Creativity in Business

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This morning I was watching the attached video of Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love. She talked about the creative process and how sometimes the creativity comes from an external source, how the words or the poem or the music seems to come from outside the artist.

For a lot of business people this idea may seem a little airy fairy, woo hoo or whatever, and although I tend to be fairly firmly planted to the ground I know what she was talking about.Where-do-ideas-come-from

Once upon a time when I thought I wanted to write novels for living (which I may still do someday) I had an experience like that. I was writing at the computer and then suddenly the words seem to come from outside of me. I wrote and wrote and wrote with no idea what was coming next. I needed to finish putting words to computer to know what the end would be.

It was an uncanny experience and frankly scared the crap out of me. To be honest, it was the end of my fiction writing career.

When I turned to business I thought that this experience was behind me.

But listening to Elizabeth Gilbert speak in this Ted Talk made me realize that the process of building a business is not unlike the creative process of a writer or artist. Some of the best ideas I’ve had in my business seem to come from nowhere, from the ether, from outside of me.

I remember reading Seth Godin write that we are artists and we need to create our art. I thought he was being metaphorical. Now I realize he was not.

Running a successful business of any kind involves hard work, skill, knowledge but it also involves a creativity that goes beyond the hard work. Innovation on a business level is on par with the type of innovation that comes from artists.

And like artists, not all of us are destined to be giants. Some of us may be the romance novelists of the business world rather than Shakespeare.

But it doesn’t really matter. To truth is we need to honor the fact that even in the most mundane of business we are artists, we are creative and we can tap into some creative force beyond ourselves.

And as Elizabeth Gilbert says at the end of this video “Olé for having the sheer human stubbornness for just showing up.”

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