Profitable Nomad Couple

58. Becoming a Creative Digital Nomad

September 13, 2023 Austin and Monica Mangelson
Profitable Nomad Couple
58. Becoming a Creative Digital Nomad
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever dismissed yourself as 'not a creative person'? That's about to change.

This week your favorite nomadic duo is here to shatter the misconception that creativity is an exclusive artist's club. We delve into the essence of creativity, its pivotal role in business growth, and its significance in problem-solving, especially for digital nomads like us.

You'll discover 10 incredible strategies that can ignite your creative spark, even if you believe your imagination is as arid as the Sahara Desert.

Buckle up for a journey that redefines creativity, shreds self-judgment, and showcases how a splash of innovative thinking can revolutionize your business and your digital nomad lifestyle.

Links mentioned in the episode:

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. This is a show where we share all of our secrets about building a sustainable location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

We are Austin and Monica. We're a digital Nomad couple here to help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset, ignite your passions and develop a purpose-driven online business.

Speaker 1:

Get ready for weekly insights and inspiring stories to empower you to live life on your own terms.

Speaker 2:

So are you ready to unlock the Nomad mindset and embrace a life of limitless possibilities? Let's dive in.

Speaker 1:

All right, you guys. Welcome back to another episode of the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. We are so happy you're here. Can I just like take a second and thank you for being here and for listening to us. Whether this is your first time or you are some of the tried and true, we really appreciate your support.

Speaker 2:

We love producing this podcast for you guys and so hopefully you love listening to it just as much. Our topic today is about creativity, and we thought this would be a good conversation for us to have on the podcast, because the whole purpose of this podcast is to help you grow your business so that you can travel, and a big part of business is creativity. And you might be thinking to yourself that you're not a creative person, because for me, when I think of a creative person, like, the first thing that comes to mind is like a painter or some sort of artist I think of like arts and crafts as a kid. That's like, stereotypically, what comes to mind when I think of creativity. But really creativity encompasses so much more than arts.

Speaker 2:

Creativity is the ability to create original ideas, to create something that no one else has done before, and so arts is a way to do that. But if you have a new business idea no one's come up with, that's creative. If you have a new marketing idea, that's creative. If you have a new idea for some game that you want to play on the beach, that's creative. Like there's a lot of ways to be creative, and so we want to talk about why it's so important and then how you can foster creativity in your life to help your business grow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think it's important that we start by busting the myth that creativity equals art, because a lot of us as kids were kind of told, like, put into two boxes, oh, you're either creative and artistic or you're not. Maybe you're more of a math person and we were kind of put in these two boxes and we were told not to pursue the other box because we were better at math, so we should be better at math. Or, like you know, you are a creative person, you should definitely go into art or you know whatever it is, instead of exploring maybe IT or something a little bit more strategic. But really, creativity is something that all of us as human beings have inside of us. And just having a conversation and thinking about you know what am I going to say next and how can I create this conversation and this dialogue with this person is creativity you are in the act of creating. Storytelling is creative. Problem solving is creative.

Speaker 2:

I'm just going to interject on the problem solving one.

Speaker 2:

Monica and I talk a lot about experimentation in your business and that's essential, like when you are growing your business, you're both the experimenter, like the scientist, but you're also the experiment itself.

Speaker 2:

So you got to play around and figure out what works. That's where creative problem solving comes into play. If you are trying to figure out, for example, what reels do best and you put out a few different types and then you find one that works but maybe you want to adapt it a little bit, like it takes really creative problem solving, thinking to figure out what you can do differently to find something that works in your business, like that, like a new reel. Maybe you have a small team of people that you're working with and you're having a problem with one of your team members not doing what they're supposed to. Finding creative solutions to fix that dynamic in your business and to fix that relationship and to find ways to either motivate them to do different or better work or to play well with the team that is all creativity. So I just wanted to throw in a couple examples there of the problem solving one, because I think I personally really like creativity in the problem solving space.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely, and I think, just as a business owner and a digital nomad in general, it's really important to be fluid, to be creative, because the marketplace where we're selling our services is a fluid marketplace and if we go in with one way this is my ride or die way to do business eventually the marketplace is going to shift and it's not going to work out super well. So you always need to be innovative and creative in your business and then, as a digital nomad, you're going to come across problems that you've never experienced before, because maybe you've never been to a place where you have to squat to go to the bathroom, or maybe you've never been to the place where they don't use toilet paper. There's all kinds of problems.

