Something occurred to me today -- creativity is a messy job.
Kids are considered the most creative, free-spirited creatures around. And they're filthy. I know, I have 3 of them. Their creativity comes through, not because they aren't afraid to break the rules, but because they don't even know the rules...yet. They try. They fail. They try something else. The shrug it off. They get elbow deep. They take risks they don't even know they're taking.
Adults don't like to get dirty. Most of us are taught that messy is bad. We like to be safe. We like rules and structure. We like nice, clean, squeaky solutions that work the first time. We don't like failure or mistakes. Or even letting other people make mistakes.
But safe stinks. It's boring, bland, not memorable, not compelling and it doesn't sell. If you can recall a TV ad or book, it's because it stood out above all the other noise, and somehow grabbed you. How may takes, versions, revisions - mistakes - did it likely take to get to that finished product? What a dull world this would be if we only accepted our very first effort.
The only way to truly be creative, though, is to be willing to try new things, take amazing risks, and fail gloriously. We have to be willing to dive deep into an issue and get dirty, often looking stupid or awkward.
Aside from being creative, there's another role we all play: letting others be creative. Do people around you feel comfortable trying new things? Or looking for new processes, new technologies and new ideas? And what's your reaction if it blows up?
You have to try new things, and let others do it as well. And, unless you're really good, and incredibly lucky, most of those new things will fail and be messy. Be proud of your messiness.