Unleash Your Creativity at Work
Why has it taken a global pandemic for us to become creative gurus and goddesses again and how important is it for us to tap into our creativity so we can be more innovative, relevant and resilient at work. These are the questions that Mykel Dixon answers for us during this episode of the ‘Wine and Wisdom’ show called ‘Unleash Your Creativity at Work’.
#creativity #creativeleadership #everydaycreative
H – Well, hello everybody and welcome to the Wine and Wisdom show. It’s so lovely to have you here on a Wednesday night. For those of you who are returning, welcome and cheers. I hope you’ve got a little glass of plonk or something. And for those of you who are here for the first time, thank you so much for trusting in us to be here tonight. To give you a little bit of background, the Wine and Wisdom show, it’s really all about connection. And I think we can all agree that during the last 10, 12, 13 weeks, one of the most important things that we’ve all found for our lives is the importance of connection. And I think there’s no time like now to surround ourselves with people who can bring a smile to our face, some warmth to our hearts, and some wisdom to our brains. And I feel very lucky that throughout my life I’ve been surrounded by some very unique and talented individuals, who I truly believe are making such a difference to our workplaces and our world because of their courage and their resilience and their self-leadership. And I wanted to bring them to this show. Because being a connecting show where I can connect with you, I also wanted to connect these great individuals with you as well. And tonight, when I talk about great individuals, I couldn’t be connecting you with somebody who is greater. I’m not sure if that’s proper grammar, but tonight, we’re going to be talking about creativity and the importance of really unleashing our creativity personally and professionally. And there is no one better to talk to us about that than Mykel Dixon. So I am going to bring him to our show. Here he is. Hey, hello there.
M – Hey, hi. Hi, everyone out there. How are you doing?
H – How are you, Mykel?
M – I am wonderfully well, and I’m even better now that I’m here on your show with you. I’ve been looking forward to it and thrilled to be joining you and the gang.
H – Do you have a little drop of something? What have you got next to you?
M – You know, I actually have a, like a carrot and ginger and celery and beetroot in this. I was going to do the wine. I was going to do the whisky, but I’m a little… I’m just, it’s not going to help tomorrow, so I thought I’ll slip this in, make it look like I’m still drinking something.
H – Well, that’s completely fine. You drink whatever you need to tonight, but so that I don’t feel alone, if anybody’s watching and they’re having a little wine, perhaps you could let us know in the comments what you’re having. Are you having a red, a white, a bubbles, a beer, a whisky, or perhaps some carrot and ginger juice like Mykel?
M – Yes, yes.
H – Oh, you’re making me feel very guilty right now, but not too guilty because I will have another sip.
M – Yes, good. You deserve it. To be honest, I actually, I did a podcast earlier today and we actually had a wine about four and I was like, “Well, you know what? “Maybe I’ll leave that there.” I went too early, I peaked too early.
H – Peaked too early, yes. That happens sometimes, doesn’t it?
M – Story of my life, yes.
H – Now, Mykel, for everybody listening, Mykel is an extraordinary and unique individual. I know him as a keynote speaker. We have shared stages together. He is an author. We’re going to talk about his books tonight. He’s also a musician by trade and a gypsy by nature. Now, Mykel… Hello, Tiffany. She’s having a Prosecco. Thank you, I’m so glad. Cheers to you.
M – Well done. Good choice.
H – I don’t know if we’ve ever had this conversation, Mykel. I don’t think we have, but I was actually a gypsy in my past life. Did I, have I ever spoken to you about this?
M – I did not know that, but it makes so much sense to me now, Heidi.
H – Yes, that’s why we have this connection, right? We’re both gypsies.
M – It’s beautiful.
H – So Mykel, tell everybody who you are, what you do, and share with everybody the positivity that you are sprinkling around our world because we’d love to hear it.
M – Who am I? I am, well, yes. I am a musician by trade, gypsy by nature, you said that. So I love to travel, I love to move around. And that’s a little harder now with two kids and our place. But I speak and advise leaders and organisations about how to be more creative, more innovative, more self-expressed, how to build cultures that are inclusive, that are safe enough to have dangerous conversations and to make and take more risks in their work and experiment and explore new possibilities. I design learning experiences and curate events, and I write books. And I love it. And I’m thrilled to do the work that I do with quite a… I traversed this mystical dance of choice and chance to arrive at the place that I am right now enjoying the work that I’m doing. Drawing on all the different experiences that I’ve had through my life, which has been quite wide. But I love it, you know? And I’m thrilled I get to talk with people like you and your wonderful audience and hang out. So I’m having a great time.
H – And Mykel, I know you started, I mean, you’ve been a musician for decades and decades and decades… Sorry, you’re not that old.
