The truth about the creative drive
Written by: Monica Kang
I can tell when I lack sleep. I feel a bit disoriented, crave sugar, and start noticing random details around the room instead of focusing on what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, as a full time, bootstrapping female entrepreneur this scenario is far too familiar.
Being a great entrepreneur takes effort, dedication and persistence and it comes at a cost. When we choose to do something we are choosing not to do something else. When we say yes to everything we set ourselves up to not have the time to explore projects and opportunities that are more in alignment with our personal visions. This is quite logical which is why we continue to have to figure out how to manage work, life and self-care. But what if you can’t reach that goal even if you do everything to balance your resources? What if there was a way to achieve your milestones without balancing but by marinating in them? What if we have this all wrong?
You see, as a creative educator, I am often asked for suggestions on how to be creative. The truth is what they are really asking is how to be creative with ease and little work. We want the results without the hard work. In fact, when we don’t see immediate results we are instantly crushed and upset. Even though we know certain things will take a bit more effort and time, when we are used to ordering food, cars, lodging and dry cleaning with a click of a button, we unconsciously want things more instantly and perfectly.
It’s the same when we are creating something. As entrepreneurs, we know that every form of action is an act of creation. Whether it’s creating a new product that will revolutionize your industry or it’s creating a new advertisement to market your message in a new way, we are always wearing our creative hat. What makes a difference between a thriving creative leader and a mediocre one is how they decide to interpret and utilize their creative strengths. Thriving creative leaders are not just great with ideation, they know how to find connections in unseeming places, recognize opportunities in the most devastating moments, and thrive with limited resources. They let their imagination take their vision to a whole new level because they see things with an abundance mindset with patient persistence. And yes, at times that means they may be working late hours and lack sleep but they are using every insight and experience to learn, connect and create. This is a really important reminder for entrepreneurs and especially for female entrepreneurs because we often lack the resources, support, and funding opportunities male founders have and believe that is the reason for our failure or delay in success. I know this may sound contradictory but lack of resources can be the key source to your growth, as long as you have the abundance creative mindset.
The truth is, you already have the creative drive. You just have to have the courage and patience to recognize the diamond in the rough.
So yes, there are tools and strategies to be creative but they only scratch the surface. You have to do the work to learn what makes you creative but most importantly why you want to be creative. Why do you want to do this business? Why should others care? You have to dig deeper and reflect to understand your creative drive. Without fully understanding why you have a drive to do what you do and why you love doing what you do, you are half blind in your journey. When you understand your drive, not only do you understand what causes your excitement, you also understand what pushes you away from mediocrity. When you understand your drive, you understand why every form of creation and action you are taking is making a difference in building the bigger goal you want to fulfill.
Let’s be honest. When was the last time that you truly pushed yourself and asked why you are doing what you do? Have you truly been giving your 100% in everything you are doing? If no, why not?
Stop using the need for perfect balance as an excuse to not fully dive into your potential. When you recognize every piece of your experience is a puzzle piece that will help fill the gaps then you stop worrying so much about balancing but rather focus on how the pieces all fit together to reach the goal. In cooking, marinating the flavors and spices are important. Sometimes you need equal amounts of two ingredients, sometimes a little less of one and more of another, sometimes replacing an ingredient with something different but it’s usually never just not adding one without another. So yes, at times you may lack sleep, the funding or the network to reach where you want to go but you shouldn’t see that as something that’s stopping you from reaching your dreams. Take a step back to see how it all connects and can help you get to the next goal. You may be surprised at what you find.
Monica Kang is the Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox® where she helps leaders unlock their creative leadership potential and is redefining innovation in the workplace. Since launch, InnovatorsBox® has been recognized as the only creative education firm that is teaching creativity in a tangible, practical and relatable way for professionals to understand, embrace, and practice. She is an avid supporter and speaks often on the importance of rethinking creativity, diversity and inclusion, diversity in technology, and social entrepreneurship. She actively supports DC Tech growth as the Organizer and Facilitator at Startup Weekend and President of DMV Startup. Prior to InnovatorsBox, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert in international affairs.