6 Ways To Spark Creativity at Work – With Melissa Dinwiddie

Melissa Dinwiddie Episode Art

Spark Creativity Through Your Strengths

In this episode, Lisa has a fun conversation with Melissa Dinwiddie to help you spark creativity at work. Melissa is a multi-talented, creative person who lights up your day with her voice and enthusiasm. She helps her clients to use their strengths to get their mojo back when they feel like their innovation gene has left the building.

You’ll find lots of ideas to spark creativity - get the innovation mojo back. Plus, you’ll hear about her “Passion Pluralite” life, as she calls it, so listen in. You’ll walk away with a newly formed opinion of what’s possible for a multi-passionate person. It’s inspiring to see someone who wouldn’t settle for “one thing” or one activity driving her entire career path.

As she’s working with her clients, Melissa always keeps in mind her Top 5 Talent Themes from the Clifton StrengthsFinder: Connectedness, Achiever, Input, Futuristic, and Positivity. You’ll hear why this combination of Talents makes Melissa one of the most knowledgeable, multi-talented, creative people you will ever meet.

6 Ways To Spark Creativity

Find your unique you. Melissa Dinwiddie is a multi-talented woman who has many different interests. She knows a lot about a lot of things. She always took for granted that she had so many interests, until she had a conversation with a client that led to a life-altering Ah Ha moment. In that moment, she realized that she had a unique gift, and that her Connectedness and Positivity Strengths made her a natural at consulting and collaborating with others. This led to her career working with clients to improve their creativity – which leads to innovation, increased profitability, and achievement.

Use your Strengths. Connectedness and Positivity also enable her to look for meaning and connection all around her. She is always using that information to figure out how she can help her clients. If you use your strengths to spark creativity, you might feel more energized as well.

Always say “Yes, and…” Improv class, which is one of Melissa’s newer hobbies, taught her to always say “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…” because when you say it, you keep thing going and growing. This approach generates more new ideas, and allows for more creativity. Saying “but” is really just another way of saying no. It shuts down creativity. It leaves your team with more potential conflict and stifled creativity.

Instead, spark creativity by building on the idea (even if you don't like the idea at first). Adding many ideas to the big mosh-pit brings forth more possibilities, and will empower your team members. When people are scared that they’re gonna be cut down, they become afraid to speak up (and you might be missing the best idea yet).

Understand your Strengths…to overcome them. This might sound counter-intuitive, yet Melissa gives a great example when speaking about her Achiever Talent Theme. In the past, her need to achieve kept her stuck in self-perfection. By understanding how the Achiever Strength has the possibility to (counter intuitively) limit her ability to finish projects, she has developed self-compassion.

She now considers herself to be a “recovering perfectionist”. So, if you tend to be a perfectionist at work, remember, everything doesn’t always have to be perfect; sometimes it just needs to get done. Give yourself a break!

Lisa adds that the Achiever Talent Theme in its pure form is all about completing tasks and getting to the finish line. She hypothesizes that Melissa’s other StrengthsFinder Talents may be playing into her perfectionist tendencies too. While her Achiever wants to get things done, her Input will want to keep sponging up learning and insights that broaden her view of the project.

Speaking of opening up possibilities, her Futuristic Talent will keep her in constant “what-if” mode. The fascination and vision of what can be can also keep you in rework mode. And her Connectedness Talent could have event played into her perfectionist tendencies because she sees connections and wants to share them with other people.

Imagine when she’s creating courses and wants to keep tinkering so that every person with every perspective can get what they need. Ahhh, feeding your talents can be so energizing. And, sometimes, they can derail your progress if you’re not keeping an eye on the outcomes you set out to achieve. Be on watch. Sometimes your strengths will help you spark creativity. Or, if you overuse them, they might hinder you. It's a dance.