M – I love it. For 70 years I was a musician.
H – 1927 was when you started. Ha ha.
M – That’s right, yes.
H – What I mean by that is, when was the point where you were able to transition and say, “Right, this kind of creative world that I’ve got within the music world, how do I turn that into something that is going to make such a difference for corporates and professionals and leaders?” What was that moment or what was that period of time and how did that happen?
M – Definitely wasn’t a moment. It was a period of time. And I think that’s a really good point in thinking, in anyone thinking about that career transitionsor the evolution of a career over a whole lifetime. I think it’s a wonderfully romantic idea and very Hollywood to think about these moments where this lightning bolt strikes you and you know exactly what it is you want to do or you know that you need to leave the job you’re in to fire off on this new career path. But it tends to be, in reality, more like this slow burn of little signals and things happen in the periphery that start to mean more and start to come more into the center of your vision. And then, an opportunity will present itself and you’ll say “yes” to that, that will lead to another that will lead to another and another. And that’s certainly what happened to me, where I had just returned from, when I had turned 30, it was nine years ago. I had another existential crisis. I’ve had about seven in my life already. And I sold all my possessions and headed off overseas on another wild adventure to find out who I was and where was my place in the world. And I ended up in India and then had plans to go to Berlin to make electronic music in a basement somewhere at 4:00 a.m. And I never got there. I ended up back in Southeast Asia, accidentally bought a beach bar in Cambodia. Built a Mexican restaurant in the guest house. And yes, that was a wild time. And then, after that, I sold that and I got a little patch of land, built a dome, lived alone with my two dogs making music and creating for another year. And then, around then, I started thinking, “Okay, what am I going to do here? “How is this, I know I’ve got more to give. “I know I’ve got more to contribute, but I’m not sure when.” So I guess what I was just saying that these things don’t happen to be significant moments, but I did have a significant sliding doors moment where a guy walked into a bar I was in and said, “I’m selling my island, a 99 year lease on an island “in the Gulf of Thailand, and do you want to buy it?” It was $50 grand U.S. It had a guest house already set up on it. Had fresh water, solar panels. I could’ve lived there for however many years and been that guy that grows dreadlocks down passed his bum, never wears a shirt, you know, that you meet on these travels. There’s always the guy or the girl or the couple. You know what I mean?
H – Yes.
M – And I thought, “Do I want to be that guy? “Is this what I’m here to do?” And I’m like, “Nah.” And it was very clear I had more to do back in Australia or wherever. Booked a flight, found a home for my dogs, came back. And then, it just evolved. I mean, from that point, I was 33 or 34, and I just was like, “What now? “What do I do?” I’m a muso that’s owned bars, that’s done random, random things. I want to give more. I’ve got stuff I want to say. I want to help. I know, I had a vision of what I wanted to do, but it just, it wasn’t clear. It was so fuzzy, but it was such a strong intent. And I guess, following that intent led me to, I was the cultural architect of this, of an innovation space, of a coworking space. And I started writing content. People started asking me, “Wow, I love what you wrote. “Can you come and talk with my team? “Can you come and talk at this conference? “We’ll pay you to talk to our team. “We’ll pay you to speak at this conference.” Lo and behold a whole world opens up that, you know, speaking and advising and executive mentoring, whatever else. And then, I realised I became my father. And my mother, I went full circle and ended up doing training and stuff like what my mom and dad have both done at various points in their careers. So yes, very interesting.
H – Yes, very interesting. And I didn’t know about the whole beach bar thing, but sit ounds like a great period of time. And yes, a very interesting sliding door moment. And for anybody who does have questions, because I know a lot of people have been having these kinds of transitions through their career. And if you’ve got any questions for Mykel tonight, please put them in the comments and we will check them as we go. I know a lot of people watch this Facebook Lives later. But we will come back to that, so if you are watching this later when we’re not live, please feel free to put in a question and we will come back and answer it for you. Mykel, one of the strategies I always talk about when I’m talking to people about building resilience is for them to try to embrace joy again. And it feels like, as adults, this is a trait that we lose. We lose the spontaneity of joy, and I think, you know, there’s some really terrible things going on in our world right now, of course. Certainly, in the last two weeks but over the last three months as well, and sometimes it’s really hard to feel joyful when you are exposed to so much panic and fear and rage going on. So what are your thoughts on the role that music can have with us? Listening to music, playing music, dancing to music, singing to music. Is this something that you talk about at all in regards to finding our joy?