Speaker 1:

There's all kinds of things that you're going to have issues with and you're going to have to have this element of creativity in your life so that not only you can solve these problems, but you can enjoy business and you can enjoy being a digital nomad and you can enjoy the experience all along the way.

Speaker 2:

That's a really good point. The more you travel, you're going to find cultures and societies that are different than you. Yeah, I guess I never thought of it that way, but having creativity in those situations keeps you from being so rigid and so like oh, this is the way it's supposed to be. The more creative you can get with how you live in a culture that's different than yours, the better off you're probably going to be.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 2:

It makes me think of the very last tip that we have. We have 10 ideas for you guys to increase your creativity, but I think the last one I'm actually going to bring up first Stop telling yourself that you're not a creative person. I think a lot of times we create these narratives in our minds. Maybe you've been told by someone that you're not very creative, or maybe you've just been telling yourself you're not creative. Maybe you work in an industry that's traditionally very not creative, like I don't know. Maybe you're like a data analyst or a data enter or something like that Not normally what comes to mind when you think of creativity.

Speaker 2:

So perhaps you've been telling yourself for most of your life that you're not a creative person. And simply by telling yourself that narrative, you are impeding a lot of your creative ability. And so, before we even jump into the other nine tips that we have, open your minds to the idea that maybe you're more creative than you ever gave yourself credit for, and as we go through these tips, maybe there'll be one that stands out to you that you can implement and do something different, and you'll maybe surprise yourself.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think one of the natural characteristics of being human is this need to create and this drive to create, and I encourage you if you feel like you are someone who has been labeled, or labeled yourself, as not a creative person, then maybe just take a look at your life and maybe see, start pointing out some areas where you have been very creative, find and list out these ways that you are and have been creative, and I think you will surprise yourself there. So, now that you are aware that you are a creative person, let's talk about a couple of things you can do, specifically, nine things you can do to boost your creativity.

Speaker 2:

Number one. You know we're going to bring this one up Traveling. Traveling is a really good way to expose yourself to a huge variety of different things, different experiences, different ideas and perspectives. We were just talking about different cultures. By being in these new places, you're going to force your brain to start paying more attention to what's around you and you're going to notice these differences, and the more that you are aware of these things, it brings inspiration into your mind. Our first big experience that comes to mind with this was when we were in Guatemala and we were first starting out our web design business. We felt so creative being in this new space, because everything's new. I don't really know how to explain it, but the newness of your location really brings in all these new ideas to your mind as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we've talked about this quite a bit on the podcast in the past. But when you kind of are in a place for a really long time, you kind of stop to notice the little nuances around you. For example, the best example I can think of is how often have you gotten in the car or whatever it is like? However, you get there and get to the store and all of a sudden you realize how the heck did I get here? Or maybe it was to work or whatever it is. You kind of get in these routines and patterns and your brain creates those shortcuts for you to conserve energy, and it's like a really cool thing that your brain actually does.

Speaker 1:

But it does mean that on your way to work or to the store, you miss the trees, you miss the butterflies, you miss the dog, the mountains, all of the cool architecture around you. You missed everything on your way to work. So when you put yourself in a place where you are exposed to new, just everything is so new. Your brain is taking in all of that information because it's trying to figure out how to create shortcuts for you, and so all of a sudden you notice the flowers and the buildings and the sights and the smells that you wouldn't notice if you were in a place, like in a very structured routine. Travel has this way of helping you notice more and be inspired by more things around you. If you're in a place where you can't travel, I think you can still recreate this experience a bit by exposing yourself to new ideas through, maybe, books or movies or going to a new restaurant that you've never tried before. There are ways.

Speaker 2:

Talk to new people.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, there are definitely ways that you can recreate this feeling not quite to some extent that travel does, but it'll definitely help you boost your creativity.

