The Artist's Way
Last week during a speech a participant asked me whether I was a fan of The Artist’s Way, a book written by Julia Cameron back in 1994.
The Artist’s Way is a step by step guide designed to help you discover your latent creativity and set you on the path to making your dreams a reality. The premise of the book is that by writing every morning for 20 minutes, it helps to unlock your creative spirit. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the basic message. Although the book has now been around for two decades, it’s a very worthy read, and a lot of the people that I interview for the Mojo Radio Show refer back to The Artist’s Way.
This book has been the template for many a great creative and it’s a worthwhile process for overcoming creative blocks, insurmountable insecurities, self-esteem blocks and managing the negative voices that so often plague our minds.
So my answer to the question was, yes I am a believer in Julia Cameron’s philosophy and I did enjoy her book very much when I read it some 15 years ago. Do I follow The Artist’s Way’s guide? No, not exactly as it stands. However, as with anything, you take the bits that resonate most with you and apply them to your own world, to improve yourself and unlock your great ideas, and this is what I’ve done.
Evernote is by far my favourite productivity resource, and if you’re being more productive, you’ve got more time to be creative. I have to say, I had assumed that everyone used Evernote, but over the last number of months as I speak at various gigs and ask the audience how many of them use it, I’m surprised that the majority do not.
Get onto it now! Evernote is a brilliant way to store, search, tag and file the copious amount of information that we are faced with each day. Photos, blogs, articles, quotes, ideas, memos and even audio recordings are all kept, tagged and filed in separate notebooks in Evernote. When you are more organised and you can put your hand on your materials with ease, it enhances your productivity and your ability to create. I am using Evernote more and more and find it to be one of the greatest resources available.
This week’s inspiration comes from none other than the Dalai Llama. Too many people fail to start a project, a business, a charity or a life change because they focus too much on the end result, create too many barriers to commencing and hence never get off the starting blocks. One of the biggest pitfalls is thinking, ‘What’s the point? I’m such a small piece in the cog, is it really going to make a difference?’ But try to go to sleep with a mosquito buzzing around your ear? No chance! You’re never too small to make a difference and this quote sums it up beautifully. Get started!
During a speech recently one of the attendees talked about his 70% strike rate when tendering for business. Naturally, being curious person that I am, I had to know more.
He said whenever he had a tender document come into his business he always responded in 2 ways. Firstly he would do a conforming brief which conformed specifically to the brief. Secondly they always submitted a non-conforming brief. Not based on price or efficiences, or specifically to the brief but a non-conforming idea that was perfectly suited as a solution to the problem and in their mind would be the best way to approach the job. He said based on the conforming and non-conforming tender process they had a strike rate of 7 out of 10 which in any man’s language in tendering is outstanding!
Many of us who are interested in self development or great sporting icons will have heard of world big-wave surfing champion Laird Hamilton, but many would not have heard of his wife Gabby. A successful sportswoman in her own right and a devoted and wonderful mum, I recently heard an interview with Gabrielle Reece where she shared a great piece of advice in terms of living in the moment. She said to always Go First.
When you see somebody, be the first to smile. When you are in a conversation, be the first to be curious and ask a question. When you are attending a lecture or watching a corporate speaker, be first to ask a question. It’s such a bold and productive attitude to take. Most people sit back and wait for someone else to do it. The people with mojo, those who unlock great ideas, those with spirit, those whom people admire and those that people want to follow, are the ones that go first. The secret to creating a new business is to find an area that no-one else is competing in and be first. Next time you are with your family, a friend, in the workplace or at a conference, ask yourself, “How can I go first?”
We talk a lot about the power of creating your own category, which it seems today, has escalated itself in the priorities of brand. Bloom and Wild have created a new category in the ordering and delivery of flowers. The co-founder of Bloom and Wild, Aron Gelbard, was working in the coprorate world designing powerpoint slides for a living, when he realised it wasn’t his passion. He wanted his own business and after doing some rudimentary research, ie looking around, he noticed an opportunity in the flower industry.
Not only were online flower orders quite expensive, the flowers tended not to last very long as they had already gone from grower to supplier to retailer, thereby losing their freshness. Instead, Gelbard and his partner Stanway, decided to change the supply chain and cut out the middle man. Bloom & Wild customers buy online a few days in advance, allowing the business to aggregate orders. This means growers are only asked to cut the flowers once they have been sold. Dealing directly with growers means Bloom & Wild can deliver flowers to consumers three days after they were cut, making them last far longer. At the same time, bypassing the middlemen means lower costs and lower prices.
The other innovation from Bloom and Wild is that the flowers are delivered safely in a box that can fit through the average letterbox opening, which saves on delivery costs and means that the recipient doesn’t have to be home when the flowers are delivered. The flowers come in a box with instructions as to how you should arrange them and videos are also available on their website.
This is an excellent case study for us to explore. They’ve done a lot of things right, although Aron admits they’ve also done a few things wrong. But in terms of where marketing, brand and creating a new offer comes in, they’re bang on the money. Simplicity is a massive trend in brand, marketing and business currently, so I would also take a look what we’re seeing here and use it to audit your own business. Does your sale and delivery process have too many steps? How could you simplify the process?