Creativity isn’t just what you think, it’s what you do with what you think

My life changed when I realized just how powerful simply showing up and trying things can be.

I remember one time coming into the office and, upon hearing how I liked to dabble with web design during the weekends, my boss asking if I could create a little project for the office. The deal was that if I could learn how to create an online game our customers could play in order to unlock special offers, I’d get a small bonus and an opportunity to keep doing that type of work moving forward.

The problem was: my job had nothing to do with design or development, I was a marketing specialist who spent my time writing web content. The other problem was I only had two days to design and figure out to program the game.

What did I have to lose? In my mind the biggest fear was merely coming up empty handed, maybe letting my teammates down, and wasting a weekend. I got to work immediately, browsing online tutorials and forums to figure out how to program a simple web game.

Come Monday, I had done it. We launched the game and customers absolutely loved it. That one small decision, to try something I had no place trying, changed the way I was perceived at the office. No longer was I just another marketing specialist, I was the kid who could do anything. That turned my entire career around. So much seemed possible suddenly.

Time and time again I’ve learned that showing up and trying something is immensely powerful. It’s the reason I regularly preach the notion that ideas are mostly worthless until we get them out of our heads to see what they can do.

Ideas are worthless until you get them out of your head to see what they can do.

Often what sets one creative person apart from the rest is not only their willingness to be open to new ideas, but their willingness to try things too.

I’ve seen what action can do in my own life, and it’s something I’ll never stop preaching. Even if what you act on doesn’t result in a clear victory, you still learn from the execution. The idea evolves or changes how your brain thinks about similar ideas. When we show up and take action, change is inevitable. It’s only by not showing up, by not trying, that nothing changes.

As an old peer of mine, Jez Burrows, once said: “If you do nothing, nothing happens.”