Speaker 2:

Our second tip is about mindfulness and meditation. The epitome of creative inspiration coming from mindfulness and meditation is shower thoughts. How often do you have a good idea when you're taking a shower, or maybe when you're going out on a walk? I think for me, more it's when I'm out walking and I'm not plugged into something listening. That's a really good time for ideas to come, because you're decluttering your mind. You're just creating extra space for the genesis of new ideas. When you purposely make time for mindfulness and meditation, just let your brain wander a little bit and you'll be surprised with what comes to mind.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we are living in a time where, literally, we are so bombarded with other people's thoughts all the time. It's pretty cool, it's really cool that we're able to share information, but it does have a side effect of dampening your own thoughts because you are constantly putting in someone else's information, someone else's stimulus, someone else's thoughts. The idea here is that you take time to unplug. Like Austin said, just let your mind wander, whether that's going on a walk, whether it's a shower, whether that's an active meditation practice.

Speaker 1:

There are so many cool things you can do, especially if you get in the habit of doing these daily that are really going to help you be more creative in your everyday life. I think that plays I think one and two here play really well into number three, and that is to break out of your routine. If you're finding yourself getting stuck and feeling uninspired and uncreative, then take a second to step out of your comfort zone by breaking up your daily routine. New experiences are going to have that same effect that we were talking about with travel to really stimulate your brain and spark creative thinking.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Idea number four brainstorming. I love brainstorming. If you can actually set aside dedicated time to have a brainstorming session, that's so powerful. It encourages the free flow of ideas and the biggest key to this is to do it without judgment. A lot of times we filter our thoughts and we don't even write them down, or sometimes we don't even let ourselves think them because we're afraid of the thought. Maybe we're afraid of other people reacting to them, how they're going to judge us for it. Tell yourself that there's no bad ideas, there's no wrong direction. Just let your ideas flow without judgment of yourself. Don't judge yourself for any thoughts that come to mind. If you just can have this free flow, just write everything down that comes to mind. We've learned that quantity often leads to quality.

Speaker 2:

There's this really interesting study we just heard about the other day. We should find it so we can share it with you guys. The idea was there are two groups of people and they were each given a huge hunk of clay. One group of people was told to use this huge hunk of clay to make one huge pot, to make the most perfect, best pot they could possibly make. Then the other group of people was told to make as many pots as they could and just break it up into as many small pieces of clay as they needed. They discovered that the best pot actually came from the group that made the most pots, that made as many as they could, because the repetition of the creation of these pots meant that it gave them opportunities to find out what didn't work and fix it and do something different.

Speaker 2:

It's the similar idea when you are brainstorming and you just let all these ideas flow. The more ideas you have. Sure you're going to have really crummy ideas, you're going to have ideas that are really terrible, but for every nine terrible ideas you're going to have one really stellar idea. You might not get to that idea unless you go through the crummy ideas first. Just throw them all out there and you'll find some really good things in that brainstorming session.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think the really impactful thing about this for me personally was that the group that was told to just make as many pots as they could felt like they were able to experiment and they just felt that freedom to just go for it and totally let loose. That's where the perfect pot came from, where the people who were told, hey, you have one shot to make the perfect pot were so scared to try new things that their pot didn't end up that good. The idea with brainstorming is just to let loose. Let yourself have the freedom to explore different options.

Speaker 2:

Let it all hang out there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's definitely especially in business. I feel like it's a really safe way to explore all the different options without having to invest time and money and energy into a bad idea. So you can explore all the ideas on paper and then you can say, okay, this, I think this is actually a really good idea and move forward with it.

