a lot and now the pressure was off. There was a moment of validation and realization that I had done what I set out to do.
After meeting with the publisher, I walked down the street and felt incredibly light and happy. There was a moment of relaxation, light, wonder and happiness.
There’s a reason why we’re so obsessive about it [our dreams]. It is because it’s part of your life’s plan.
When I leave, I want to feel that I did what I was put here to do. It’s more important than money, fame… anything. Those are close seconds.
What advice would you give to others contemplating finally living their dream?
I think everybody’s different. There is a dream in all of us. Like creativity, it’s part of life’s plan. Discover it and see what form it will take.
There can be a divine discontent that says, I am meant to do something and I’ve got to do it. The process, challenge and difficulty is figuring it out and the form that it will take. It’s hard to see the patterns looking forward, but looking back, you can see how everything is tied in to manifest what you were meant to do.
To learn more about Bryan and the creative process, visit his site here.