M – 100%. Not exclusively, but it definitely plays a very significant role in the work that I do. I also have a livestream show, and one of the themes we had a few weeks ago was joy and we had a bunch of guests and we talked about it. And someone left a comment in the thread as we were rolling through the show. And they said, “Joy is an act of defiance.” And I love that because it feels so much, you know, in these times, it feels like it is an act of defiance. And even in the workplace a lot of time, the systems and structures that hold these organisations in place often don’t allow for, don’t encourage that freedom of spirit and that joyful, liberated energy that makes us come alive. And so it’s so necessary. It’s so vital for us to do work that not just we’re proud of but work that we’re good at. But to make a difference is when we’re lit up and inspired by the work we do. And if we follow our joy, if we let ourselves, in an act of defiance, be excited and joyful at work, we’re better at it. And if you think, thinking about the length of music, like you said, music’s just a frequency and the universe, if we get a little deep, I mean, we’re drinking wine now. It is after hours, life is pure frequency. That’s all it is, is just energy waves moving throughout the universe, very slow ones, very fast ones. If you go into this table or microphones, cameras, it’s just little atoms and neurons firing, little different frequencies. So music is the purest, it’s like the purest form of life itself, so when you hear that or when you’re around that, those different frequencies, it’s almost like coming home. So it can be such a gateway, such a really neat pathway back to joy or back to you, back to what really makes you come alive. So it’s a powerful tool, and I thoroughly recommend it, particularly in iso terms, we can get lost in Netflix and Stan and Amazon Prime and all of these wonderful streaming services. But I’ll tell you, some of the best times I’ve had in the last few months have just been when I’ve put an album on and just sat back and listened and “Oh, my God, I need to do this more.” Music just transports you to somewhere else. It’s beautiful.
H – Look, I couldn’t agree more and the thing is, we all have our own loves of music, whoever that is, that person who does bring us that joy. And whether it’s someone who’s trendy right now or someone like me. I’m a huge Rod Stewart fan–
M – Oh, yes.
H – I, you know, he brings me joy–
M – Of course you are.
H – So those who are watching, I want you to tell us in the comments, who is it that you have listened to during lockdown that has brought you a bit of joy? I know Tiffany’s on there, and I know that David Bowie is definitely who she would say.
M – Oh, yes, amazing.
H – Yes, he is amazing.
M – He’s just next level, just a beautiful, beautiful man. There’s actually a cool children’s book, or series of children’s books, that we’ve got for the kids that they’re all significant characters or people throughout life like Freida or David Bowie. You know, artists or engineers or scientists or whatever. And it’s just their life story but in a cool picture book, and we read David Bowie to our kids every night. And even that, even just children’s book, he’s just cool. He’s just got the swagger and the, he’s like no one else. He’s amazing.
H – Oh, I might have to get the link for that book for sure. You did talk about what people are doing, have been doing during COVID and the lockdown, and it’s been really interesting for me to watch across social media that people seem to have gone back to some creative pursuits. They’re cooking and they’re drawing and they’re gardening and they’re learning the guitar. But I wonder, why has it taken a global pandemic for people to revert back into their creative spirit? What are your thoughts on that?
M – We’re moving too fast. The world, the corporate machine, this industrial capitalist consumerist machine that we all inherited. And I don’t think it was like a conspiracy theory. I don’t think it was… It was just what happened, you know? But it really, it was firing on all cylinders. And no one had any time. I mean, we can look at some of the stuff I talk about in my book. You can look at the way we were educated, or you can look at the way that business was set up in the beginning out of the Industrial Revolution. And management techniques and principles and stuff like that that really did diminish and suppress our self-expression, our creativity, but essentially, I think the biggest reason why so many of us aren’t doing this, or weren’t doing this, is we just don’t have the time. And we’re exhausted, and we gotta pay the mortgage and we gotta keep the lights on. We gotta get the kids in school. We gotta pack those lunches, and we’ve gotta… Then we gotta drink green smoothies and we’ve gotta do yoga and we gotta have a mindfulness practice and we’ve gotta have an investment portfolio. We’ve gotta, just gotta do more, more, more, more, more . And to do a little crafting on the weekend or to strum a guitar for 20 minutes, I mean, who has time for that? It’s such a frivolous, fortunate pastime for those woo woo artists but not me. I’ve got stuff that I need to do. So I mean, that’s the gift of this time if there is such a thing, aside from the tragedy and loss that so many people have experienced, is to just slow down and just to really get present to the gift of using your hands and connecting with your heart and making things. There’s an intelligence in our body. There’s an intelligence in the process of making. We just don’t access that enough.
H – Yes, yes, absolutely. And I mean, I know, for myself, you’ve just described exactly how I feel. I can’t prioritise it. I’ve just got so much other stuff to do. There’s just no way. But it’s important, right? And that leads me to this next question around the importance of, as professionals, and tapping into our creativity as a profession in our professional worlds. Why is that important? What does it help us do? Do we become more innovative? Do we become more resilient and relevant in our corporate situation? What do you think?