Schedule sandbox time every day. Our modern lives are super-busy, and often jam-packed with activities and projects every single day (even the weekends). Melissa suggests you spend 15 minutes every day relaxing, like you used to do as a kid. Play in the sandbox, doodle on paper, or go for a walk – whatever floats your boat. It might spark creativity you forgot you had. She’s proven that just that short amount of downtime can rejuvenate your creativity, and you will have a much easier time coming up with new ideas or finishing projects you’ve neglected. So schedule a short break time every day, and see what happens.

Finding your “true passion” takes practice. People often ask career coaches and StrengthsFinder consultants how they can find their “true passions”. Melissa has an answer for them: Go out and try different things. She cites the example of learning to dance, another recent hobby. It took her 3 – 4 years of different types of dancing to figure out that she loves salsa and Argentine tango. In the work environment, you may be in a role you don’t love. Maybe you even hate your job. Look at the tasks your perform, and pay attention to what you actually do enjoy. Then find ways to get more of them added to your job responsibilities. If you stick with it, you’ll end up happier, more successful, and your business will be more profitable.

Remember, knowing your Strengths and understanding them can have a huge impact on your personal and professional lives. So go out there and create.

Resources of the Episode

To connect with Melissa and grab some creativity resources, check out her website. You can also connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Ready to live a full-color life? Melissa’s Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast is filled with practical tips and inspiration on creativity and creative productivity. Feeding your creative hungers is one of the fastest ways to happiness, joy, and self-fulfillment. Whether you’re a corporate leader looking to boost innovation and foster a culture of creativity at work; or an individual looking to get past fear, self-doubt, resistance, and distractions, so you can finally make time for the art / music / writing / craft you’ve been longing to do, if you’re ready to feel more ease and enjoyment in life and work, walk the Creative Sandbox Way™ with Melissa.

Go Live Your Talents

Remember, using your strengths every day at work makes you a stronger performer. Go claim your talents and share them with the world!


Here's A Full Transcript Of The 28 Minute Interview

Lisa: [0:07] You're listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you'll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I'm your host, Lisa Cummings, and I gotta tell you, whether you're leading a team or leading yourself, it's hard to find something more energizing and productive than using your natural talents every day at work. And today, this show is all about using your natural talents to unleash your creative side at work. Your guest is so super interesting. She's actually dedicated her career to instigating creativity around the world. She works with teams to help them get their mojo back when they feel like their innovation gene has left the building. She might even change your mind today about how very important play is at work.

And speaking of play, on the literal side, your guest plays the ukulele and even brings that into her work world. So get ready, you're about to see how your creative expression can help you offer your value to the world. So Melissa Dinwiddie, welcome to the show!

Melissa: [1:11] Wow, thanks, Lisa. That was like the greatest intro ever.

Lisa: [1:16] It could have only been better if I had primed you for it so that you could have your ukulele ready to play a little tonight. Right?

[1:24] So okay, you know, the show is all about exploring strengths from every angle. We're getting a unique angle of creativity today. And we're bringing in strengths to that. So when you mentioned to me that when you first considered your top five StrengthsFinder talents, that the one called Input was interesting to you because at first, you didn't see that as something special in you. So tell us more about how that went down for you, in your mind? How did you open yourself up to the idea that it could actually be a superpower that you were overlooking?

Melissa: [1:56] I was doing a trade with a woman who was at that time my yoga teacher, and she's also a life coach. And so, she was trading, coaching. She was giving me some coaching and I was creating a website for her. It was maybe the third time that she had asked me about how to do something inside of a WordPress website - upload an image or create a new page or something. And that was, you know, showing her and then she said, ‘Well, what if I want to do you know, XYZ?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well, there's three different plugins that I know for that.’

And, and she looked at me, and she said, ‘How do you know all this stuff?’ And I said, ‘I don't know. I just like, I made my own website a number of times. So I know the stuff.’ And she's like, ‘I think you don't appreciate how, that you knowing all this stuff, like, that's not normal.’

Lisa: [2:49] That's normal in a really cool way.

