How to Balance Running a Business and the Creative Process

How to Balance Running a Business and the Creative Process

How to Balance Running a Business and the Creative Process

The conflict between these two worlds drives many would-be-successful businesses into the ground.

The rush and craziness of business often conflicts with the creativeprocess.

To get deep into a project, you need to slow things down. You need space to think, feel, dabble, and experiment.

The conflict between these two worlds (i.e., business and creativity) drives many would-be-successful businesses into the ground.

As a young entrepreneur, husband, and father of three sons, JordanOverman has had to learn to manage this conflict. He is the owner ofOverride Films, a commercial film company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here’s his process:

1. Spend Time With The Right People

Overman purposefully surrounds himself with people who are “better at both worlds.”

He spends time with people who are more creative than him, and with people who are better at running a business than him.

By doing this, he also gets better at both.

2. Schedule Time for “Passion Projects”

A primary way Overman manages the busyness of work, family life, and creativity is scheduling time for non-business “Passion Projects.”

For Overman, this “slows time down.” It allows him to connect deeply with his art. It keeps him connected to his purpose and keeps things fun. He said:

The creative process is all about slowing time down, about creating “fascination moments,” where, for a brief moment in time, nothing else matters for those experiencing the art.

His own passion projects are he Overman experiences “fascination moments” for himself.

3. Scheduling Time to Reflect

Overman also regularly takes time simply to “reflect.”

Research has found that mental reflection can be a form of self-regulation, which can improved planning, performance, creative problem-solving abilities, facilitate internal locus of control orientations, and lessen anxiety.

4. Capturing Moments as They Are

While explaining his creative process to me, Overman told me a story of recently being in Alabama. He chanced upon a peanut factory while driving around and stopped to check it out.

While there, he met a man named Andre, a worker in the factor who was covered in peanut dust. Overman spent some time talking to Andre andloved how excited Andre was about his work in the peanut factory.

Andre showed Overman a huge mountain of peanuts in the factory, which Overman shot footage and took pictures of (see this link for a picture of Andre standing on the peanut mound).

During these on-the-spot creative moments, which for Overman is more often than not, he forms in his mind what he wants to create “as he sees it happen.” As a formerly professional snow skier, Overman is all about “Freestyle” creativity.

Just as he does when doing a slope-style skiing line, he maps out what he’s creating in real time. While filming, he does this by asking himself the following questions:

  • What’s my end goal?
  • Who is this for?
  • If it’s just for me, how can I have fun with this?

These questions mentally structure how he creates “fascination moments” on the spot and as he goes.

5. Framing the Experience

Overman has a framework to facilitate his creativity. Before any endeavor he asks himself:

  • Who is this for?
  • What I am we trying to convey?
  • How do I make this interesting?
  • What is the feeling that people should being experiencing?
  • How can we visually make this happen?

When he can answer these questions, “The rest falls into place,” he says.

Once he has that structure, he can determine the tools, locations, music, and other features to create the “fascination moments” for those experiencing his art.

6. Involve Client’s Throughout Process

Lastly, Overman loves including his clients in the creative process.

Most of his clients are business-oriented, and thus are “wired differently” than the creatives at Override Films. By asking his clients questions and for feedback throughout the creation process, Overman says he sees their “eyes light up” as they see something they helped create come to life.

For Overman, this is a huge reason he does the work he does. Sharingcreative moments with as many people as possible.


Managing the tension between business and creativity is not easy.

But for many people, it must be done.

How do you do to manage this tension?

How to Balance Running a Business and the Creative Process


How to Increase Your Creativity Using 5 Simple Words

How to Increase Your Creativity Using 5 Simple Words

How to Increase Your Creativity Using 5 Simple Words

It’s simple. There are five 3-letter words that creative people use more than anyone else. If you use these words (or derivatives of them) often in conversations, you must be a creative person. Use a voice recorder when you start a conversation. Record your phone conversations. Watch videos of conversations. Take any 5 minutes (or 1 minute, of whatever you choose) or 500 words (of 1,000, or 200,…). Then count how many times you used those five words. The best part is that you could force yourself to use those words, and through that–you would increase your creativity. Using those words would change how you think.


Uncreative people often think they know everything. Uncreative organizations suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome. Curiosity increases creativity. You don’t know everything. The more you ask “why?” the more you learn new things. The more new things you know–the higher the probability that combining those new insights would give you even more new ideas. Creative people ask “Why?” more.