M – 100%. I mean, what I always like to think about. What would an employer, who would an employer choose? Someone that does the job as is designed, that follows the rules, that waits for permission or approval, that only, that five o’clock comes around and that’s it, “I’m clocking off, I’m goin’ home,” or someone that is constantly looking for ways to add value? Someone that never takes the only options as the only options, someone that is consistently pushing the edges and stretching out and throwing in wacky, wild ideas and intentions and possible projects. And someone that’s able to shift and to adapt to unforeseen changes and make something new and enjoy, bring a joyful energy to that kinda space. You’re going to hire that person every time. And all of that is creativity. I think the biggest, maybe even a better way to answer your question is that creativity still suffers from an identity crisis or we do. You know, there’s a lotta research out there, at least in the last decade or so, talking about the creativity crisis. That we’re really starting to lose it as adults, as a culture in the West. But we don’t have a creativity crisis, we have an identity crisis. We have a mixed up narrative where we don’t think that we are creative or we don’t think that there’s a place for it at work. But if you dig a little deeper, you realise we all have the same, roughly the same, creative capability and that thinking outside the box is the most high value work we can do. Particularly in this new environment, so if there was, so as fluffy and as esoteric and as woo woo as listening to music and playing the guitar and doing water coloring on a weekend might seem, that’s just one shade of what creativity is. And it’s time to redefine what it is so that we can all have, so that we can all access it and get the most out of it, not just in how we give and add value to our work or our clients but for ourselves, to light our own life up and enjoy our own potential and what we can give and create to the world.
H – Yes
M – And I feel like there’s two layers with that because the creativity component of the joy, what it brings to ourselves, we can tap into what puts a smile on our face and makes our hearts sing. That’s gold, right? Just such gold for how we experience our days and our lives. But again, when we’re looking at creativity within our professional worlds, we have no idea, as we’ve all experienced, what is going to happen. How the next months and years are going to unfold. And if you are stuck in this kind of set mindset of how things are, we talked about a bit before, that we’re in trouble, you know?
H – Yes.
M – It is those who can be creative, who can look for different ways to approach problems and find the solutions. That is really what creativity is. It doesn’t have to go into this woo woo thing that people think it is all about. It is just about finding different approaches, seeing things with a new lens.
H – 100%. Yup, beautiful. And Emma, I’m just looking at Emma in the comments. She’s saying, “To reach that creative space,” there it is, “you need quiet time to go within.” And that can be COVID-19 and everything that we’ve just been through and really to leverage this time, not in like an exploitative kinda way, but to remember and reconnect with what lights you up. Have that space to push out the world for a little bit. Take your time. I know both you and I were speaking just before we went on air. I mean, our industries of speaking large scale events, big training programs, that’s on hold indefinitely. I’ve got a lot of events, I’m sure you do too, that got pushed back to next year, but will they ever be the same? At least not for the next few years. Will we have 500, 1000, 2000 people in a room? No, not for a while. So what are we going to do? We’re going to have to adapt. And not to get down about it, just see an opportunity in that and just what I’m certainly trying to do at the moment and really enjoying is to create projects and to create things that just really light me up. And I have no intention or no idea how it will ever turn a profit, and that’s a fortunate position for me to be in. It’s not that I, I can keep the lights on for the next little while. It’s not like, “Oh, my God!” But even still, if you’ve just got enough to get by, just put maybe some of those other plans on hold and just do, use this time to get back to who you are. If I can add one thing without sounding too preachy, Heidi. Your creativity looks vastly different to mine. Your self-expression will always be vastly different to mine. But yours is so required. You know, we talked about David Bowie earlier in the show. I mean, what if he was stopped or what if he didn’t find the courage to express himself or to keep expressing himself and changing and reinventing himself every time there was a detractor or he got a bad review or something like that? The world is such a richer, more beautiful, more meaningful place because he found the courage to express his creative potential. And that’s the same for every single person on this planet. There’s no one that doesn’t have a voice. There’s no one that doesn’t have a vision. And it’s our job in our lives to find it, to articulate it, to get close to it, and to share it as much and as often as we can.
H – Absolutely, thank you for saying those beautiful words, and I couldn’t agree more. Actually you’ve reminded me of something. Oh gosh, I hope I’m not going to put you on the spot here.
M – Please.
H – Last year, when we were speaking at that Future of Leadership series, you talked about a statistic about creative leadership used to be like number 537 in 2010, but now, in fact, it’s right up, I can’t remember, I should, sorry. I should remember that, but I think it went up, was it number three? I don’t know.