Melissa: [2:51] Really cool way. Like, ‘you could do consulting, and you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And it was that moment that made me realize, ‘Wow, this is something that's unusual about me in a good way.’ And it made me flashback to a moment, years earlier. This would have been back in like the late 90s, mid-90s when I had started doing calligraphy which became a huge passion of mine, and it ultimately turned into a career. But at this point, I was still a relatively new calligrapher. And I was at a workshop and it was one of the first workshops I've been to with this calligraphy guild that I had joined. And somebody asked about a tool called an automatic pen. ‘What is an automatic pen and how, what is, how is that different from you know, this other kind of pen?’ Well, I, when I got into calligraphy, I had taken like, I'd ordered all the… There were two big stores that had at the time. This is really before the internet took off so they had these paper catalogs. So of course, I had ordered these paper catalogs, and that was my bedtime reading. I would go to bed and pore through these catalogs and read all the details about every single tool and every single book. And so, I just knew all this stuff.

And so here I was, I've been doing calligraphy for you know, less than a year or something and I was spouting off, - ‘Well, an automatic pen is its way and it works in this way. And the way it's different from a quote pen is bla bla bla bla bla.’

And I remember people looking at me, like, ‘Are you an alien?’ Like they just didn't… you know, ‘I've been doing calligraphy for eight years and you just started, you know, eight months ago. How do you know all this stuff?’ And I, I didn't realize that that was…..I didn't have a word for it. And I didn't. I was just who I was. So I didn't realize that it was unique or unusual or particular strength. And it just was this quirky thing about me that I didn't even realize was quirky.

So yeah, that that was probably of my StrengthsFinder strengths, that was probably the first one that I went, “Oh yeah!”, that I can totally see as a strength because the things that I'm passionate about, I dive in and I learn everything that I can about them, because that's what I do. And then nothing makes me happier than sharing that knowledge with other people. So it's a natural for consulting.

Lisa: [5:11] So cool. I love when I have clients with Input. It is so much fun to hear because they love going deep and gathering all the information and learning about a topic and then really directing it to what they're into whether it's a hobby or work and then sharing it and it becomes such a Collaboration strength too, because you can add so much value because you realize, ‘Oh, not everyone does that.’ I mean, if I know if I got into calligraphy, I would flip through and look at the pretty pens. And that's about it. I wouldn’t know anything about any specs.

Melissa: [5:43] Right, right. Yeah, it definitely comes in really handy. The other one, number five for me is Positivity. And that one, I recognized right away. And people are always telling me, ‘Oh my God, you have so much energy, and you're so, you're such a cheerleader!’ You know, and that's just my personality. I hadn't really thought of that as a particular strength either. But I see it like I use that every day and the work that I do with clients and the groups that I lead that, you know, I am always essentially cheering people on. I mean, not with like pom poms or something. But, you know, I always have a positive spin on things and that…It's not Pollyanna-ish. It's just, it's just how I am. I think, actually, that's quite related to my top strength of Connectedness, which…. I mean, I read that and when that's a strength? What?

Lisa: [6:36] That one always surprises people. They go, “Huh, I would never think of that one.”

Melissa: [6:40] I never would have thought of it. But I think that really ties in with my Positivity - that this sort of outlook of always finding meaning and connection. And you know, there's always the sense that everyone and everything is connected. And I'm not like a religious person, but that it definitely infuses kind of everything I do.

Lisa: [7:02] Well, and knowing a little bit more about you and how you bring play into your work and how you’re an improviser, that's a high Positivity, just makes complete sense. Because there's a fun, loving element of it. It's finding the good times and things like, if you're going to be here on the planet, go have a good time while you're at it, why not? And that tends to be one of the outlooks of people with high Positivity. So when I saw that, and then knew that you were in to play, an improv, I thought, ‘Oh, that's just so perfect.’

