Vacuum or Swiffer? Which Cleans Up Better in the Creative Arena

Creative professionals (meaning people who’s ability to buy underwear or the occasional Carmel Macchiato depends upon their ability to constantly create) can sometimes have a leg up on non-professional creative types (meaning everyone else), thanks to one single factor:

The very nature of their working environment has forced them to be much more like a Swiffer in their approach to creativity than they are like a vacuum.

In other words, rather than working alone (in a vacuum), many creative professionals come up with great ideas, expand those ideas and, ultimately, take their vision to reality, in large part thanks to an intentional connection they’ve built with a community of other creative people. People they’ve “swiffered-up” over the course of their careers, and on whom they rely for insight and resources.

But what if your work does not put you in constant contact with other creative types? What if you primarily work at home? How can you Swiffer-up anyone when you never even get out of your Pj’s?

The idea of becoming more Swiffer-like around creativity is particularly intriguing and valuable to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who regularly need to inject a whole bunch of fresh thinking into their brands and/or offerings in order to stay competitive.

Whereas vacuum-types struggle alone with many creative decisions and issues (from choosing which of their ideas to pursue and staying committed to those ideas long enough to see if they work to figuring out how turn their genius into something tangible), Swiffer types tap into their network for critical feedback and support. And, interestingly, they often find that having the opportunity to give feedback as well as get it can be equally helpful creatively, because the energy that’s inherent in the creative conversation has a way of jump-starting everyone involved – whether it’s your genius idea being discussed and dissected or someone else’s.

If you create in a vacuum most of the time, it might be interesting to think about the people you’ve collected over the years and consider who might be an asset to you creatively. You might even take it all the way and a develop a creative consortium to which you continue to Swiffer people in.

Should you decide to go ahead and create your own creative circle (whether for your business or just for fun), it helps tremendously to choose some people who are similar to you creatively, and some who are not: people from other professions, who use other media, etc., who can bring a truly fresh perspective and help you see things differently, too.

Above all, a creativity circle (if you design it with serious intent) can hold you accountable for what you want to create in the world and kick your behind in getting there.

Of course, there’s plenty of value in being more vacuum like creatively – and many creative types (including myself) would fully self define this way the majority of the time. Yet knowing who you’ve got stuck to the bottom of your Swiffer at any given moment – should you need their help – can be invaluable in making your mark in business and in your creative life. After all, at some point, most of want to go public with our ideas, and it’s nice to know you’ve got lots of support behind you.  

To swiffer-ing up creative support.

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