Uncreative people think about reasons not to do things. Uncreative organizations create processes with steps that lead to “no” more often than to “yes.” The more you say “yes”, the more you (and others) are encouraged to explore new things. Say “yes” and then find out how you would do it. Creative people say “yes” more than they say “no.” Much more.


One of the basic rules for Improv is to use “yes, and…” It is very hard to build new ideas right after finding what’s wrong with another idea. When I took Improv classes, I got on stage, said something, and the other person responded with “yes, and…” she gave me another idea. She built on what I said, and she gave me an opening for my next sentence. “Or” is a dangerous word. It suggests that there is a finite number of options. Do X OR Y. The word “And” suggests there is always another option. By the way, try using the word “and…?” as an open ended question. When someone says something, respond with “and…?” You would be forcing them to think more. Creative people say “And” more than they say “Or.”


Many people in your life would tell you what you cannot do. Why you cannot do it. There are always many reasons something should not be done. There are policies, and processes, and all kinds of things that could go wrong. Creative people think about what they (or you) CAN do. Creative people use “Can” more than they use “cannot.” Whether it’s what they can do, or what others around them can do. Think about why you can do something. Not about reasons why you can’t.


Experimentation is one of the most powerful methods for generating new ideas. Not all ideas originate in the combination of old ideas already in your head. Sometimes the results of an experiment can be surprising and teach you something you never knew. Creative people are always willing to give something a try. They encourage others to try something, in face of doubt.

How should you do it?

Once you recorded yourself talking with someone, listen to 5 minutes of it (or 750 words) carefully, and count how many times you used those specific five words. Don’t count “don’t try this at home” as an instance of using the word “try…” For every time you used one of those five words–give yourself a point. For every time you used to opposite–deduct a point. What did you get at the end?

Do this on a regular basis. Our brains are wired such that we want to improve the results of everything that we measure. That’s why weighing yourself every morning allows you to lose weight faster than if you did that on a less frequent basis. We desperately seek approval, and we get that (even from ourselves) by achieving good results. So the more you count using those words–the more your brain would try (see? I said “try”) to use them more. When your brain tries to force those words into sentences, you would begin to change attitude. You would begin to want to say YES, CAN, TRY, AND ask WHY? More than before, and become more creative as a result. When you use those words towards other people, you would encourage them to be creative as well. When you ask them WHY? you are also asking them to be curious. When you tell them what they CAN do, say YES to what they are asking, show them that there are always more options to consider with AND, and encourage them to TRY, you would help them be creative.

One final note–the same applies to writing. It might even be easier to do when you write. First, because it’s easier to count. Second–because you have an opportunity to change it. If you write (articles for Inc., for example…)–count the percentage of those 5 words (minutes their opposites) of the total words in the article. Then improve it.

TRY it! You CAN! AND also say it to others! Now you know WHY.

How to Increase Your Creativity Using 5 Simple Words

5 Ways to Transform Brilliant Creative Ideas Into Reality

5 Ways to Transform Brilliant Creative Ideas Into Reality

Did you ever feel drained of ideas and want to get back in bed and pull the covers over your head? If this type of depletion happens, and it happens to all smart entrepreneurs, pay attention to that message of overload. Get back in bed.

Yup, take the rest of the day to rest.

You say you can’t do that. Too much on your plate. Think of it this way. If you get a really, I mean really, really bad toothache, do you keep working or call the dentist for an emergency appointment.

You know the answer.

So, when nothing is happening but the same old stuff and you feel like you are running on empty the first way to re-engage your creative side is to relax.

OK, maybe not taking the whole day off, at least an hour will do. And during that hour do nothing. No checking your phone or even talking to someone. Just chill.

Research done at The University of Virginia by Dr. Timothy Wilson in 2014, wanted to answer the question about what people will do when they have true alone time. The study had people in a quiet lab room for anywhere from 6-15 minutes. They had a choice. Relax with their thoughts or push a button to get an electric shock.

Stop a minute and answer, what would you do?

The results showed that 67% of the men and 25% of the women chose the shock button rather than sitting and being quiet, thinking and relaxing.

OK, first step in activating new creative thoughts is to relax, to learn to relax.

We are running so fast we have lost the art of being still, of reflection. Learn to meditate, read a book on mindfulness. One of the best books today is by my friend Chade-Meng Tan, who recently retired from Google. His book Joy on Demand, is truly a joy to read. And will help you with this first step to extreme creativity.