Melissa: [7:32] Yeah. And of course, the sort of core piece of improv is, say, “yes, and…”

Lisa: [7:39] Yes. Say about that, how that has shown up at work for you because most of the corporate people I work with are completely unfamiliar with improv. Maybe you can talk about how that looks for people in a meeting or how that looks for people in either supporting each other's ideas versus squashing it if they gave it a “Yeah, but…”

Melissa: [7:59] Yeah, that got really clear for me when in…I think it was like my first improv class. I've been doing improv for about three years now. And although I've been improvising, interestingly enough, I've been drawn to improvisational creative forms for a really long time. For example, I got into salsa dancing, and Argentine Tango. And those are purely improvisational dance forms. They, are based on a vocabulary of movement. And each social dance has its own vocabulary of movement. But within that vocabulary, it is 100% improv.

And then when I got into music, the music that I was drawn to was jazz, which is this enormous umbrella that covers so many different styles of music within it. But the one thing that is consistent among all of them is that they're improvisational. They have improvisational elements. So it's really not that big of a surprise that I would end up doing improv. Now I can, you know, connect that all together. Ha ha!

Lisa: [9:04] Ha, ha.

Melissa: [9:04] Anyway, my very first improv class, there was an exercise where a group of us were sitting up on the little stage area. We were supposed to pretend that we were in a meeting, creating. We're talking about creating some, I don't know, some random object that we made up on the spot, and about how to market it, I think.

And so the first part of the exercise was that whenever any, anybody says something, let's, you know, ‘let's throw a big party with confetti and invite the whole town’, or, you know, whatever it was, we were supposed to respond with, “yes, but…”, and then add something, right?

So we did that for a while. And then we stopped and we replayed the same scene essentially. But this time whenever somebody gave an idea, the response was to be “yes, and…”. And what was so interesting was when we did the “yes, but…”, or “well, but…”, it would turn into, you know, it's just squashing, quashing. Just “no” that no, no, no, no, no. And it stopped everything.

Where, when the exercise was “yes, and”…. it became this, like, crazy mash-up. And it just, you know, it just kept growing and growing and growing and growing. And when you bring that “yes, and..” to say a meeting, you know, where you're generating ideas or something, and if you can respond to somebody else from that space of “yes, and..”, it opens up so many possibilities. You know, there's time later, where you can refine things and cut things out and look at the, you know, the reality of you know, what our budget is limited to X or whatever. But to generate ideas, you have to be in that space of “yes, and…”.

And people don't like to put an idea out there if they know that there's a chance that it's going to be cut down, right? Nobody likes that. That feels terrible. So that's a really important place to bring that improv scale of “yes, and…”

Lisa: [11:00] I love the example too of how you used it, and actually had the contrast of the “yes, but..” or the “well, but…” with the “yes, and…” in the same situation, because right, it just stops all the momentum and turns everything. It's kind of like the eeyore moment.

Melissa: [11:15] Totally. Yeah. And “yes, but…”, it is really another way of saying “no”. It's true.

Lisa: [11:21] Another thing that you're getting me thinking about reflecting on a work day and how you can have these breakthroughs and also sparked me to think about something you mentioned about your Achiever talent, how, when now you look back on a work day, you can kind of see that when you're fueled up, it's because you've achieved something and felt productive and that you feel frustrated when you're not. What does that process look like for you and just exploring them and seeing how they show up?

Melissa: [11:49] That one for me, in some ways, it feels like a liability as much as a strength. Only because my history is being way too much of a perfectionist. I mean, I am now a card-carrying imperfectionist, which means a recovering perfectionist, it's the same thing. Which means basically that I treat myself with self-compassion. I was so stuck in perfectionism. I mean, my Achiever strength was, you know, so blown out of proportion. There was no, no balance to it. There was nothing, nothing connected with the Achiever that you know, just sort of say, ‘It's okay, you get to be a human being.’ Yeah, to be human. What ended up happening was…I mean, I call myself an artist. I had a career, a business, I still have a business and our business primarily making Jewish marriage contracts. It's basically a side business these days, it used to be my main business.