M – It was the World Economic Forum in 2015 placed creativity as the tenth most important skill, but now, it’s actually nine out of the top 10 skills they believe leaders need for the next decade are all creative. So whether that’s empathy or whether that’s complex problem solving or critical thinking, they’re all essentially creativity. And it’s, I mean, yes, there’s new research coming out every day about the value and importance and even the ROI, like the shareholder return. And McKinsey have come up with a creativity index where they can measure the creative capability of an organisation. And the companies that score high on that index outperform their competitors in two key metrics. One being an aptitude for innovation, so a hunger for changing the game and trying new things and experimenting. And the second, shareholder return, so cold hard cash. So creativity now, I like to say, is the strongest economic currency. So it’s not just about feeling good. It’s also about makin’ buck.
H – Yes, they like that.
M – So get on board.
H – Yes, they like that. That’s a good stat to have. So for those of us who feel that we’ve perhaps lost our, you know, that connection we had to just being free spirits and embracing our creativity and just taking risks and just going for it, what do we do? How do we get back into that? Because it’s so important.
M – Yes, go with joy. Like we talked about before, I would … I think of it like a muscle, like you’re training. No one likes thinking about the gym or running or eating clean, but anyone, any trainer, any health professional will tell you, you start small but consistency is king. You got to do it every day. Even if you just do a five minute walk to start with and then make it 10 minutes and then a five minute run and then a 10 minute run and then a 15, then 20. Then a 2k, then a 3k, then a 5k. But just gradually building, but you got to do it consistently. And the same is true with creativity. It’s not something you do once a month. If you want to get good at, you know, I used to teach piano for many years, and I would tell people. They’d always say, “Oh, you know, “I want to get better at piano.” I’d say, “You will be 100 times better “if you do five minutes practice a day than “if you do one hour a week.” Because the muscle memory, you lose, it’s hard to get momentum. It’s hard to build on things. You don’t get the compound interest. For anyone that understands finance or has built an empire out there, you know the value of compound interest. The same is true of your creativity. And essentially, it doesn’t have to be hard work. Creativity can be joy. It’s finding the joy, finding magic in the mundane, finding the extra in the ordinary. It’s finding the secrets of the special sauce that surrounds you. It is, yes. Can be very simple and pleasurable, but you gotta do it every day.
H – And I know music is that for you, right?
M – Yes, look, I think I’m agnostic now when it comes to how I express myself. I love making videos. I’ve always done spoken word. I love outfits, I love dressing, I love music. I love conversation, I love throwing dinner parties. That’s a creative experience for me. What’s the first food they get and pairing that with a wine or a cocktail. It’s all creative expression. It’s all my personality coming through, and that’s always available to us is just to express ourselves in ways that make us come alive.
H – So for those of you who are listening, I would love to know, what, if you were always gifted five minutes a day, always, nothing else would ever get in the way ever, no work, no family commitment, no walking the dog, you were always gifted this five minutes every single day, what creative pursuit would you do? What is it that is sitting there in your soul ready to come out and that you would love just to commit that five minutes a day to? Let us know in the comments.
M – And I’ll tell you, a quick story if I can. So there’s a friend of mine, started as a client and now she’s a dear friend of mine. She came to me, and she’s like, “I want to be more creative. “I want more creativity in my life. “I need more,” she wasn’t really happy in the role that she was doing in her work, and she’s like, “All right, I want you to mentor me, and I love writing. “I want to be an author, I want to write a novel, “but I’m not quite ready for that, but I would love for you “to help me get ready that one day I could write a novel. “Oh, and by the way, in two months I’m going “around the world for nine months,” or something like that, “quitting my job, I’ve had enough.” Okay, great. And through the course of us working together, it came up, yes, she wanted to write a novel and that she was going to go away. And I was like, “Cool, so that’s what we’re going to do. “You’re going to write a novel.” “What do you mean? “I haven’t written one before. “I’ve only written a few blog posts or short stories. “I don’t know how to write a novel.” “Well, then, this is how you’re going to learn, “by writing a novel.” And there’s this idea that you’ve got to do all of this work before you can do the thing you really want to do. So we set up a game where every week she was going to release a chapter of her book to her growing mailing list. And I think, in the beginning it was her parents, a couple of friends, and me. And as she went around the world and she’s growing people on her list, and she’s writing. And every week, I’d get that chapter in the inbox. And then, she came back, and it was like, “Oh, my God. “You actually wrote a book. “Yes, well, now you got to print it “and then we’re going to launch it.” And she’s like, “Whoa.” So then, she got, I’m looking at it. It’s on my bookshelf just over there. She printed a real book, self published and had her book launch in the city. All her friends and colleagues came. Amazing. When her former employer found out about this, “Are you back in town? “Oh, my God, you’ve written a book? “What the hell? “We would love for you to come back and work for us.” “Oh, I’m not sure.” “No, no, no, no, no, we’ll make you a leader, “give you a leadership position. “We’ll pay you way more money. “What else do you need?” “Well, I can only work four days a week “because I want one day to write.” So she quit her job because she wasn’t happy. She wanted, instead of like doing creativity training or trying to get good at something before doing the thing she wanted to do, she dived straight into doing exactly what she wanted to do, which was write a novel, while traveling. So there was no excuses. It was like, “You know what? “If you’re going to do this, do it.” There’s not, I mean, the quintessential author traveling the world. It’s fantastic, this romantic notion. But then to come back, launch it, print it, it’s real. Your former employer says, “Whoa, what do you need to have you come back? “We’ll make you a leader, pay you more money, “and you can work less time.” It’s the power of creativity.
