I remarked to a friend that last week was quite strange. A number of fellow business owners were outwardly struggling with depression, anxiety, cyber-bullying, lack of sales, and generally just feeling funky. I have to admit, I was one of them. Now we couldn’t answer the world’s problems in our five minute walk from the car, if only! But it has stuck with me; perhaps it’s the psych grad in me wanting to know the ‘why’. I haven’t found a ‘why’, but I believe I have found a ‘what’.
I believe that we are stuck in the glorification of the ‘ing’. You know what I mean, we are all busy do-‘ing’. As business owners we are busy:
I am certain there are others, as we each run different businesses and each in our own ways. We are projecting all of this energy out of us and into our business and customers. Then on top of that some of us have families.
As a wife and mother I have a whole other list of ‘ing’s and they seem to grow around Christmas. This time of year we add attending/organising Christmas functions, organising school holiday activities and chasing the right present (anyone who has had a child who has wanted this years’ must have present will know exactly what I mean).
Then when the list is made, we glorify it. Friends come and ask how we are, and we openly respond with “Tired”, “Rushed”, “Exhausted”, “Busy” and they nod in empathy, for they are the same. We talk about all the things we have to do, obligations we have, how we need xyz for the business, and how we are waiting to steal a few days of rest over Christmas (amongst the other ‘ings’ we have lined up).
It was another conversation that I had over the weekend, with a client, which pointed it all out. You see, she was establishing a new business, sorting out stock issues, and planning and growing her business; but she was too busy to enjoy it. With a wistful look in her eye she said “I just wish I could create what I wanted to, I miss playing”. You see, in all of our ‘ing’ we miss out on some of the greats:
I like the last one as it can encapsulate the others. Watch this talk from TED to see how big business is encouraging creativity and profiting from the investment.
As a small business owner, I need to back away from the ‘ing’ and look to the creative. I took a month away from work and travelled with my family. In this time I had the space to be and in that I found clarity. This clarity has formed a new direction and untold benefit. Last week, I needed that time again, time to just ‘be’ and in that time I found strength to move forward.
So I wonder, maybe the ‘ing’ that we need to incorporate more into our business (and life) is being. Taking the time and being in a space where we are not bound by rules and expectations; a space where we can play, experiment, and tell stories. A place where there is no right or wrong. What the video was looking at was using the life of children to fuel our creativity. The thing about childhood is that most of us were left to be. We were told to go outside and play, to entertain ourselves; why as adults do we not give ourselves that space? We are too busy with and glorifying the ‘ing’ to go and just be.
So, in the comments below, where do you go to just be? How do you recharge and explore your creativity? There are no right or wrong answers, and you just might inspire someone.