As entrepreneurs, you are naturally creative!
I never thought of myself as a creative person, despite growing up in a home that abounded in it. My nana was a painter, and her work adorned the walls of our home. She was a remarkable character; effervescent, sparky and full of joy. At the age of 70, she embarked upon a two-week trek into a Hawaiian crater to paint a rare flower which only blooms in volcanic soil. She took two loaves of bread, two packets of cigarettes and two bottles of gin with her. If it got too heavy, she said the bread would be the first to go! She had a huge influence on me, but I sadly did not inherit her artistic ability.
Her creative energy was passed on to me in a different way, but I did not see this until recently. I’ve been trained as a chartered accountant, and there’s a perception among a lot of people that CA’s are boring, rigid and analytical. I do take a structured approach, but I also have an innovative side and always look for ways to improve existing working models. I love finding alternative and innovative solutions and have never thought of this as creativity until I realised that the growth I’ve helped companies achieve and the ideas I’ve come up with would not exist if myself and the teams I’ve worked with did not create them.
You Are More Creative Than You Think
As entrepreneurs, you are naturally creative. Everything your company has achieved is down to your innovation. But creativity can become stifled, especially when red tape restricts ways of working. The quest for perfection can also be a barrier. It can be terrifying to put your work out into the world without assurance of how it will be received. When our work is criticised we tend to turn inwards and find fault in not only our work but in ourselves. This can be dangerous as it can cause us to be reluctant to put anything out there until we are sure it is perfect. If this is something you struggle with, I highly recommend the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. She describes her old mantra of ‘please, perform, perfect’, which she applied to her working life. It got her up the career ladder, but she ended up exhausted from the hustle. She explains how damaging it can be to both life and work:
“Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers achievement…The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticized keeps us outside of the arena where healthy competition and striving unfolds.” Brené Brown.
Although it requires a great deal of vulnerability and you may encounter failure, creativity will not flourish in a quest for perfection. Nor will authenticity, and in today’s highly saturated market you must be true to your brand as it is what can set you apart. Go on, dare greatly, and show the world what your business has to offer. You may stumble, you may fall, but for entrepreneurs, the arena is the only place to be.