Speaker 2:

I would definitely encourage you to physically write these ideas down and just have this scratch paper and write things out. But it's also helpful to process audibly. If I'm alone sometimes I'll just voice record myself and just kind of ramble and just let my. I'll just go and I'll talk for like an hour to myself, just to my phone, and a lot of times, probably more often than that, it's me talking with Monica and we'll just have like a verbal brainstorming session. We'll just shoot out ideas. It has the same effect. You know you're not going to have not every idea is going to be a keeper, but whether it's writing it down audibly, whatever works for you, they're both good options.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would just caution to make sure that you're talking to somebody who's encouraging and not who's going to shut down your ideas, because that will definitely dampen your creativity.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, make sure you find someone who also shares this non-judgmental attitude with you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay. So number five doodling and sketching. Now hear me out. I know you might be thinking well, I am not an artist, I cannot draw. But this visual representation of your ideas, just doodling and sketching, and not, again, not judging your drawings, you're not trying to draw the Mona Lisa, you're just doodling it'll help you see things from a new perspective and it can really help you visualize and explore concepts in a really different way and kind of get your brain to start to think about things differently.

Speaker 2:

One super fun exercise that we've done a couple of times is draw 25, 30 circles on a piece of paper you can use like a quarter, so you get the same size and shape and everything, and then see how many different ideas you can come up with to doodle inside of that circle.

Speaker 2:

It's like maybe doodle one of them is a son, maybe another one's a watch, a balloon or a bicycle wheel or a button or a pizza and just see if you can come up with 25 to 30 different ideas of what you can doodle inside of a circle. It takes you maybe 10 minutes, but it's really fun. Idea number six play and exploration. The idea behind this one is just to get out there and have fun, be curious and try new things. Ask yourself new questions, approach problems with a playful attitude, like we've talked about before just experiment, try different things and see what works. Try and challenge yourself to approach things with a more unconventional approach. Don't be afraid of failure the same idea of you know spitting out all these ideas and not being afraid that they're bad ones. Like just don't be afraid of what the outcome could be and just let yourself come up with ideas and solutions to problems.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, if I had to boil this one down to like one little nugget of wisdom would be to don't be so hard on yourself. Like, just have fun with it. Yeah, just have fun. Like. Kids are some of the most creative people I know and it's because they don't judge themselves. They just let themselves explore ideas, they just let themselves have fun. And as adults somehow we lose that and we start to be really critical of ourselves and start to beat ourselves up a lot more and we really lose a lot of creativity through that process.

Speaker 2:

I really like that one Just have fun with the whole process. Creativity should be fun. I feel like fun is built into the word creative. Somehow no letters aren't there, but creativity is just a fun thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but it also should be built into business and in life in general. Fun should just be part of your life. You are here to have fun, to enjoy life. As you're building a business, as you're becoming a gilnomad, how can you make that process more fun?

Speaker 2:

Idea number seven is to take breaks. This one's really nice because we can only reach a certain level of productivity. Everyone's threshold is a little bit different, but everyone has a threshold and at some point you're just you hit a mental roadblock and new ideas just aren't coming or you're not going to be focused. And so when you need to take a break, go out on a walk and take a nap, if you need to let your brain just kind of rest and reset. This kind of goes along with our earlier point of mindfulness and meditation. Just let your brain relax a little bit. Your brain's going to declutter. I've noticed a lot of times when I take this break, I'm intending to come back to work later and expecting that that's going to be when these creative juices start flowing. But sometimes it starts earlier than that, like during my break. When I release the pressure on myself to be producing, new ideas start coming.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that leaves us really well into number eight, which is write it down when it comes. So don't try to force yourself to be creative on a deadline or like in a moment, because that's when it's like during the headlights, all the creativity is going to be gone. But as you are out and about, if you have ideas that would be really good for you, write it down and then, when you need it, when you're in the moment when you need to create something, go back to your ideas list. So, austin and I, a really practical example for us is when we're creating these podcasts or when we're creating our reels, we have a shared notes app in our phone and we, just as ideas come, we jot them down and then, when it comes time to create reels or sit down and outline the podcast, we just pull up that list and we don't put any pressure on ourselves to be creative in that moment.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love this idea. I saw somebody on Instagram the other day I wish I remember who it was the same exact idea. They called it a bingo box. They have a little box of ideas and when inspiration hits, they'll jot it down on a piece of paper or a sticky note and fold it up and stick it in their bingo box and then, when they need new ideas, they'll go and pull it out. And they'll pull out one at a time and do whatever's on there or use whatever note was on that sticky note. So the whole idea is to capitalize on inspiration when it comes. If you don't need it in that moment, record it so that you have it when you do need it.

