Chief executives are essentially paid to make a few big decisions each year.

Making effective decisions requires us to hold a long-term outlook. To keep a future vision, we need to be able to rise above today’s whirlwind and see beyond what’s in front of us.

Visioning is not an easy task. The demands of now are pervasive and unrelenting.

How do we meet these challenges and push far beyond them?

We ask big questions, challenging our perception of what’s possible.

When we ask different questions, we often find different answers. We begin to access more of our creative potential. In so doing, we find better solutions and rise above the pressing problems of today that seem insurmountable.

Creativity isn’t something we do, but rather something that unfolds of its own when the conditions are appropriate.

Trying to be more creative is a sure way to limit our creativeness. Instead, we need to eliminate the blocks to our inner creativity and watch it flow more freely into our businesses.

My extensive inquiry into the nature of creativity illuminated that while we can’t force creativity, we can cajole and entice it into being.

Here are ten ideas on how to set up the conditions that allow creativity to flow into your work.

1. Stay relaxed, stay centered.

Breathe deeply and from your diaphragm. When the mind is too excited, the inner resources related to creative output are generally unavailable.

By entering a relaxed, centered state, you increase the chances of aligning to your inner brilliance.

2. Eliminate distractions.

When you’re looking to enter a creative state, and you’re working at your desk, be sure to close your email program and shut off your cell phone. Turn off the ringer on your landline too. If possible, close your office door.

You’re trying to eliminate some of the endless distractions that continually present themselves.

3. Get out of the office.

Our business culture often assumes if you’re not in the office, you’re not working. But how many creative ideas come to you while staring at a computer screen?

As many creative geniuses have attested, the creative impulse often presents itself while taking a shower, going for a relaxing drive or a quiet walk, reading poetry or a novel—anything that gets the mind to wander.

Perhaps there’s a reason why we have heard of great ideas being sketched out on a paper napkin in a coffee shop.

4. Move your body.

Physical stagnation often hinders ideation. Get your body moving. Shake your body out. Jump up and down. Smile. Play like you did as a kid.

Break through stagnation by generating motion in your body.

5. Align to beauty.

Immerse yourself in nature, enchanting music, or any genuine form of beauty.

Beauty uplifts the soul and helps create the necessary conditions for the creative impulse to manifest.

6. Clear your mind.

Be willing to let go of everything you’re doing. Our belief systems and “paradigm blindness” blocks our ability to see things in new ways.

Let go of how you and others perceive the world and view the problem from a clean mental slate. Learn how to adopt a beginner’s mind.

7. Facilitate open dialogue.

Most discussions in business are more like debates where each person tries to persuade the other into his or her way of seeing things.

In On Dialogue, Quantum physicist David Bohm introduced the idea of “dialoguing” where a group of people willingly let go of their perceived notions and seek to find shared meaning.

Lead your meetings with a sense of openness and collaboration in a search to find shared meaning.

8. Maintain a positive attitude.

When faced with a problem, start with the assumption that there is a solution and that you have the inner resources to uncover it. You’ll increase the chances of aligning to the answer.

To foster a happy workplace, first focus on your outlook and attitude toward yourself, your business, and your team.

9. Come from a place of humility.

Humility is a universal quality of the creative genius. It’s also one of the two defining qualities of Jim Collins’ Level 5 Leaders.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a real genius who takes credit for the creative work he or she produces. Instead, these individuals look at themselves as mere conduits for the creative impulse rather than its originators.

Most of these geniuses look to some form of a “Higher Power” as the Source of their creative efforts.

10. Be patient.

The Muse often appears at the most unlikely time and place. Stay ready. Stay open. And be patient. The creative impulse is not a personal phenomenon.

You’re tapping into a universal field of consciousness that transcends the understanding of the human mind. When the conditions are appropriate, the solution will present itself.

Creativity is our natural state when we remove the barriers to its manifestation. Keep this in mind and create an inspired work life.

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