And for about a decade, while I was making my living from my art, I didn't create anything for myself purely for play, except once a year, I would go on a retreat with my Calligraphy Guild, and then I would do some things for myself. But the whole rest of the year, the all the other 360 days of the year, the only art I ever created was to other people's specifications. And partly are a big chunk of that was because I was so trapped in perfectionist paralysis - that anything that I would create, I would think, ‘well, that's not good enough’, ‘that's crap.’

And so, it became so painful to try to do anything that I just didn't do it. But I was in such denial about it - that I don't, you know, I bought into the story, I created the story that it was because I just didn't have time. And it wasn't until February 1, 2011, when I was actually interviewing an artist for my first online course that I created called The Thriving Artist project. And this particular artist, mentors other artists who want to have fine art, you know, professional Fine Art Gallery exhibiting art careers. And they get just as stuck in resistance as anybody else on the planet, surprisingly enough.

And so, this artist that I was interviewing would tell her mentees, ‘if you can't put 15 minutes a day into your art, you're making an excuse.’ And she was just talking about what she told her mentees, but in that moment, I was so nailed. She was, I mean, she was talking to me. She didn't realize she was talking to me, but she was talking to me. And by the time I got off that phone call, first I got very defensive inside. But then I realized, ‘oh my God, she is right.’

For the past decade, I have been making an excuse because of fear. And so that day, and it was February 1, 2011, I committed to putting 15 minutes a day into making art for the joy of that.

Lisa: [14:41] So that became your creative sandbox time that you talked about?

Melissa: [14:44] Absolutely. That is. I didn't have that terminology at that point. But yeah, that's, that's my creative sandbox time. That is my play time, where in fact, in order to get myself into that headspace where I could put even just 15 minutes into making art, I had to, I had to set up a bunch of sort of ground rules for myself. And it started off with maybe 4 or 5. You know, it's all about the process. It's not the product, let go of the outcome.

When you get to the place where, you know, it's not done yet, it needs something, but you're not sure what, and you're afraid to try anything because you might ruin it, one of my rules was go ahead and ruin it. And over a period of two or three years, that expanded into 10 rules for the creative sandbox. It's now what I call my Creative Sandbox Manifesto. And the sandbox image was because I realized at one point that I wasn't…I started making some art, but the art that I was making, I stopped after a while, a couple weeks into it, or something. I just wasn't getting to my art table anymore. And I couldn't figure out why because I wanted so badly to get back to making art.

And one day, I was looking at the table, and I realized, oh my god, the art that I'm making right now is there's nothing different from when I'm working for a client. So. it feels like work to me. It was very meticulous. It was very designee. There was nothing improvisational about it. There was nothing playful about it. It was the opposite of play. And I realized it was like this light bulb went off over my head. And that's when I thought I need to play. I need to be like my little four-year old nephew playing in a sandbox, making messes thinking, ‘Oh, what would happen if I poured water on this? What would happen if I did this?’ That's the headspace that I needed to be in. And so, that's what I developed - those rules to help me get into that headspace.

Lisa: [16:43] It's so cool. And the…Boy, I mean, you know that in the corporate world, this is such a thing for people because you have this push-pull in your mind whether or not someone’s specific talent is Achiever, people have a drive to get stuff done. Yes, push for the next thing. But then you know, you need whitespace. You know, you have to explicitly sometimes not manage yourself to a goal or you burn yourself out. And there's this internal fight thing, and even sparked for me a thought that takes it beyond the moment to moment push pull, but even the overall career stress that people put themselves under when they think of finding their passion or finding their calling. And I think I remember you talking about callings as an elusive thing and that it's normal to resist them and refuse to call that sort of thing. And so I'd love to hear….you just got me sparked on that idea, too.

What's your take on work as a calling? And what do you do for those people who are beating themselves up over the fact that they feel like they don't have one?

Melissa: [17:42] Oh my god. So that makes me think about a conversation that I had a number of years ago with a woman in my synagogue. And I was talking about, you know, ‘this stuff was pretty new to me then I was, I was like, wow, I'm discovering this new direction for my life, where I'm helping people get connected to their creative side, which for most of us has been, you know, got quashed down pretty early, including, including me’. I mean, a lot of people get quashed down at age five or six or something.

