I’ve been doing trainings for mixed groups recently – mixing entrepreneurs with artists and other creative people.
While it’s true that artists have much to learn from entrepreneurs, and vice versa, one other fact has also become abundantly clear: entrepreneurs and creatives are, at root, the same. They share three fundamental characteristics.
1.They see past the horizon. Or, more poetically, they see over the rainbow. Sometimes, they see what the rest of us cannot see, what is hidden in plain sight. Creative and entrepreneurs have the ability to envision what is not yet tangible. They imagine how things can be different, better, new, and improved.
Seeing past the horizon, or past the obvious, is what’s crucial. On flat land, such as on the floor of a desert, or on flat water, such as the open ocean, the horizon is only three miles away. In other words, anybody can walk or swim to horizon in an hour. Creatives and entrepreneurs see past that. They see beyond what is, to what can be.
2.They are makers and doers, not daydreamers. Daydreamers fantasize about possibilities but never take serious action. Creatives and entrepreneurs share the common trait of taking action – they plunge ahead, often abruptly.
This may shock or frighten everybody else, and sometimes they should look before they leap, but they have learned that only by trying an action – trying to write the words, paint the painting, or crunch the numbers – can they discover what follow-up actions will work best.
3. They may finish, but they are never done. They keep working to perfect their projects. They are not easily satisfied, and when other people look exhausted and wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into, creative-entrepreneurs tell them to get back to work.
Entrepreneurs and creatives do, in fact, finish things, as, for example, when they sell a business or release a movie. At that point, they’re finished with the project, but they are not done with their work. They have an amazing drive to keep going, and going, and going. Before they are completely finished with one project, they are usually imagining what the next one will be.
I believe America’s best hope for economic recovery will emanate from our creatives and entrepreneurs, because of these three traits they share: they envision what’s possible, do something about it, and don’t ever stop. They more we can support entrepreneurs and creatives, the more support all of us will have.
Image: Le fils de l’homme by René Magritte, which he described as a self-portrait. About this painting, he said, “We always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” That’s a spirit embodied by all creative-entrepreneurs.