Floristry, creativity and self-efficacy – how inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places
King-Wey Hii, Account Manager, Communications Planning at Carat UK, explains how we can improve our self-efficacy, confidence and performance by diving into our own ‘snake pit’…
Do you know who Albert Bandura is? A quick search on Wikipedia will show Bandura being described as “the fourth most-frequently cited psychologist of all time,” just behind the likes of Skinner, Freud and Piaget. Other accounts hail him as one of the most important psychologists of all time – I couldn’t agree more.
Bandura pioneered the theory of self-efficacy, “the belief in one’s capabilities to organise and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.”
In simpler terms, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to triumph in a particular situation.
This idea was born out of an experiment conducted by Bandura in 1977 where he worked with patients with snake phobias. In short, he found that the most effective way for these patients to overcome their fears was through the vicarious observation of other snake-phobic patients, just like them, handling snakes with no harmful effect.
What’s more, once these patients had succeeded in being able to handle the snakes themselves and had conquered their life-long phobia, they found themselves to be less anxious in other areas of their lives. They felt more self-assured, they were more determined, and more empowered in the face of defeat.
This is self-efficacy. It refers to this feeling of competence and effectiveness in dealing with life, and it is strongly linked to our sense of self-esteem.
So why am I writing about this? My own ‘snake’ was the elusive subject of creativity. Until it wasn’t.
I am sure many of you will be able to identify with the statement “I’m just not a creative person.” It seems as though, the older we get, the more we tend to opt out of being a ‘creative’ (whatever that means!). We see it on a daily basis in our workplace – imagine a brainstorm, a client workshop, or even a brand strategy that needs to be masterminded. There is often someone who will put up their hands and say, “This isn’t really my bag. I’m going to leave it to the ‘creatives’ amongst us”. However, the truth is, we are all naturally creative.
Luckily, we work at an agency that values creativity, and not just creativity as a stronghold for the few, but collective creativity.
I am an ardent believer in the value creativity (in all of its shapes and forms) can bring to our jobs, and also beyond that, to our everyday lives. There are thousands of articles that list the benefits of creativity in the workplace. Some of the world’s most successful companies place collaborative creativity at the forefront of their agenda – Google and Pixar are just a couple of examples.
Personally, I can only really talk from my own experience. I have always loved flowers, and I decided to pursue floristry in a more serious way just over a year ago now. Having never before thought of myself as a creative person, this was definitely a venture that scared me. What if I had no talent? What would people think of my designs? What if they thought they were rubbish?!
As an adult, the prospect of being vulnerable, creatively or otherwise, becomes far more frightening. But this needn’t hold you back.
As I threw myself into the world of flowers and overcame these fears, in true ‘Banduran’ style, I noticed a change in my confidence, in my self-assurance and even in my ways of thinking, which was especially pronounced given that I’m a true introvert at heart. It was a change that even my line manager noticed, and it manifested itself in client meetings, and in my day-to-day dealings with colleagues. All this gave me the boost to do things I would have never done before, both in and out of work, and I believe it all boils down to that first step I took.
Ultimately, I would encourage everyone to get involved in the wonderful initiatives we have on offer at Carat – Wellness Month, Creative Live Week, Elevenses Lecture Series. Throw yourself into your own ‘snake pit’! And if you haven’t figured out what that means for you yet, observe others practice their craft, try new things whenever and wherever you can.
Sometimes, developing your performance can come from the most unlikely of places.