If you catch yourself saying any of the phrases in the phrases below, you’re likely too close to your work. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Proximity is a double edged sword, it makes you an expert in what you do, but it inevitably creates blindspots.
A blindspot is likely a recurring constraint that holds you back from pursuing new ideas. You might feel like you’re frequently constrained by budget, data, talent, timelines or technology. If one of these constraints keeps coming up as a roadblock, you likely need some outside perspective to help you uncover a creative way around the problem. Here’s three ways we deal with the Proximity Paradox in our own work.
1. Knowing is half the battle.
Acknowledge you’re struggling with proximity. We’ll all feel its effects at some point. It’s not a reflection of your creative potential and certainly not a reason to ignore the problem. We’re not immune to it either. That’s why we get outside help with developing advertising campaigns for UpHouse. It’s easier to come up with marketing ideas for someone else’s business than our own. If you’re an expert in an area, and you need to do something innovative, you’re going to need a set of fresh eyes. It’s not a reflection of your creative potential; it’s just the Proximity Paradox doing its thing!
2. Leverage the enthusiasm of fresh faces.
Invite newer employees or junior staff to your next brainstorm or problem-solving meeting. Take advantage of their fresh perspective. When we refreshed our website, we handed the reigns over to newer members of our team for design and content updates. Instead of simply carrying forward what was “working” from our original site without taking any chances, we ended up with a website that better reflects who we are today.
3. Flex your creativity muscle.
Creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. We like to hit the creativity gym by periodically getting together with marketers from other companies to brainstorm ideas for a deserving charitable organization. See if there are folks in your associations or professional development groups who would like to get together periodically for a cross-business brainstorm.
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Our offices are located on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and we seek to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and collaboration.