I read lots of books about business, and how to do the right things in business. I think many of them are obvious and say the same things. I think some of them are just plain stupid and self obsessed. I learned how to succeed in business by first learning...

I read lots of books about business, and how to do the right things in business. I think many of them are obvious and say the same things. I think some of them are just plain stupid and self obsessed. I learned how to succeed in business by first learning to become a painter.

When faced with a blank canvas and your paints, you must make decisions, and once you start, you have to commit to them. You have to start with an idea, and be comfortable that many hours and days might go by before your idea ever starts to take shape on the canvas. You have to be open to new ideas or directions presenting themselves to you along the way. You also have to be willing to make an ugly painting.

Painting the way I paint isn't a relaxing pass time. The canvases are large, the brushstrokes are thick and the whole process is fairly physical. When I come home at night, I am tired. I have to force myself to go into the studio, and have faith that progress will happen. Even an hour is better than nothing.

As the painting develops, it will reach a variety of stages where it looks really good, there will be this one amazing brush stroke or color passage, and I will want to stop and leave it as is. But my gut tells me, its just not done. I hang it at the foot of my bed and look at it when I go to sleep, and first thing when I wake up. If my gut keeps telling me its not done, I take it back into the studio. I have to be completely unafraid of destroying the parts I was getting attached to, as they do not make the entire experience of the painting.

As the painting evolves, great passages are covered over or scraped away, it moves through stages where it just looks like a mess, sometimes it needs to dry for a bit, sometimes I switch to my sketchbook or start another completely different painting. I am patient, but I keep going at it, until my gut tells me it is done. Then I start all over again.

What I learned as a painter applies directly to how I run my business. I work at it tirelessly, and am not afraid of failure (as it's only a temporary situation). I let other ideas come into the playing field, and I don't look for a quick fix. I trust my gut and am not afraid to make scary decisions. I have had to let good people go, and lost good clients due to not listening to my gut. Intuition, courage and action are powerful when combined, and if you just make the effort to get started and keep at it, amazing things will happen. If you can inspire this in your team, then you are definitely guaranteed to succeed!

Share on Twitter or Facebook Published January 8th 2009