As a small business owner, you're often brainstorming ways to promote your business and increase sales. It requires a lot of creativity. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing many "aha" moments lately, you can try some creativity tips and exercises.
What Is an Aha Moment?
Also called an epiphany moment, an "aha" moment happens when everything suddenly clicks into place. Something you previously struggled to understand becomes clear, or a creative idea you've been trying to hammer out now seems so obvious. An "aha" moment makes you feel inspired and excited, ready to jump up and say, "Aha! I got it!"
Wish you had more "aha" moment examples in your life? Try these tips to tap into your creative side.
1. Silence Your Internal Editor
We all have an inner voice in our head that offers criticism. This voice plays an important role in decision-making, but it has no place in the creative brainstorming process. Silence your internal editor and allow yourself to make mistakes or be messy. Creativity requires a judgment-free zone, especially in your own mind.
If you struggle with this, try to mentally picture your internal editor as something with a physical shape, and then visualize a door. Picture yourself locking the editor behind the door, and don't let it out until you're done. Then, it can critique away, but for now, you don't need it.
2. Get Your Thoughts Out All at Once
Once your internal editor takes a hike, let yourself drift into a stream of consciousness and just let the thoughts come. Write continuously without stopping. Type it if it means you're faster. Just ignore the delete key or your eraser. Most of what you write won't be of much use, but it will be worth it if an "aha" moment is waiting for you at the end.
Another tactic is to just talk out loud without pausing. If it's weird to talk to yourself, talk to a pet or a very patient friend. The idea is to let yourself consciously jump from topic to topic until you land on something revealing. You can't get there with distractions or interruptions.
3. Experiment With Other Forms of Expression
If you're struggling to comprehend how to organize a project, maybe you need to make a visual model of the workflow. If you have to write a report and it just isn't coming together, explain all the information out loud to a colleague. Or let yourself doodle while you meditate on a problem. Try expressing yourself a different way when you feel stuck.
4. Collaborate and Research for Inspiration
Sometimes we just need someone else to bounce ideas off of for inspiration. If you're struggling to have an "aha" moment for product design, chat it over with colleagues. Learn how to make the most of a group brainstorming session to maximize the creative potential of your company.
Don't be afraid to go to conferences and gatherings to seek new ideas, too. Artists and musicians do this all the time. They don't trap themselves in a bubble. Instead, they look at what other people create and draw inspiration from it to make something unique.
5. Go Out for a Walk
A change of scenery or a little bit of exercise can clear your mind and encourage creative contemplation. Really try to notice the details around you. Focus on something entirely different for a while and see if any new thoughts pop into your head about your main project.
If you're nervous about forgetting an important "aha" moment that strikes while you're away from a pen and paper for note-taking, use a voice recording app or simply leave yourself a voicemail so you can refer back to it later.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.