H – Yes, it’s incredible. Well, we’ve got some who are going to dance, who are going to do photography, sing their favourite songs, write a page of thoughts, hard copy photos, not on my phone. Yes, that would be a project I’m sure we would all like to– Yes, definitely. Thank you, Linda. When I was young, I used to sew clothes with my mom. I used to work in a haberdashery shop, and I’d spend my entire week’s wage on new material. And I’d come home and mom and I would sew together, and we’d make outfits. And if I could, oh my gosh, if I could do that, that would make my soul sing definitely.
M – And you know what? There’s something else in that. So there’s something else, aside from the obvious doing something with your mom and sewing rah rah, there’s another element behind that, a quality that you can find in the work you’re doing now. It’s like me being creatively agnostic. So it’s, there’s a sensation that I get when I’m playing an instrument, but I can find it when I’m making a video. I can find it when I’m speaking on stage. I can find it hosting a dinner party or in conversation with a stranger. There’s a quality that you’ve got in there that is very powerful that it attracted you to that that brings you that joy that we’ve been talking about. It’s our job to find that. So yes, photography, looking at photos. Amazing, do that. Singing, dancing, great. But what is it about the dancing? What’s that quality? because you can find that everywhere. And that’s really the spirit of this everyday creativity that I talk about is trying to find that beauty in everything you do, even the parts of your job or some of the relationships that, you know, aren’t that great. It’s a very powerful skill, a mindset and a tool, and yes, it’s just the gift that keeps on giving.
H – Which brings me to your book. Your third book?
M – Second.
H – No, I’ve already seen two books, I’ve seen two books. One was a kind of a workbooky, brochurey book, so I’m calling–
M – Okay, yes, yes, cool.
H – I’m calling this your third book. Yes, hold it up again. Hold it up again. It’s about to launch, “Everyday Creativity.”
M – “Everyday Creative,” yup.
H – Tell us about that. Who is it for, and what would we get from reading it?
M – Ah, well, it’s for everyone. Well, it’s for people that feel like they have more to give but struggle to get it out. It’s for people that don’t have the time or the resources or even the desire to want to quit their job and go to India to find themselves. They’re kind of happy where they are or they’re not, but they know that their experience at work could be better. They know that the projects that they could be working on could be more meaningful. They know that they could have more impact in what they’re doing. And really, they just want to know what they’ve got. They want to find their voice and speak with that and express themselves out there in the world. And it’s a very, I didn’t try to distill creativity down to like a generic process and reduce it to like a “do this then this then this.” because it can’t be because your creative process is going to be different to mine, and that’s the point. So I was trying to be, “It’s a dangerous guide “to making magic at work” is the tagline. And really, it’s like signposts and it’s a little gentle nudge here and there to get you back to remembering and reclaiming your unique self-expression. It’s very practical. It’s what I think, someone just said that to me a couple of hours ago. She read it, she was endorsing it, and she said, “My God, Mykel, I can take this to my teams. “I want to buy it for all my clients. “I can use this.” It’s not just a touchy feely good kinda vibe. It really is, there’s stuff in there that you can do that will give you breakthrough results in how you feel about your own creative potential and then how that shows up in your work. And I’m proud of it. You know, I wasn’t for a long time. You never are. I think as everyone out there will know, whenever you create anything or we all hate the sound of our voice or we hate what we create. “Yours is so much better than mine. “Oh, my sister’s the creative one.” All that stuff. But I’ve got some distance from it now, and I’m actually really, really proud of this. I think it’s going to make a big difference for a lot of people, and I just can’t wait to get it into the hands and hearts of as many awesome people as I can.
H – Brilliant. Well, certainly after this live finishes, I’m going to put a link in for people to be on your list for getting their book once it’s published because I think, yes, just this whole period of time, I believe, has helped us understand the importance of tapping into our creativity again. And I mean, no doubt, what you’ve said tonight, obviously, there’s great economic reasons for it, of course, but there’s just that whole reason for, “We want to live a bloody great, joyful life.” And creativity is one of the ways that we can fast track that, right?
