Get Uncomfortable for The Good of Creativity


Marketers are in the business of driving behavioral change. We spend weeks and months developing strategies for our target customers to overcome barriers and we provide strategic maps with plotted levels of behavioral change over time.

Over the past year it’s become increasingly apparent to me that we marketers ourselves are met with such resistance in adapting new technologies and software that lend to the efficiencies and processes which better the output of our strategic thinking and creative ideation and execution.

school-of-fish-300x223You can’t blame the tried and true, it’s comfortable and we know it works. But we also know comfortable is safe. Safe is not always differentiating or captivating enough to break through the sea of sameness.

No ifs, ands or buts about it- change is difficult, but we must do it survive, especially in a creative environment.

Most of the time we do what we know because it’s fast, easy and it works. But times have changed and we are part of an ever-evolving world across the board of life. No longer do we wait years for new technological updates. Think about the lag between the typewriter, to Brother word processors to computers to the interweb and ultimately, email, blogs and Facebook; the biggest adoption of behavioral change for communication this century had seen until 2005 when technology really started to blow up mainstream worldwide.


That behavioral change was easy for most and was not felt as painful because it happened over time. There was time to think, test, adapt, adopt and perfect. No longer do those time periods exist in our world. Evolution happens at a rapid pace.

In the creative marketing/advertising field we have adapted to behavioral change as well. We have evolved from stencils, transfer type, colored pencils, boards, overheard projectors, 33MM slides, PowerPoint, Quark Express, InDesign… they are across the board.


Anyone over the age of 35 in a creative field has gone through and been a part of this creative evolution. We lived it and learned it.

We behaviorally adapt in many other areas of our personal lives. Fashion trends, food, television and entertainment, automobiles and transportation methods. When looking at a sliding scale of change between easy/comfortable to difficult/frustrating we see a trend along the difficult side.

We need to shift the scale to not just be about emotional benefit, it needs to be about functional benefit as well. This should pertain to learning how to use new technology and software; ways to better communicate creative ideas aren’t easy either but it keeps you fresh and allows for breaking the glass ceiling of comfort and ease. No one rises to the top because they are comfortable.

Successful people and businesses rise to the top because they have tried different things and failed miserable 80% of the time and succeeded 20% of the time in ways never seen imaginable. Most success stories are rooted in learnings perfected over time, as nothing happens over night.

People should consider updating themselves like my MAC updates itself with software enhancements and fixes every other day. They should consider an agile approach, be open to change and the betterment of what they produce and how they produce it.

Doing so not only allows for a competitive advantage but allows for creative problem solving when looking for smart ways to performing everyday tasks and communicating ideas.

Some tips that have been top of mind for me lately when it comes to adopting creative technological change:

  1. Make a list of existing ways you utilize software/creative communication vehicles.
  2. Make a list of what you want to, and think you can improve upon.
  3. Research & collaborate in groups on new/available methods for improvement.
  4. Identify why you like the output of these methods.
    1. Does the output look the best?
    2. Does it offer you the ability to craft what you want to say in direct and creative manner?
    3. Are the methods fresh, new and differentiating?
    4. Pick 1-2 methods to dive into and get familiar with (not comfortable) just familiar and get to know them better a little at a time.

Some tips on what not to focus on:

  1. Are they quick?
  2. Are they easy?
  3. Will I be frustrated?

When something is new, nothing is quick and easy. These are initial barriers for anything new that can/will eventually be overcome. Think about the first scone you ever baked. That’s a hard recipe to perfect but nothing tastes better hot out of the oven smothered in honey butter.

Perhaps a poor analogy, but I’m hungry and haven’t slept in a few days.

The net net: creative solutions are not ideated overnight- you have to massage them and let them grow into ideas. Ideas that are built into a foundation for beautifully expressed creative architecture that is differentiating, and identifies new and ownable ways to make yourself shine.


Creative ideas aren’t always born out of a comfortable environment. I’m committed to overcoming resistance in adapting new technologies and software that lend to better output of strategic thinking, creative ideation and execution.

It’s time to get uncomfortable for the good of creativity.

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Jess Seilheimer

Jess Seilheimer is the Chief Strategy Officer at MWW. She has 14+ years experience in advertising/marketing across brand strategy, product marketing; both in traditional & digital media.

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