May 19, 2016 | Posted by etc
Part 1- The Taxonomy of Intention
Blooming. As the old song says, becoming is harder than it seems.
There was a decided end in view for our April discussions. We wanted to make it clear that thriving never happens by accident. You have to be ready.
But the goal beyond this preparation is to bloom.
Blooming does not happen by accident either. For some, blooming is downright frightful, because you have to decide what kind of plant you are. Blooming happens when you are finally brave enough to declare to the world all that you believe in with all your heart. It all feels, well, so vulnerable.
We know in our heads what we would like this bloom to look like. We know for sure that we do not want to be just another pretty face. But we need to have a reason to bloom in the first place. If we want to continue basking in the full glory of it all, we need a point and a purpose.
There is a decided art to this becoming. There is also intentional design to successful small business. For the entrepreneur, blooming is a two-sided discipline–a fine balance between both art and design.
For example, on the art side, Picasso never stopped to ask the people of Paris if they wanted him to use the color blue. He did not care at all what they liked. He had only an unquenchable desire to paint all that was in his soul; critics be damned. The resulting originality is so valued today that few people can afford to own such a work. Perhaps only on a postcard. I have met many entrepreneurs bitten by the bug of creative expression as well.
But on the other side, to sell your goods, you have to care if someone likes it. And enough people have to like it to sustain. This is where the design comes in. Not everyone likes a Picasso. A thriving enterprise must be designed to serve the end user. And therein lies the difference between the two. Design has an intended end: to communicate a specific idea to a specific audience. Art, on the other hand, flows from inspiration. The viewer is the interpreter. Art creates tribes of people who either like it–or hate it–as the case may be.
It is business suicide to design a product around anything other than what the customer wants. So, you may ask, do we conform our business to the desires of the masses and align with all their needs? Or do we stay true to the vision in our heads, and create great art, critics be damned? To bridge between the two–of doing business as an art, and doing business by design–is a coveted model. All successful businesses are a work of art. All are carefully designed.
It takes time to find this sweet spot. It is a journey of connecting the dots. Many entrepreneurs never spend the time and effort to find where they can deliver the biggest bloom. To be frank, it is hard work. It takes bravery to work with what you have got, to use the seeds at your disposal, and grow in the environment that you have. And you have to make the most of it while the sun is shining.
The successful entrepreneur makes a conscious choice of where they will fall on this continuum between art and design. There is no correct answer, only a difference in the way you market it. You can make a difference in the world either way, and neither answer is wrong. The point is to have a proactive intention.
It is a waste of humanity when people are not doing what they were born to do. Whatever you want your bloom to be, start with something other than product. Start with the effect you want it to have. Start with what it means to the customer. Start with something other than money. (Money is the last reason you should do anything.) Start with an idea that is bigger than yourself. Only this kind of art and this kind of design will make a lasting difference in the lives of those you wish to serve.
When you find this sweet spot, you will know it to be your best work. You will not have to ask if it is good. You will know by the response you get. Confidence blooms when you realize it is no longer about you.
Only then, will you know the reason you bloom at all.