The next way to drive your creativity quotient through the roof is to seek out new ideas and adventures. Do something, anything that is new and different from your routine ways of living. If you’re normally a beach person, go to the mountains. If you’re a city lover, find a small town and spend a few hours exploring there. If you only read business books, get a racy novel. You have the idea.

Next is really vital and rarely done. Seek out those with conflicting ideas and listen. Go to a meeting set up to support the candidate you like least. Just listen. Find a lecture, in person or online, that seems oddball or a waste of time. Yes, it may be. However, it will get you to think in new ways and isn’t that what creativity is all about.

Now, for the fourth suggestion. Find at least 45 minutes or more, and start to either write out ideas or use crayons and paper to draw your thoughts. Stay with it. Set a timer if you need and don’t give up till the time is over. This is a great way to rev your engine to get into the flow state.

Now, relax.

Here is the list. Put it near your computer or on the bathroom mirror. Creativity is in you and here is how to access it effectively.

  1. Relax
  2. Seek out new ideas and adventures
  3. Find opposing perspectives and situations and just listen
  4. Get into the zone through art and writing
  5. Relax

Creativity is in every one of us and for busy entrepreneurs it is crucial to romancethis part of yourself to stay at the top of your game.


5 Ways to Transform Brilliant Creative Ideas Into Reality

How to Boost Your Company’s Creativity and Bottom Line at the

How to Boost Your Company’s Creativity and Bottom Line at the

Driving your employees’ creativity while keeping them productive is an ongoing battle.

Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, offers a solution to the often-vexing problem. He writes in Harvard Business Review about how you can train your employees to be more creative by teaching core creative competencies.

Epstein says that after he trained employees of a small California city, managers reported that they were receiving 55 percent more new ideas. City officials attributed $600,000 in new revenue and $3.5 million in savings to the training.

So what makes this kind of training so effective? From his studies of more than 1,300 managers in 19 countries, Epstein came up with eight core creative competencies you can use with your staff. See below and start training your employees to tap their best ideas.

1. Institute ongoing education and development

You should be constantly training employees in skills that are outside of their expertise and job title. You want versatile professionals who are not confined to a box. Help them expand their knowledge and skill set by offering weekly training sessions on various topics.

2. Record all ideas

You and your employees should keep a daily record of unedited, off-the-cuff ideas. Keep a document open and add to it every day. Do not censor any ideas, within reason. Then each month dig through and see if you can make something out of them.

3. Manage your surroundings

This may sound trivial, but you should surround yourself and your employees with “diverse and novel physical and social stimuli,” Epstein says. The right environment will drive creativity.

4. Seek out challenges

Epstein says you need to give your employees “difficult problems to solve and ambitious goals to reach,” but you also have to help them manage the stress. Deliberately seek hard projects and “manage failure constructively.” Do not yell at your employees for trying and failing. You should help them find the lesson and thank them for trying something new. Eventually, this approach will create a fertile, creative environment where employees are trying new things and creating new business.


How to Boost Your Company’s Creativity and Bottom Line at the

How to Free Your Innate Creativity

How to Free Your Innate Creativity

How to Free Your Innate Creativity

Creativity can feel like an accident. Suddenly, out of nowhere a novel idea shows up in conscious thought and we’ve solved that persistent problem. Or, after days of staring at a blank page, words fly off our fingertips and we’ve written that perfect blog post or editorial. Some attribute creativity to brilliance, but we now know just being smart isn’t enough.

We are creative when conditions in our minds are just right. When we have access to our intellect, knowledge, and experience, our brains can light up with new idea. We can solve the unsolvable problem and imagine a new reality.

But what we think about consciously is not all it takes. According to scholar Arne Dietrich, how our brains function is key to understanding the process of creativity. Specifically, the neocortex and the limbic system — the seats of rational thought and emotions — affect both spontaneous and deliberate creativity. According to Dietrich, thoughts and emotions work together when we are having that “Eureka” moment, or experience artistic inspiration. And when thoughts and emotions work in tandem, we can also be more deliberately creative. For example, we can consciously tap long-term and emotional memories, resulting in the deliberate generation of ideas or insights.

Simply put, we need to be in the right emotional state in order to be creative — brain functioning affects creativity and how we feel affects brain functioning. But unfortunately, that’s easier said than done in today’s workplace.

