The Secrets to Making Work Your Art

It’s been a popular theme the last few years to “find your hidden artist.” As a millennial, when I hear someone say they want to explore their art, I can’t help twinge with some idea that all they want to do is be a professional Instagrammer; taking pictures sipping coffee, banging away on their Mac to no apparent end…you get the idea.

What I have noticed about most of us, is that not everyone has a hidden desire to be a famous painter, musician, or novelist. What we do have, is a desire to be great at our profession, our career, whatever it is we choose to “make a living.” It’s in this we find and develop greater confidence, accomplishment and yes, money, to live a full life.

Andy Warhol knew what this meant.

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”- Andy Warhol

All forms of work no matter how seemingly small or grandiose, have elements of artistry. To truly master, we must approach with the creative mindset of an artist. The consistent trait all artists do have is creativity. No matter what it is you do, YOU CAN be creative.

Creativity put to work produces innovation.

Industry Examples

Accounting: Creativity is what led to something boring like preparing tax returns, create a business that made Michael Chipman $23 million in one day! via Turbo-Tax™.

Construction: It’s what’s progressed us from taking decades to build buildings and pyramids to creating skyscrapers in relatively no time. We’ll also depend on it to shape the way we continue to approach building.

Restaurants: As recent as within the last 150 years in American history, we’ve progressed from having to hunt, kill, and cook every meal to being able to choose a plethora of whatever our palette so craves, for most of us, within a couple of miles from home. Hey, you don’t even have to leave your home, just have it delivered!

What To Do

Where we get hung up is knowing how to foster the creativity to give us said innovation. Whether you are leading a team or just yourself, here are a few ways you can begin to inject creativity into your work.

  1. Alone time. With email alerts, text messages, and the ever pressing tyranny of the urgent, we rarely find time to be alone and think. Done right, this time is where we find what it is that gets our wheels turning. For me, this usually means leaving my phone in another room, having a scorchingly hot coffee, and sitting with an empty yellow pad. Most days, I also take a 3-mile walk to think.
  2. Think about your work from every angle. How could you improve it? What new system could you develop?  If you and your team could have the ideal day, what would that look like? What is one thing you could improve that would make your customer’s experience one they would tell others?
    By the way, if you’re just beginning your career, start by asking these same questions of your skills & abilities and how to apply them to better your team.
  3. READ, READ, READ. The more you study your particular field, the better you will be. Reading also expands your thinking and brings fresh ideas.  John Maxwell has said,“Some of my best thinking has been done by other people.” Many ideas and successful practices I implemented in my previous consulting work and current business, were adapted from ideas I read from others.
  4. Find people who inspire you. This may seem silly, but when I was a 23-year-old business consultant with no experience, I got up every day for a period of months and watched this video from Tony Robbins or this speech from JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon. These are two people I look to for inspiration in my own growth. After I watch these videos or read a book about someone great, it always leads to new creative thoughts regarding my own situation.
  5. Practice by doing. After you’ve done the rest, complete the process by acting on what you’ve learned, and the process of innovation cements itself. This is when ideas become reality and we work them, rework them, and tweak until something clicks. This process involves a lot of excitement, frustration, failure, and results in personal growth.

Stand Out

Einstein had pen and pad. da Vinci his paint. Shakespeare, quill & ink. All three of these men were masters of creativity in their art. What they had in common was not just that they were artists but they were noticeably different from the others in their field. As a result, of the thousands of painters, scientists, and writers, very few who have stood a part from the rest.

Being an artist at your work will always separate you from the rest. You will move up, receive more opportunities, and get noticed.

Sadly, many people never do this.

You CAN do this.

Think differently, be creative, stand out, use your tools.

Work like an artist.

Question: What is your art?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Andrea

    I love this! I feel like it applies to so many jobs I’ve had and especially the job I have now. My art is knowledge, the struggle I have now is- I’m new. It takes time and patience and mastery of things to create. You need to have a great grasp on the basics before you can refine the more complex aspects of work. In the mean time- I’ll read read read and build relationships- make sure I’m getting enough alone time.

    • Great attitude Andrea. You’re right, grasping the basics, building trust and rapport with your team, all these important to self actualizenin your job. Best wishes!