Sometimes as business owners, we’re as meticulous as Monet; other items we’re as free as Pollock. Splatters on the canvas that seem to be nothing until we step back and see the beauty in the apparent mess. Each time we a start a new project, it’s our blank canvas. We have to look at who we are serving and see what method will work. Are we painting delicate flowers, or dripping and spattering on a canvas?
This post may seem a little out in left field, but I really love the comparison. You see, in his time, Jackson Pollock was very unconventional. Few people used or even understood his preferred style of painting. Instead of his canvas being vertical on an easel, Pollock laid his flat on the ground to prevent his drips and splatters from running. Instead of using the traditional method of a variety of brushes, Pollock reached for the turkey baster in his wife’s kitchen, the brush from last week he had not cleaned, and even the sticks in his own backyard. Now, there are so many ways in which Pollock’s life should not be emulated, but in this way, in this unique way of creating art, we could all take a lesson.
When you get a new client, consider it your blank canvas. I don’t care what area of business you are in, you’re there to serve people in one way or another. They’re looking for something and you have what they need. Now the only question is, how will you deliver it to them? Occasionally, traditional methods are best, but think outside the box. It’s good for us to know what our competitors are doing, but it’s better for us to know what WE’RE doing. So, when you go to bring the best new idea to your client, are you going to bring them the spick and span brush, or the turkey baster? Are you going to put your canvas on an easel, or tack it to the hard wood floor? No one else is doing it? So what!
Both of the artists mentioned above convey beauty that is beyond compare. Each worked creatively, with their own unique methods. But, I want you to consider the next crazy idea that pops into your head. Don’t just dismiss it. The good stuff of every business is made of the dreamers who refuse to toss out the crazy ideas.
Around here, we’re kind of nerds. A favorite form of entertainment for us is documentaries. I personally really enjoy watching documentaries about how the many Dreamworks and Pixar films are created. You know what nearly everyone of them starts with? Someone saying, “So, I had this crazy idea…” They didn’t dismiss it. They didn’t discount it. They ran with it. Today, I encourage you, run with the crazy idea. It is an idea about a new product? Is it an idea about how to present a proposal to your client? Is it an idea about saving orphans in war-torn Africa? Run with it. Fly with it!
The stuff of dreams is turkey basters, sticks, and brushes that other artists throw out. The stuff of dreams is —according to our youngest employee (5 years old)— made of pixie dust and unicorns. The stuff of dreams is crazy. Remember, the real prep work still has to go into them. Pollock still had to purchase his canvases; he still had to tack them to the hardwood floor; he still had to prepare his supplies. You do, too. You still have to write the business plan, get the right permits, and promote your business. You’re still going to have learn to use social media (we can help you with that); you’re still going to have to make an investment; you’re still going to have to hire and fire and copy and hardwire. But, in the midst of all of that, don’t forget that you’ve been handed a blank canvas. Fill it with your dreams.
On a closing note, one of my favorite things Pollock said about why he chose to paint with this method was because he could use his whole body. Instead of being relegated to looking at the canvas from only one direction, he could survey it from all directions and use his entire body to paint, not just his wrist. In all your endeavors, put all of you into it. Don’t relegate yourself to one angle. Use all of you to splatter the canvas. Create!