Far too many organizations have cultures that support negativity and cynicism — and far too many managers are toxic. Most people don’t set out to be poisonous or to harm the people who depend on them, but it happens, in large part because of chronic stress. The constant pressures at work, coupled with a changing and often baffling world, leave a lot of us at the mercy of the sacrifice syndrome, where we give and give and give until there’s nothing left. The human organism doesn’t do well under such conditions. Our brains literally begin to shut down. We filter information, keeping only that which we feel we must have in order to survive. We become hyper-focused on potential threats. We don’t see reality clearly.

The negative emotions swirling inside and around us derail normal brain functioning, not to mention creativity.

If you want to regain your innate creative abilities, you need to interrupt this cycle. Start by taking better care of yourself. This means more sleep. New studies are confirming that adults really do need a significant amount of sleep a day in order to function well — 7 to 9 hours of it. Don’t believe leaders who say “I only need four or five hours a night.” They’re wrong and they’re sending the wrong message.

Good food and exercise matter too, and thankfully the wellness movement in many organizations is starting to legitimize a focus on workers’ health. These three — sleep, food, and exercise — are the basics for brain functioning (and may be obvious to some) but to tap your creative side you’ll also need to make some real changes in what you do and how you do it at work. Here are a few practical suggestions that will help to heal your brain and free your innate creativity:

  • Break your most destructive, focus-killing habits, like spending a large portion of your day (or weekend) on email or giving in to persistent distractions.
  • Force yourself to take time to think and reflect. Mindfulness — reflective meditative practices — is extremely helpful when it comes to managing stress and cognitive functioning. As scholar Dan Goleman has told us for years, “Mindfulness…the ability to notice what is going on as it arises and to pause before we respond is a crucial emotional skill. Mindful meditation has been discovered to foster the ability to inhibit those very quick emotional impulses.” Take a mindfulness based stress reduction course or just read up and try some breathing exercises.
  • Stop fretting about your deficiencies and failures. This may be most difficult for achievement oriented business people, but how can anyone possibly be creative without failing — a lot?
  • Focus on what makes you happy at work. The positive emotions generated when you feel connected to your personal and organizational purpose — what really matters about what you do — will help you to stay grounded and creative, even when things are tough.

These changes are especially critical for leaders who want to help their teams be creative. When you’ve taken care of yourself, you’ll be in a better position to help others. While you can’t fix the stress and pressure in your entire company, you can focus on creating a “microculture” around you that is marked by values like respect and commitment to one another’s goals. You can create norms that guide people to treat one another well, to rise to meet challenges with dedication, resilience, and humor. You can encourage people to grow and develop, to dream big. You can also ensure that people know that a healthy, whole life comes first — that work’s just a part of the picture.

We can’t come up with a formula for how to be more creative or how to help our teams to innovate. We can, however, deliberately craft an environment that is ripe with hope, enthusiasm, and team spirit. In teams marked by this kind of emotional tone, people are more likely to work collaboratively, persist, and bounce back from setbacks. People thrive in resonant environments. And because creativity happens in our brains, a resonant environment helps you to think more clearly — and more creatively.

Harvard Business Review

How to Free Your Innate Creativity

How To Keep Your Creativity Flowing After Vacation Ends

There’s a good scientific reason for those “eureka” moments that seem to occur more frequently when we travel or spend time away from the office.

Your brain is an energy hog and needs to conserve as much energy as possible for the heavy-lifting mental tasks.

  • The brain expends less effort in familiar surroundings. That’s great for energy efficiency; not so great if you’re looking for epiphanies.
  • Schedule mini brain vacations. Your brain needs a break. It also needs unfamiliar surroundings to make new connections and to see the world in a different way.
  • Consider adopting a Results Only Work Environment. Companies that are based on this principle measure the results of an employees’ performance while giving them the autonomy and freedom to work where they like and when they like.
  • Give your team opportunity to learn new things. Many companies bring in outside experts at least once a week, giving their employees an opportunity to get away from their computers for an hour or two and to kick-start their brains with new ways of thinking.
  • Loosen the travel budget. Employees should be having fun! Sharing knowledge and good times in new or unfamiliar environments will jolt the collective creativity of the team.
  • Don’t over schedule off-sites. If you do plan to hold more off-site meetings or conferences, avoid over scheduling. The brain needs a break from the office. It also needs a break from endless PowerPoint meetings at an off-site

How To Keep Your Creativity Flowing After Vacation Ends.

Unlock Your Secret Supply of Innovation

Tap into your team’s hidden reserve of creative genius.

Unlock Your Secret Supply of Innovation |