What happens when we freak others out when overusing our strength of creativity? 4 tips to shift the experience


What happens when we freak others out when overusing our strength of creativity?

4 tips to shift the experience

I’m not sure about you but I thrive on creativity. It happens to be one of my top strengths. It energizes me. I get quite excited and idea generation just inspires me. I particularly like it when I’m working with others and able to use creativity to bring out strengths and ideas in others. I just love working with others who think this way as well…oh the ideas and possibilities (eeek exciting!!!!!).

What I find energising in this process, can be de-energising for others - excitement and injection of energy cannot often be how other experience working together or approaching the generation of an idea. My ability to jump across multiple ideas, make links, put things in to action quickly, and show my excitement (sometimes with little dances, clapping of hands with excitement and what can be interpreted as a loud voice when I cheer or get excited about ideas) can, well, freak others out! Have you ever experienced this as a creative?

When we overuse our strength of creativity, we can freak others out! This awareness is close to me as I recently tuned into this experience with a group I was working with on a project. With creativity a strength I turn to frequently, what comes with this is a natural movement towards greeting ideas and looking at things differently. I also have a tendency to move between lots of projects really quickly. This excites and energisers me. I feel motivated, excited, engaged, and totally immersed in the experience. BUT this way of being can be experienced as de-energising for many people around me who don’t have creativity as one of their strengths (realised or unrealised) and actually find working this way quiet de-energising. Hello tiredness, low engagement, fear, worry, anger, withdrawal, avoidance and attempts to shift the agenda and approach! They really want to run the other way! And to be honest for some the strength of creativity triggers fear. The messages I was non verbally getting across the table were strong in the situation I experienced recently - hands folded, silence or immediate agreement but with little to no feedback, questions, or adaption. The ‘too quick to agree' with me response was a big (HUGE actually) sign (my ideas were good but they weren’t that good!). As too was the silence. These were not silence moments oozing with anywhere near the same excitement as me. In fact, most in the group had shut down! And what was a sign later was the back channelling and complaining outside of the meeting about the work we doing to others. If the silence wasn’t already a hint at creativity freaking people out, then this behaviour certainly was!

Courage and venerability in hand I’ve investigated some ways that I can dial down my creativity. This in itself has been really fascinating to explore, especially with a curious lens.

It was a conversation with Simone Taffe, a dear friend and colleague who also shines in the strength of creativity that sparked an inspiring conversation that illuminated some tips on how to approach creativity with others who may find the energy and excitement associated to someone who is drawn to the strength of creativity a bit daunting. You might find these useful.

Top four tips to dial down creativity and not freak others out:

  1. Speak Quietly - remembering that when we get excited about ideas sometimes the volume of our voice raises (I’ll put my hand up to this one) and we need to be aware of this as our excitement can be misinterpreted or become intimidating to others. Be calm with our moment of excitement, bringing awareness that for some people creative excitement is not experienced or viewed in the same way. And know, you know who you can really celebrate ideas with that include those crazy happy dances!

  2. A creative mind jumps arounds between ideas and becomes inspired in the moment (we love this in fellow creatives), but it is best that we maintain focus and don’t change the topic when working with those who find creativity in any form being used with them uncomfortable. It might be better to stay with the intention to share one idea at a time and record our own thinking and ideas in a more private way (like a note book) that we can connect back to later.

  3. Best not to share all ideas at once on the spot. This really freaks our colleagues out, and well won’t feed into our excitement either. So best tip is to share one idea early with all, then make an appointment to discuss and bounce around interpretations, perspectives, questions, ideas, and other possibilities associated to the items. This honours think time and promotes engagement (my experiment with this so far has been a significant shift from silence and crossed arms to every member in the team coming with thoughtful ideas and contributions…and smiles plus appreciation for being able to have a voice).

  4. When discussing an idea even though we might be ready to move forward (in fact we are probably already 35 steps ahead in our mind as creatives) when discussing the one idea ask for options, questions, and thoughts so that you can draw out problems and worries up front. Workshop these in detail so that all risks can be managed, and ideas can move forward.

I’ve been really enjoying exploring these four tips. I can see after a few months of dialling down my strength of creativity and being aware of who I’m working with across different projects that there has been a shift in relationships and a sense of belonging for all in a team. I’ve also noticed a nice slowing down in myself, which has been organic but so beneficial to the think time and inclusion of voices on a project…especially those who have been previously quiet or fearful and displaying this through resistance or anger. In this process I’ve also become very aware of who y fellow creatives are and who I can unleash all the comes with the energy of this strength. Knowing this means I balance between working with different groups while also being true to who I am and what motivates me.

So, as you navigate the strength of creativity, enjoy the opportunity to consider how you can reconnect those who have reacted to your creativity in a way that may have indeed freaked you out!

I’d love to know what you think or experiment with based on the ideas of this post.