“Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation….Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward” ~Thomas Alva Edison
Entrepreneurial courage is an extension of artistic courage…
From THINK Like a BLACK BELT:
Artistic courage is the ability to expose one’s creativity to public scrutiny. It means honestly sharing your talents and abilities with the world without any guarantee that your expression will be accepted. Artistic courage is literally letting your light shine from under your bushel.
You may be a writer, a musician, or an artist. You might also have a new idea to improve customer service at your business. You might be a teacher trying a new way to reach your students, or a CEO who has an idea for motivating your employees. It might be that you’re an ordinary person who has decided that you have a passion you want to share with the world; this is the courage of the entrepreneur.
Artistic courage is the most elusive because the process of creative artistry most directly exposes your inner self, and sometimes your most intimate or treasured thoughts and feelings. You’re literally exposing your most vulnerable self to the scrutiny of others, and sometimes to the public; and there is absolutely no guarantee of success.
That’s a scary place to be!
It’s sad that so few people associate business with art. To most people, business is a numbers game. In fact, the numbers game is simply how you keep score in business.
Every great business starts with an idea- an artistic vision of something possible. It does take numbers to sustain that vision, but most of the greatest businesses in the world started with an idea that to that point were given little if any chance of success.
At one point the electric lightbulb seemed nothing short of impossible- except to a home-schooled, self-educated and hearing impaired inventor. Thomas Edison ignored some of the most sound business minds of his day and saw beyond what was probable to what was possible.
Putting a man on the moon was once the iconic example of impossible. Of course, only about 50 years before Apollo 11, flying anything heavier than air seemed impossible. From a bike shop in Ohio to the launch pads at Cape Canaveral, ordinary people rolled up their sleeves and got the job done.
George Washington Carver was born into slavery. He transformed the way we think about simple plants forever by finding new scientific applications for peanuts.
Steve Jobs didn’t worry about what was possible. He simply decided it was time to figure out how to make complicated technology easy to use for every day people. Now we take our iPhones and tablets for granted.
More than the financial risk, these entrepreneurs, inventors and the people on the front lines of these innovations took an artistic risk. They moved forward in the face of doubt, criticism and sometimes even ridicule.
You may not be Richard Branson launching the first wave of private space travel, but you may have a vision for the next best restaurant in your town, or an idea for a self-serve dog washing business or an inexpensive way to help home owners do-it-themselves.
Before the financial risk you’ve got to express artistic courage. No idea can take flight unless you’ve got the guts to go for it.
Are you that much different than Edison, Jobs, Carver and Branson? Or- did they simply have the artistic courage to transform their dreams into action?
Every one of the people I used as examples were labeled by others as either eccentric, lunatic, learning disabled or even just plain stupid. Every one had to overcome other people’s perceptions and doubts about their talents and abilities.
The one thing they all had in common? Courage.
You’ve got it too…
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