Speaker 2:

And our ninth idea is to build a creativity ramp. You can use some of these earlier ideas as part of your creativity ramp. So think about when you get onto the freeway. When you're driving, you don't just go from zero to 60 immediately. There's an on ramp. You have to work your way up to the speed on the freeway. So if you're trying to just like, all of a sudden start thinking of creative things and, you know, get the ideas flowing, it might not work as well. So the idea of this is to kind of warm up your creativity muscle. Um, so maybe one of the things you do is you go out on a walk before you sit down to produce content. Maybe that doodling, sketching idea really struck a chord with you, and so you're going to sit down and you're going to doodle for 10 minutes before you start trying to come up with new ideas.

Speaker 1:

So this is something that was really helpful for me and is still really helpful for me when I when I would start creating brands or websites for clients because innately that was a really creative business and and service that I was offering and so I had a kind of a routine, kind of a ritual that I would do on the day I'd say, okay, today is the day that I'm creating their brand and their website, and so I would not get on social media. That was a really big thing for me is I would make sure that nobody else's ideas were coming into my head. Then I would go on a walk or I would do some yoga and some meditation and again, I would try to make sure that nobody else's ideas were going in my head. Occasionally I had a good podcast or two that was specifically around being a creative or web design to kind of get my my brain thinking and and start warming up the you know, the website muscles in my brain. And then I would come back and I would sit down and I had a playlist that I would listen to and then I would create and inevitably, as long as I did those things, it was a fantastic day for creation.

Speaker 1:

If I ever miss those things or spent my morning scrolling social media, it was always super rough. It was, like Austin said, trying to jump right into going 60 miles an hour from from nothing, right, so? So build yourself a creativity on ramp, something that works for you, in order to help you work up to being super creative.

Speaker 2:

And then our last idea. We've already shared this with you, but we're going to circle back around to it. It comes down to your mindset. Stop telling yourself that you are not a creative person. Flip the narrative on yourself and start telling yourself a new story. This is what Monica and I love doing as coaches. It's one of the most rewarding aspects of being a coach is we get to help people identify the stories that they're telling themselves and then help them change it and rewrite it, because, ultimately, you're authoring your own story, and that includes yourself. That includes how you perceive yourself. We want to challenge you to, especially if you feel like you're not a creative person, rewrite that for yourself. Take some of these ideas and take the ones that have resonated with you today and put them into action. And again, we just really think that creativity is a vital aspect of growing your online business, of being just a human in the world, whether you're running a business or you're just an employee, whether you're meeting new people, making new friends. Creativity plays into all of that.

Speaker 1:

So, just to recap, the exercises you can do to boost your creativity would be to number one, expose yourself to new ideas, ideally to travel, because obviously that's the best way to do it. It's super non-bias here, as you can tell. And number two, through mindfulness and meditation, taking time to unplug and just let your brain run wild. Number three break up your routines. Number four have a brainstorming session where you just let all your thoughts out.

Speaker 2:

A non-judgmental brainstorming session.

Speaker 1:

Number five doodling and sketching. Number six be playful and explore more. Number seven take breaks. Number eight write it down when the inspiration comes. Number nine build a creativity on ramp. And number 10, and probably the most important one, is stop telling yourself that you are not creative.

Speaker 2:

All right, guys, thanks for listening and go out there and be creative. Thanks so much for joining us here on the profitable Nomad Couple podcast. We appreciate you listening to us today.

Speaker 1:

If you enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram and be sure to tag us. At Austin and Monica, together, we can inspire others to embrace a location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 2:

And while you're there, we'd love to connect with you, so make sure you follow us for more tips and inspiration on living your dream location independent lifestyle.

Speaker 1:

Until next week. Remember that you have the power to shape your own path. So stay curious, stay adventures and stay connected.

Fostering Creativity for Business Growth
Boosting Creativity Through Travel
Mindfulness and Meditation
Break up your routine
Brainstorming
Doodling and Sketching
Play and Exploration
Take breaks
Write it down
Build a creativity on ramp
Stop telling yourself you're not creative