I was like, age 13 when I stopped making art, but for most of us that…that gets, you know, really squashed. And, you know, so I was finding my passion again, and our passion number 17, or whatever. I figured out that I have a lot of them. And this woman said, ‘Well, what do you do if you don't, if you don't have a passion?’ And I was stumped. I did not know how to answer her question. And it was only later when I was reading an article by somebody who I think she calls herself like the passion…passion mentor, something I can't remember. But she was writing about how, you know, passions, we have this idea that you're gonna have this eureka moment. You can open a door and, ‘Boom, yeah, that's, that's my passion. Woohoo. I found it.’

And the reality is, even though I spent…I can't tell you how many times I've told the story of various passions I've had in my life, dance, calligraphy, getting back to social dancing, writing, improv, music, so many different passions. And the story has always been, oh, I you know, then I discovered this. And that became my next passion. But that's not really what happened. Really what happened was with dance, I was too scared to try dancing as a little kid. I had some classes when I was like four. And then I had friends who were in ballet, but I was I had this image of, you know, the mean ballet teacher with a big stick who would like hit you if you do things right or something. So I never took any dance classes. And then in I think my freshman year in high school, some friends of mine, we got together and we took a class at a community center. We thought it was going to be you know, MTV, kind….

Lisa: [19:53] of how to dance to Madonna's Material Girl or…

Melissa: [19:56] Yeah, you know, like the music video kind of dance. And it was, it was, actually it was a modern dance class, which I didn't realize was, you know, much more classical style. And we were like, ‘wow, this is lame.’ So I didn't, you know, I ended that class and we forgot about it.

So finally, you know, years later, after, you know, first thinking about dance, I took a class at this local dance school. And that's the moment where I went, ‘Oh, my God, I want to do this every day.’ But it was, you know, three or four years of, you know, tipping my toe into different kinds of dance before I discovered that dance school. And bingo, had my eureka moment. Every passion I've ever had, has been like that. You have some kind of interest in something enough to try it. And you know, maybe the first time it doesn't do anything for you. But for some reason, you go back to it at some point again, and maybe the next time you find something new in that, and eventually, you know, you try it a little more, and then it starts to develop a little more meaning for you.

And then you dive in a little bit deeper. And it's the sort of back and forth thing. And it happens, you know, much more organically. It's much more like, you know, there are people out there in the world who feel like they had this instant, you know, love at first sight moment with their spouse, or their partner, right? But most people, it didn't actually happen that way. With me, my husband, it took me two and a half years to see him as a contender. And he's like, the best match I could ever imagine for myself. And that's what it's like, with, with our, you know, passions for activities, or…

Lisa: [21:40] Yeah, what a good metaphor, because it is like, I mean, I can see the relationship metaphor so strongly that you meet somebody, and then you think, ‘Hey, I actually enjoyed my time there’, or, ‘I feel better when that person enters the room, than when they leave the room.’ And then you think, ‘well, I'm gonna hang out with that person some more.’

And it's the same with responsibilities and tasks in the work that you do. You can say, ‘oh, that thing's kind of neat, I've never done it, I'm gonna hang out with that thing a little bit more.’ And then you start exploring all the offshoots of it. And it's so much like that at work. And people for whatever reason, feel like there should be the Eureka moment you talked about and not the process of experimenting, and going, ‘Okay, that thing's cool. I'm gonna follow that path and all of the arms and legs that it has.’ And then you find that one thing that's super awesome, and really fuels you up. And I don't know why it's like that but it does make me sad, because a lot of people beat themselves up because they haven't found the calling or the passion. And I know you use that term passion, plural like and looking at the plural like we have…. we love a lot of things. Yeah, you have a lot of hobbies. You have a lot of interests. So let yourself feel that way about your work as well and go explore them.

Maybe we can end with that exploration combined with how you explore your creative energy through your doodles because I think that's so fascinating. And people will dig finding their own version of what you do with your doodling. Will you share about that?

