With admiration, I take a moment to watch my eldest son write imaginary stories about competing in soccer against the world’s best. Stats and elaborate storylines included, he spends hours at his desk crafting these narratives. His reward? Nothing other than personal enjoyment and pride in creating the soccer tales.
Working like an artisan (being creative) is pretty damn rewarding — whether you’re a child or an adult. And it’s essential entrepreneurs carve time out of their schedules so they can dedicate effort to being creative.
Anecdotally, working like a creative means taking an extra 4 hours to add detail to your project/product that maybe only you will notice, but it doesn’t matter. You intend to put forth the best quality the industry has ever seen. Your name is on the product, after all.
Being creative requires absolute focus and enjoyment. When you’re in this sweet spot, or ‘zone’, you’re as close to your life’s purpose as you may ever be… but to stay there, and even to get there for some, is extremely difficult. We, the entrepreneurs, are swamped. And being busy is the antithesis of being creative.
When I’m in the creative zone, I can immediately recognize it. I’m energized with joy and anticipation of what the end product will look like. I’m also enamored by the process, working out all the little details in my head as I go. Hours disappear without noticing. I forget to eat. I feel like I’m doing what God put me here to do. Sadly, I can’t repeat it every day. Sometimes not even every month. Like you, I’ve got a million things to do Mon-Fri, a calendar full of ‘to dos,’ and it’s tough to tune out the rest of the world so I can create.
For years, this ate away at me as an entrepreneur because I couldn’t consistently get in my sweet spot and didn’t know why. I thought I could decide to be creative at any time. It bothered me immensely. The greatest joy I get from entrepreneurship is imagining something my customers or subscribers will love, and then finding a way to create it — bring it to life and watch people engage with the product and enjoy it in their own way. That’s a buzz I would love to experience at least every week.
To be creative and a world-class craftsman (which we are all capable of), you can’t be busy. You can’t be bothered. You can’t feel obligated to get things done. You can’t be under contract. You must be free of responsibility, even if it is just for a few hours.
Responsibility or obligations are, at least partly, why creatives/artists are often internally tormented or unhappy. The world (especially the modern world we live in), and in many instances, the modern entrepreneur, exist at odds with being a world-class creative due to their endless responsibilities and obligations.
To put it plainly, a typical entrepreneur can’t get into creative, craftsman mode at 10:00 AM on Monday. Unless you’re some monk who can block out everything around him and completely ignore the daily duties of your company, it’s impossible to be at your peak in creativity when you know you have a meeting in an hour, or a presentation to give later that day. There’s also countless interruptions. When everyone else is working (staff, for example), you will be called upon for something…
Embarrassingly, it took me years to realize that being creative is simply a matter of timing… nothing complex about it. An entrepreneur’s creative time is when their mind is at ease. Unrushed and unbothered. That means working and creating when no one else is. For me, that’s weekends and late at night…
Find those magic hours in your schedule to dedicate yourself to creating.