Creating your business is just that – creating! The creative process is not one in which the outcome is known in advance. That would be like playing a game of tennis where you know the final score before you start the game. The tennis game in that instance is no longer creative but is more like a script in a play. Thus the game of tennis is no longer a game at all. As a result, engagement in the game (or business) is no longer playful but instead it is serious. The script must be adhered to in order to produce the scripted outcome and creativity must be limited or even abandoned all together.
When creating something, on the other hand, the process itself informs and alters the outcome at each moment of unfolding. That’s what the creative process is whether painting a picture or creating a business. As a result, it is a process of vulnerability. The thing that is vulnerable is the outcome.
Such is the nature of all of the recreational games we play that the outcome can not be known in advance because at their core, games are acts of creation. That’s why we naturally love playing games. If you are creating a business, the same thing applies.
For those who insist upon a certain outcome in their business, the truths that occur within the process of developing the business can be inconvenient because they can alter the outcome from the one that has been scripted. Or to put it a little differently, the truth can be scary to people who think that scripted outcomes and controlled processes are the most effective way to move into the future.
Truth is Nature’s way of keeping the process spontaneous, varied and vigorous. Truth is not designed to give you the outcome that you have scripted. It is designed to go beyond a particular outcome to something deeper and more valuable. It is designed for your transformation and the transformation of your business.
You can think of your business as kind of like how a gardner thinks of his or her garden. Here’s how James Carse describes that in his book, Finite and Infinite Games.
Gardening is not outcome-oriented. A successful harvest is not the end of a garden’s existence, but only a phase of it. As any gardener knows, the vitality of a garden does not end with a harvest. It simply takes another form. Gardens do not ”die” in the winter but quietly prepare for another season.
When fear enters the picture as you create your business, you will tend to also find that truth can feel like a real problem. Believe me, I have experienced that many times in my businesses. Here’s how I have come to think about those moments.
If I want my life to be playful then I must also allow myself to be vulnerable to outcomes that were not scripted. It can be painful to lose a game of tennis that you really wanted to win and it can be painful to feel like you have lost ground in your business. I know the feeling, however –
If you want your business and your life to remain playful and vital, then don’t let the truth become a problem. Simply allow it to be part of the creative process and after each outcome, whatever it is, quietly prepare for another season. As Carse says:
Gardeners celebrate variety, unlikeness, spontaneity. They understand that an abundance of styles is in the interest of vitality.
Allow your business outcomes to be created rather than scripted and truth to be a catalyst for transformation rather than a troublesome attack upon your script.
Does that mean your business will be mediocre? Study any highly creative business person and you will find that they didn’t treat truth as an ethical issue to be rationalized or manipulated but rather as a transformative opportunity to be naturally brought into creative play.
To create an amazing business and, more importantly, to be an amazing business creator, make truth a part of your game rather than an inconvenience to it. Truth is key to the creative process that keeps your business relevant both to you and to the market you serve.
Your thoughts? Post a comment and tell me what you think.