This week, I’m joined by an amazing digital marketing consultant, and one of the contributors to my 2-book set, Entrepreneur Mind Hacks, Martin Shervington. Martin is an official Google Small Business Advisor and brings ‘Digital Intelligence’ to business, starting with marketing and social media. He was generous enough to help me with four different chapters in my books: Productivity, Creativity, Connection and Success. And, today, we’re going to key in on his ideas regarding Creativity.
For Martin, in order to be creative, he needs to be having fun! This may have some roots in his “side gig” of getting on stage and doing stand up comedy. More than performing for others, when he takes the stage, he goes up there and has fun. He has found that if he goes up and is not enjoying himself, but just reading from a script or memorized notes, everyone in the room knows that it’s not fun… or funny. It only works when he goes out and naturally has fun with the people he is performing for.
So, when it comes to life away from the stage, the secret is to find people who are willing to play. Whether it’s away from the computer or on social media, when people are connected and willing to thoughtfully exchange ideas… and play… then the connections are much more comfortable and productive.
Now, the hard truth is that business processes are not fun. And, as businesses grow and tasks abound, it’s easy to get sucked into the mundane parts of work. Therefore, it’s important to set aside time now and then for your team to have fun together – even if they are thousands of miles apart. There are games that can be played via video conferencing that can effectively set a new, creative tone for your team.
When Martin begins various tasks, he often begins by thinking to himself, “How can I make this an enjoyable experience?”… and not just for himself, but for the people on his team, as well as the end users and clients.
Like anything, if you are only going through the motions, then whatever you are doing becomes dull. This is true for anything from blog posts to office interactions. People need to feel refreshed.
Consider any successful television show. From season to season to season, there are consistent elements and currents, but as the show progresses, it takes new steps and additions that keep things fresh.
One trick is to figure out how to get into your fun, creative place in your own mind. For Martin, the key is to get obsessed with something to the point of looking at it from new perspectives and seeing new details within it. Then, as he dives down one rabbit hole after another, he needs to be able to step back and laugh at himself as he peeks into each bit of minutiae. But, more than the rabbit holes, Martin enjoys figuring out how to connect the dots of all the different perspectives he discovers along the way, resulting in figuring out how to do something that isn’t currently done.
So, like in athletics, you won’t get better and better or discover new techniques if you don’t push yourself into new, exciting (sometimes scary and risky) arenas.
And that’s where the fun comes in!
Years ago, Martin worked as a windsurfing instructor. At the time he learned a motto: If you’re not falling in the water… you’re not trying hard enough. This meant that at certain points, as he learned new techniques, tricks and skills, he had to be willing to fail. After smashing into the water, he would learn how to adjust and what to do differently until eventually, he would master the new technique.
The same principle applies to being an entrepreneur.
As you start out, you don’t want to risk everything, but if you’re not willing to try different stuff out, then you won’t grow. And with today’s technology, you don’t always have to go at it alone. Through social media, you can often crowd source your ideas into action, while creating a “space” for people to “play in”… all with the end result of trying out your new endeavor.
The secret is then to share with one another what is learned during this playtime. What worked? What didn’t work? By doing this, you end up with a learning community around you, who are having fun while doing your research!
For example, while in Brazil last year, Martin had the idea of putting a certain village on the global map. He networked with local businesses and they all cooperatively agreed to some virtual meetings and signed up for Google Maps. Based on their success, in no time, other people started picking up on this idea and began hosting real and virtual events in their small towns, and a model began to arise… and BOOM, out came Google Local Guides!
Now, as it happens, Martin is examining how this process of bringing people together and putting small communities on the map works with overall Google search functions. Keeping in mind that “play” is more fun for most people than “research”, he now has several groups of people “play/working” to find new solutions to draw global eyes to any town in the world with the right Google and social media positioning.
One of the keys is to effectively connect people in fun and exciting ways. When people enjoy one another and feel connected, they are much more willing to share and go the extra mile for one another – whether it be in research, growth, or creativity.
To learn more from Martin, check him out at PlusYourBusiness.com!