“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart,…you’ll know when you find it.” — Steve Jobs
An innovator and businessman, it is safe to say that through Steve Jobs’ unique appreciation for simplicity, music and technology, he truly revolutionised the modern technological movement. You need only take out your iPhone or look up the latest news on your iPad to see how this is true. But what separates Steve from the average person? What has made his vision a success when so many others in his place have failed? Business analysts say that being in touch with your emotions and personal creativity can be one of the most fundamental components of successful business.
In a study of the relationship between creativity and motivation at Harvard Business School in 2008, Teresa Amabile surveyed a group of successful entrepreneurs to find why their business endeavours have succeeded when others have failed. The result highlighted the relationship between emotion and creativity. To be successful in the business world, an entrepreneur needs to find the gaps in a market. Of course, this is accomplished by being familiar with the market and knowing how it works, but it is also determined by an emotional attachment to the product, process and industry. If an entrepreneur has an emotional connection to business, creativity flows naturally and guides the business venture towards success. Confidence, optimism and expression lead to motivation and creativity, and this propels business to its greatest potential. Examples for why this is true can be seen almost everywhere whether you consider the success of a company like Apple, the brilliance behind Google, or even something as simple as the success of a small coffee shop. Looking at the principles behind each of these companies, they are tributes to how emotional awareness has led to creativity and entrepreneurial success.
So how does an organisation nurture emotional awareness to inspire creativity? Business analyst and entrepreneur, Nigel Collin suggests a three-step process:
- Give people (including yourself) “permission” to be expressive in the tasks at hand. For example, rather than approaching a challenge in the same way you have in the past (which will likely achieve the same result), approach it by taking a new angle to engage a different part of the brain.
- Understand that some ideas will be “game changers” and others will be incremental improvements. This means that it is good to be mindful that not all ideas will be revolutionary and to understand and value the ones that aren’t.
- Set clear objectives so that the ideas generated serve a clear purpose. This step suggests that when making goals, make them understandable so you know when you have achieved them.
These three steps are a great way to begin your own emotional awareness and to inspire creativity. Whether you’re starting a business or just trying to improve a feature of your own life (how to study more efficiently, improve relationships, become more outgoing), undertaking these steps can channel your emotional awareness and lead you in new directions.
In my own life, this process has allowed me to see the value of remaining open-minded. In the last six months it has been my ambition to divert my thinking away from stereotyping my relationships and interests, and to replace those stereotypes with a clean slate where I can approach each day with optimism and inspiration. This has allowed me to open my mind again, creating a new zest and motivation for life and interaction with new and old friends. It has encouraged me to step away from the close-minded practices I have employed in the past to discover the liberation in carrying an open and unburdened mind.