This is a word that I thought was only reserved for a few. I thought it was reserved for people who painted, sketched, built things with their hands, and could draw. In my head, the word creativity was directly related to art and art only. I had a narrow view of what creativity was.
I was a businesswoman, not an artist, and the two did not seem symbiotic.
For years, I thought that in order to be a businesswoman I had to be mean, stern, data-driven, and NOT an artist. I perceived artists and people who were creative to be lazy, unrealistic, unorganized, lofty, and well… not “successful.”
I resented all artists.
Seriously, I was angry with people who didn’t work as hard as me. I hated terms like, “work/life balance” and thought anyone chasing work/life balance was lazy. I didn’t want anything to do with people who wanted “balance.” I wanted to be surrounded by people who were “hard-working- like me” and didn’t take no for an answer.
I thought the more meetings I had on my calendar and how known I was to others, was directly related to my success. Heels dug in, grinding out long hours and producing results, felt like hard work and the furthest thing from lazy.
I couldn’t sit still.
I wanted constant action.
I needed constant validation that I was worthy of the role I was in.
And as a result, I secretly envied people who could sit still, people who could tap into their creativity, and people who committed to showing up as their imperfect selves. I was in awe of the confidence people had in their gifts. I was neither mature nor healthy enough mentally to know that what they had, I had too.
Once I became an entrepreneur I began to build things that didn’t exist before. I felt like I had tapped into something that I had never accessed inside of myself before.
Was it creativity?
As I dug in deeper, I found it to be true. I was creating something that didn’t exist before. Things like new logos, internal processes, teams, events, and even an environment and culture that I had never experienced before.
This is the beauty of entrepreneurship and innovation. You get to make your own rules based on things that have worked and not worked in the past combined with your own imagination and work experience.
What worked in the traditional business setting doesn’t work in the startup space. I could no longer NOT tap into my creativity because nothing was working.
I had to think outside the box and I was terrified.
Over time, I found that I couldn’t tap into that space I envied so much in others in the way that they seemed to be doing, moving at the pace I was moving at.
I had to slow down.
I had to sit still.
I had to listen.
I had to create something that had never been done before. I also had to accept that there weren’t any metrics or data supporting these potential solutions because it had never been done before!
I had to learn how to navigate feedback and decipher between opinions vs. educated and original ideas.
I had to master the creative process and bust through my own personal barriers standing in the way of moving us forward.
But more importantly, I had to educate and lead my team through the messy middle of continuous innovation cycles.
Now I believe that we all have the ability to find the courage to create something that didn’t exist before. But we all don’t have the grit and resilience (yet) to lead ourselves and our teams through that process.
Don’t give up!
What you are building, drawing, painting, and or creating could save lives, employ mothers, and even maybe be the thing that saves the planet and or unites this country during these unprecedented times.