Melissa: [23:06]

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So what I know about myself is that if I don't get a little bit, at least a little bit of time in the creative sandbox every day. My day doesn't go as well. It just, it makes me happy. It feeds me. It nourishes me. I also know that the thing I do first, is the thing that gets done. So if I want to make sure that I get something into my day, it works best if I get it in first thing. I was not making, not making time for my creative play, and realize I have to do it like before I even get out of bed. So I figured out well you know, I can bring a sketchbook and a pen, have it on my bedside table. And then I can draw first thing in the morning.

And so, I set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and I doodle first thing in the morning and I intentionally call it doodling because I want to be in that space of improv - that space of being in the creative sandbox, like a four-year old, you know, playing with sand, so that it's all about exploration and following my curiosity and not about trying to make something perfect or even good. And so it's just been an incredible self-growth experience to do this for the past….well, it's really since the start of the year.

So it's been three months that I've been doing this every day. I spend, you know, 15 or 20 minutes, usually with a pen and some paper, and a sketchbook, just doodling and I, just it's like it's spiritual. It's like a spiritual practice because you learn so much about yourself. You know, just today, there was a …there was a page where I had started something and I got really frustrated with it weeks back because I could see that it was going to require all this meticulous work that I just didn't want to invest in. It was going to drive me straight into that perfectionist place which I don't want to be in, and I would came back to it today. And thought, ‘Oh, well, I don't have to look at it that way, I could come at it from a creative sandbox mindset and not worry about if these lines are perfectly rounded or whatever’. And I was able to come back to that piece that I had totally rejected, and really enjoy it and learn something and kind of expand my ability to, you know, break down those perfectionist walls from this one little doodle, so I highly recommend it.

Lisa: [25:28] Yes.

Melissa: [25:29] Yeah. And it doesn't have to be pen and paper. I mean, you could do it with sound, you could do it with movement, you could do it with, you know, there's just so many ways that you can express yourself in, you know, the equivalent of a doodle.

Lisa: [25:40] And I even do my, my whitespace. It's not quite my creative sandbox, but just my whitespace to clear my brain. My office is at home in the woods and I take walks with the dogs, and I just insert them in the middle of the day to give myself that moment to not be distracted, to not be listening to shows, to not be learning, to not be in a meeting. And it clears a space in a different way. And I'm the uber efficient - I mean, I get so caught up that I'll listen to podcasts while I'm in the shower, just because I want every moment to be so productive. Yeah. And so it's that moment where I go, ‘No, I'm just breathing. I'm listening to the wind. I’m listening to the birds, and just let it rest for a minute.’ And then I get all these strokes of brilliance in that time, in the sandbox time and the white space time.

I hope for everyone listening, this gives you some inspiration to bring that creativity back into your work day to try “yes, and…” if that's not something that's been part of your vocabulary, that you give that some..just give that some air. Go try that. It's easy to implement at work to show up and say “yes, and…” in your next set of meetings and don't squash an idea. Even if the squash comes to your mind, let it ride, let it ride and do that later and let the ideas and the big breakthroughs happen.

So thank you, everyone for listening to Lead Through Strengths today. Melissa has been great. The listeners are going to want to check you out. You have a show to tell them about tell us how they can find you and your doodle-licious life.

Melissa: [27:14]

Oh sure! Well, my website is https://melissadinwiddie.com/ . But that's hard to spell. So you can also get to the exact same place at Living A Creative Life. And my podcast is Live Creative Now which you can find there or you can go to https://melissadinwiddie.com/live-creative-now-podcast/ , which will take you there as well.

Lisa: [27:31]

Thank you and we'll put all of that in the show notes so you guys can find it super easily and we'll get your Twitter and Instagram and Facebook links as well.

So, guys, remember using your strengths makes you a stronger performer at work. If you're always focused on fixing your weaknesses, always stuck in that perfectionist zone she's been talking about today. Then you're choosing the path of most resistance, and you can choose instead to claim your talents and share them with the world.