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The Answers At The Back Of The Book

Return with me to where this story began: with me, the 'not creative' one, painting a mural on the basement wall, trying to keep up with my sister.

There are always going to be times when each of us is put into a similar situation, whether we believe ourselves to be creative or not. You're handed a brush, put in front of a cement wall, and told to 'do something new,' when all around you it seems as if everyone else has better ideas than you do. Substitute a PowerPoint presentation and a client's conference room for the brush and the basement wall, and I'm sure the setup sounds all too familiar.

I wrote this resource to give you a process that you can rely on in those situations. The thing to remember is that this is a process, a series of actions that can lead you to a solution. Every time I work with a new client, I get nervous, because I have no idea what the winning idea is. But the answer always comes, in one way or another, when my clients and I go through the process together.

When we go through the process, we have to momentarily set aside logic, face our fears, and try to think in a new way, to connect with a different part of ourselves. The concepts that the exercises are based on can be very disconcerting when you're used to thinking in an orderly, sequential way; the way you feel is unfamiliar, different, unquantifiable. You may think, how can I get anything out of this if the end result isn't predetermined? Where are the answers at the back of the book?

Remember that you're not abandoning your left brain; you're just putting it on hold for a moment. The feeling is a bit like swinging out into the void on a trapeze or stepping off the high dive. There are no guardrails. It's a rush of adrenaline-an invigorating or terrifying feeling, depending on your point of view.

But if you go through the process often enough, the feeling will become familiar. You can develop your intuitive side along with your analytical side. You can become used to the idea that although there is a reliable method that you can use, the outcome is different every time. What I hope happens is that you surprise yourself.

The last thing I'll leave you with is to remember the Copernican Shift. Too often, I get the feeling that books on topics like this by 'experts' and 'authorities' are at the center of their own little universes, flinging out their pronouncements and rules to all the readers who are orbiting them like an asteroid belt.

I'd like you to think of it in the opposite way: You, of course, are at the center. This resource is one of the many things orbiting you, to be useful at the right time and place: when you are blocked by the enemies of ideas; when you need to ask new questions; when you need the jolt of a high-voltage idea.

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