One of my favorite things to look at on my computer screen is a blank Word Doc. It’s like a blank canvass to a painter that can lead to something enjoyable, perhaps useful or even beautiful.
For some, a blank canvass is a source of anxiety because it feels like the pressure is on to produce something that people will resonate with.
What if, on the other hand, the blank canvass exists for the purpose of the painter’s enjoyment and pleasure? What if my blank Word Doc exists for my personal enjoyment and pleasure? If I look at my blank Work Doc this way, then my writing is like play because I can do whatever I want with the blank page. I can write whatever and however I want. I don’t even have to publish it. I can hit the delete button when I’m done or just relegate it to my special folder called, “Back Burner.”
Once one of my writings gets moved to the back burner file it usually never makes it out, and that’s perfectly okay because those writings served their purpose at the time. They enabled me to continue envisioning and creating—they enabled me to continue to free up the blockages that prevent me from being a more full expression of who I am.
In this light, back burner writings are not failures, they are successes. It’s like the dress rehearsal or the exhibition round, or somewhat like a child who plays with an erector set and one day becomes an engineer or an architect.
In business we perceive a great deal of pressure to succeed. Our blank canvass stresses us out because we perceive that failure is not an option. In this way we are not seeing a new idea or business for the beauty of what it is—a blank canvass upon which there are limitless creative potentialities.
It is through our failures that we work our way toward becoming more free expressions of who we are. If you want a sure thing, then purchase a McDonalds franchise and be happy conducting your business exactly the way McDonalds tells you, and be happy with 3% to 5% annual return, if that. If you want to have fun in business, then sit yourself in front of a blank canvass and see what comes out. If you don’t like the result then move it to the back burner and keep creating.
If you fail, then you learn. You don’t just learn about how the marketing and PR strategy fell short, or that you put too much trust in a particular vendor, or over spent on equipment, and so forth, you learn what you are capable of creating, you discover and move more deeply into your creative passions and proclivities—you discover more of you.
It is in this space that break out businesses are created—businesses that bring verve and new thinking. This is the way we change the world.
Tip of the Week
What is your blank canvas? If you know what your canvas is for you, then sit in front of it and merely enjoy the blankness of it. Enjoy that there is an opportunity in front of you to create something completely new, and completely you. Be in this space as much as possible. It can be in the evening when the day has settled down, or during quiet time on the weekend, or over a conversation with a like-minded creative person. Notice what the voice in your head says. Is it a doubting voice? Does it tell you that you aren’t creative? This is hogwash of course. We all have the ability to create. So start your brush strokes and merely enjoy the process. Don’t think about the end game or what people will think. You can burn the idea when you’re done if you don’t like it, or send it to the back burner. Just paint, or write, or structure, or lead, or bake—just do your stuff.
Also, let us know about your creations in the comments.