M – Yes.
H – Yes.
M – And we deserve it, you know? Like everybody on this planet. I mean, there’s some serious stuff going down right now around trying to just bring everybody up. Like rise like the tide and make a truly equal, inclusive, human culture and community. And yes, everyone deserves to feel amazing on this planet, and one way of doing that is definitely to get back to what makes you come alive. And that’s your creativity.
H – Yes, absolutely. Mykel, I’ve got two questions remaining for you.
M – Great.
H – The first one, as a speaker and a trainer, obviously you’ve had the wind knocked out of your sails a bit with the last three months of things. So having diaries deleted and everything you’ve been working for over many years to build your reputation and your credibility, so you can speak on those huge stages and go into organisations and do all the great work you do has been taken away. It can really chip away at your ability to be resilient, and I’d love to know what you’re doing right now to ensure that you’re not spiraling out of control and you’re filling up that resilience bucket of yours to get strong, so you can continue to do all the great things in this world that we all appreciate. What are you doing?
M – There was Emma, so Emma said before we need that quiet time to really go within and connect with that part of ourselves. I think I’m naturally very proactive, and I pivot and adapt very fast. It’s just the way I have grown to be. So when it all happened, it was, a lot of people were enjoying a little bit of downtime, whereas I was straight on to it. And we built another company, which is called Pirate TV, which delivers online experiences and virtual events and stuff like that. I’ve been super busy with the book, getting all of that ready for launch. Creating a lot of content. And that actually fueled me. So being able to really just do the things that made me come alive, that in terms of getting energy, yes. I think a few people I know that haven’t quite been able to do that, that have struggled to be resilient and to stay positive during this time. But I really find meaning and purpose in creating things and sharing my voice and getting that. So that really helped. And then, to be honest, I haven’t always, that also can be, can flip and tip over into borderline burnout because I need to get better at taking a break. And I can really get consumed by what I’m making, what I’m creating.
H – So it’s never good enough, right? You know, you just can make it better.
M – And it’s just, there’s no finish line. There’s always more to say. There’s always more to do. There’s always another piece of content to make and create and another, nother, nother, nother, so I actually… But I have started being, started gardening, actually, because our little garden, we’re in a new house and we needed to kind of get the landscaping happening. And so that’s been a beautiful process to stop, and I’ve got my lawn happening, and I’ve loved watching that grow before winter. And then now, I’m trying to keep the frost off of the citrus, and I just discovered sea salt the other day for any of those with green thumbs out there. It’s already workin’ a treat. I love sea salt, it’s amazing. So that’s just, it’s just been beautiful to be in nature, in my garden. And yes, it’s gorgeous.
H – Well, nature, that’s a whole other conversation about the importance of nature to our resilience and the feelings of joy that we have in our lives and even the creativity because you are creative in your garden, right. You’re doing things, you’re growing things from nothing, and it’s a very creative process.
M – That’s a perfect metaphor. It is pure creativity. It is life. And that’s very deep and it’s very on point. My creativity is just life. That’s what life does. It’s just this impulse to evolve, to just be becoming.
H – And in ways that we don’t know and we can’t imagine a lot of the time. It, you know, like nature, you don’t know where it’s going to go. And where are those branches going to come out of? And will the flower be a little one or a big one? We don’t know any of that. We don’t know it in our world right now how any of it’s going to be. We just have to allow ourselves to be massaged by the wind, nearly, and respond to that.
M – That’s beautiful, and you know what, as you were sharing and I was thinking, we kinda do know where the flowers will grow. They’ll grow towards the light. They’ll reach towards the sun. And that’s the same for us. And in this time, it can feel quite dark. It can feel quite oppressive. We gotta reach for the light. Follow that light. Find the sunshine, whatever sunshine is for you, and stretch and open yourself to that because that’s going to give you the nutrients that you need to grow and to get through this time.
H – Absolutely, I love that. I love it, love it. All right, it brings me to my final question for you, Mykel. We are the Wine and Wisdom show. You have definitely given us a lot of wisdom. I’ve been sipping away at my wine, which is great. And I hope you all have, too, who are watching. But tell me, what is the most impactful piece of wisdom that you have been handed down and who was it by and what has been the impact it’s made on your life and why?
