Was reminded of this story Dr. Ken Robinson told in one of his TedTalks...
It's the story of a little girl who was in an art lesson. She was drawing. She was six, and at the back of the classroom. The teacher said she hardly ever paid attention but in this lesson, she did. The teacher was curious. She walked over to her, and asked, "What are you drawing?" The girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God." The teacher stated, "But nobody knows what God looks like." The girl replied, "They will in a minute."
As my memory serves me he really enjoyed telling this story to the audience. And why not! It's such a great example of this student's creativity and imagination. She's also not afraid to express these through her artwork and response to her teacher.
Think about your favorite band. Your favorite book. Your favorite anything really. Just a guess they all are expressing their creativity and imagination through their work. You're drawn to the way they freely express themselves.
Now think about a time when you were totally engaged in what you were doing. You were in a flow. Just a guess you were using your creativity and imagination in some way to accomplish a task.
While disengagement at work is still an issue in our organizations and on our teams, it stands to reason that creativity and imagination are largely absent. We've perfectly designed our everyday activities to get predictable results. The reality is, life isn't predictable. We have to constantly adapt to our changing world. To do this we need everyone's creativity and imagination. We need them fully engaged.
When these are absent, fear is present at some level. We don't feel safe expressing ourselves in the unique way each of us possesses. Then we do things to be safe to cope with the fear we're experiencing. This limits human potential as we're in some form of fight, flight, or freeze. This is not only very stressful it keeps us from becoming the person we really want to be. Sound familiar?
To get out of this "stress" mode and unleash our potential we must tap into our leadership. Our leadership behavior helps remove fear from the room. This isn't on any single person, it's in all of us. To help get rid of fear, ask yourself; what would the person you really want to be do in this situation? And do that!
These behaviors will keep you grounded in your core values while influencing others to do the same. We need everyone at their best and when we're in "survival" mode it won't happen.
Recognize when fear is present and have the courage to lean into the person you want to be. When this is positively rewarded you know you're in the right place and the organization and team are moving in the right direction to realize collective potential.
Life is more colorful when we use our creativity and imagination.