Inspiration plays a key role in the birth of every successful business, in its growth, and its continued viability.
Inspiration is a concept inextricably linked to the process of artistic creation. Painting and sculpture, music, architecture, and literature all rely on inspiration for their very existence. Looking at Pieter Brueghel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, for instance, you might know that it was inspired by Ovid’s account of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus. You might also be aware that the Dutch master’s painting inspired “Musee des Beaux-Arts” by W.H. Auden as well as many other lesser known works of poetry and art. The wonderful thing about inspiration is that it is a fungible and transferable commodity. Everything and anything can inspire something else.
We think less about inspiration when it comes to business. But, in fact, inspiration plays a key role in the birth of every successful business, in its growth, and its continued viability. What inspired Jeff Bezos to start Amazon, or Jessica Alba Honest Beauty, or Nick Swinmurn Zappos? Their stories are all well documented precisely because their companies became so successful, but inspiration is something that every business, no matter how big or small has access to and should make a point of cultivating.
Entrepreneurship is defined by inspired choices and decisions. Fostering an environment where employees and management alike can share their inspiration for new methodologies, improvements, products and services can result in a company that will stay ahead of the competition and maybe even change the playing field. With that in mind:
- Encourage your team to look for inspiration outside of work hours. You never know when a weekend walk by the lake will reveal an idea that you can take into your next board meeting.
- Make a list of the things that inspire you. Are you moved by nature, by art, by sports? Why?
- Think about what inspiration feels like to you? Is it a flash of brilliance or the slow unfolding of an idea? Think about the times that you’ve felt most inspired and try to remember what triggered them.
- Write your inspiration down as soon as you can. What steps will you take to implement your idea?
- Give yourself space to be inspired. Sit with a problem or concept and allow it to percolate until you have a solution or a means of attack.
“A big business starts small,” says Richard Branson. And big ideas start with small moments of inspiration. Lean in to those moments, learn to follow your inspiration, and encourage others to follow theirs. Inspired moves will help your business grow.