The biggest obstacle to creativity and productivity

By Jill Chivers

Many entrepreneurs and start-ups in particular go into business for themselves because they want to create something – they have an inspired idea, they want to bring something into the world that will help people, and they want to create a lifestyle for themselves.

To do this takes not only the raw ingredient of creativity, but also a great deal of productivity.

You can’t just wish your way to a wonderful business that serves the world and allows you to go surfing every morning. Unfortunately, or perhaps even fortunately, there is no magic wand to wave and voila! your beautiful business is born.

It takes effort, action, skill, know-how, perseverance, grunt, and the ability to produce something of quality that others want to buy (a product or a service).  It often takes far more of these things than  many start ups realise.

So what gets in the way of an entrepreneurs ability to be as creative and productive as he or she can be?

It’s these irksome creatures: the evil twins of worry and stress.

Creativity killers

Apart from a lack of skill, worry and stress are the two big obstacles that prevent entrepreneurs being as creative as they are capable of being.  And they really get in the way of being as productive as you can be.

If what is really occupying your head are worrying and stressful thoughts, you are not free to let ideas flow, you are not free to get into flow and produce wonderful work.

And what many entrepreneurs worry about is money. Or  the lack of it to be more precise. Or the lack of it flowing not only out but in to be even more precise.

Imagine you are building or renovating a house. You either need a considerable amount of time + skill to do it yourself. Or you need a considerable amount of money to pay professionals to do the work for you.

And when I say time + skill, I mean skill at the level of a master professional. You have to be highly proficient at all the trades and crafts – those of a builder, a plumber, an electrician, a roofer, a tiler, and possibly more. If you are less than highly skilled, if you are just a dabbler, then the result will look amateurish.

Building or renovating a house takes time and money – you need both, but one in great quantity.

It’s just like building a house

Creating a business is much like building or renovating a house. It is a long game – it isn’t a quick fix. It takes time and money. It takes skill. (there’s a whole stack of things creating a business takes that no one ever tells you about but you really need to know).

You don’t go into the enterprise with your eyes screwed shut, hoping and praying it doesn’t cost much or take much time. Not if you have any real desire for the enterprise to succeed that is.

You need to have your eyes wide open and be fully prepared for the long road ahead.

And creating your business is the same.

You need to conduct an accurate assessment up front – before you spend too much time or too much money – on what it’s really going to take to get this enterprise off the ground, and keep it running.

And please, whatever you do, do not start with nothing much more than a passionate heart, a good idea, and a dream of an ideal lifestyle. Those are the spices, not the main ingredient for the dish you are creating. Or in our house building metaphor, those are the throw cushions, the curtains and the landscaping – lovely to have, but those things alone will not a great house make.

I have met far too many entrepreneurs who started exactly that way – with a passionate heart, a good idea (sometimes even a great idea), and the dream of an ideal lifestyle.

Then they ran out of money, or time, or both, and became so stressed and worried that it turned the entire dream into something closer to a nightmare. They worried about all they had already invested and didn’t want to waste by not continuing. But they didn’t have all the juice necessary to finish either.

It’s not something I would wish on anyone.

To give your business the best chance at being a wonderful success, reduce your stress and worry as much as you can by getting the low down on what it’s going to take up-front to get your enterprise moving, and by having enough of what you really need at the outset.