M – Hmmm. It’s a good one. I don’t know where I first came across it, but I love the line, “The way will reveal the way.” I love that, I think I have always trusted that premise, and it has never let me down. I don’t often need a plan or a strategy. I don’t think we do a lot of the time. I think that meaning is made, and I think that what we’re seeking a lotta the time, we’re waiting for an answer to be delivered to us, or we’re trying to engineer an outcome. But it’s not until you’re on the court, or it’s not until you start playing that the truth is revealed of what this is really about. That used to happen all the time in songwriting for me. I’d have an idea of what I wanted the song to be, but it wasn’t ’til I really, really locked in and sank into either the character of what the song was about or the tonality of the harmonic elements of where the song wanted to go. I was like, “Wow, that’s not what I intended to write.” But the way will reveal the way. So just take that step and start whatever it is. Start that project, start gardening, start being creative in any way, in your own way. You don’t have to know how it’s going to turn out. You don’t have to know how your life is going to turn out. Just start walkin’.
H – Yes. One foot in front of the other, right?
M – That’s right. And you know, like a crab, too, sometimes. However you want.
H – Sideways, upside down.
M – Express yourself.
H – Yes, I’ve often talked about the fact that I feel like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” I have no idea what Oz is going to look like when I get to it. All I know is that I’ve got to keep going along that yellow brick road. Somehow, someway, Oz will be okay, but just keep going forward.
M – 100%, yup. Maria’s onto it. Maria’s into the cuttings, love it.
H – Yes, it’s fantastic. I’m glad you’ve got your hobby, Maria. That’s terrific. And Dion says, “Small steps everyday.” Natalie, yes.
M – And that’s, so, Nat, you’re right. Getting started is always the hardest part, not even sometimes. And that’s kind of that frame. “The way will reveal the way” helps me take that first step where I think, “Ugh, I don’t know where to start. “I don’t know what to do. “I don’t know ahhh.” Just take one step, play one note, write one word on a page, and then I’ve started. And then, everything can cascade and momentum can come from that, but staring at a blank page or this endless freedom, creative freedom, is terrifying to me. I think it’s terrifying to all of us, and that’s what stops the starting so often. You just, yes, just one step, just one note, just one word, one scribble, one cutting and you can grow a garden.
H – Yes, I love that. And I think it’s an amazing piece of wisdom that whoever handed that down to you or wherever you saw it, I think it’s been a perfect thing for us to share tonight as everybody is trying to tap into their creativity. And it’s just about taking that one step, going forward, finding that way, wherever it will lead doesn’t matter. Just go forward.
M – It’s beautiful.
H – Thank you, Mykel, and thank you everybody who has been here tonight. I hope that has fueled some of your creative spirit and unleashed your creative spirit, so you can think about if you’ve just got those five minutes that are dedicated to you being creative everyday, what would it be? I mean, five minutes, I think it’s .07% of your entire day, so it’s not a lot. Find your five minutes. Fuel your creativity and many things will open up, as Mykel has told us. I appreciate you all being here tonight on the Wine and Wisdom show. If you would like to be notified who we’ve got coming up, when they’re coming up, please just DM me. That would be terrific. But Mykel, thank you. I am so pleased that you said yes. Yes to being on and–
M – Come on, I love it.
H – Sharing your wisdom with everybody. Thank you.
M – Heidi, I love you and I love the difference that you’re making to your community and that your still just showing up and just being of service. And you’ve got such a beautiful, generous, generative spirit, and you’re out there just offering what you can to anyone. And you were doing this prior to this, to COVID anyway, and it’s a thrill, an absolute pleasure and privilege to be on here. And chatting with Maria and Dion and Nat and Tiff and the whole gang.
H – Yes, yes, the whole gang .
M – Can’t wait to see ’em all again. And Emma, who could forget Emma. She’s rocking.
H – Well, thank you and goodnight everybody. Cheers if you’ve still got a wine. I have a little bit left that I will be consuming and I look forward to seeing you in a fortnight. Goodnight, Mykel. Goodnight, everybody.
M – Goodnight.
H – Have a wonderful night.
M – Bye.
About Mykel Dixon:
Mykel Dixon is mad about shaking up the way we do business.
A musician by trade, gypsy by nature, fierce non-conformist and prolific anti-perfectionist, he leads a new wave of entrepreneurial savants showing forward-thinking companies how to stay relevant and radical in a 21st-Century Renaissance.
As an award-winning speaker, learning designer, event curator, TV host, musician and author, Mykel works with senior leaders and teams of Fortune 500 and ASX 200 companies to unlock breakthrough creativity. His clients include Google, YouTube, Janssen, Schneider Electric, Intuit, Bayer, IAG, CBA, Telstra, Origin, Lululemon, Laminex and Seek, amongst many others.
His latest book, ‘Everyday Creative – a dangerous guide to making magic at work’, helps readers recover their creativity, redefine their value at work and reimagine the impact they can have in their personal and professional lives.
Mykel’s unconventional life (and career) experience, coupled with his daring vision for the future of work, make him the not-so-secret weapon for any company seeking an edge.
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