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GUEST Blog by Michael Albanese

The society based on production is only productive, not creative.

- Albert Camus

When I co-founded a luxury travel and lifestyle consulting firm in 2009, it wasn’t the launching of a business during a downturned economy that had me most concerned. It was not the raw embrace of the unknown, uncertain and unstable that had me most wracked with nerves. It wasn’t even the fact that I had never started a business before and the temptation to continue working for others was mocking me from the sidelines.

My biggest concern: I would lose my creativity.

I would supplant inspiration for spreadsheets. I would trade a muse for a bottom line. Creativity would become, at best, a mere hobby, at worst, something I once remembered being motivated by.

I was so wrong.

In fact, in the three years of developing my small business, I have become even more creative than ever before. My ideas are fresher. My imagination is wilder. My inspiration more acute. (And, my time to do anything with all of this is more limited.)

So, I have to be intentional with my time. I have to be creative with it.

We all do.

If you are a creative person then you know that nothing can stand in the way of the wrecking ball force of a good idea.

It is:

A singular vision that can change the world or an unpredictable, fleeting stroke of inventiveness that can change the dynamic between you and your clients (or your colleagues).

Creativity abounds and is a gift I strongly believe every human being possesses. We usually conceal it because we compartmentalize: “My business life goes here. My creative life goes there”.

But business and creativity do not have to be star-crossed lovers.

In fact, I have learned they make terrific partners. Because every single day, no matter if you started a business or work for somebody that did, there is an enormous opportunity to apply boundless creativity to the work you do.

Our clients are very demanding. And they are each very different. Everything we do for them is customized and tailored to them.

However, they expect the same results: seamlessness, excellence and innovative ideas that save them time and money. Our goal is to constantly provide meaningful experiences and this always requires what I call “strategic imagination”.

For instance, I believe meetings are overrated and communication underrated. So, how do you get creative in decreasing the former while increasing the latter?

One simple way our team does this is by “taking 5 in 5”. At some point during the morning, one of us declares “5 in 5”, which means in 5 minutes, we take 5 minutes to discuss our goals for the day. This gives us 5 minutes to get another cup of coffee, use the bathroom or complete an email. By keeping the meeting limited to 5 minutes, we have no choice but to be efficient with our time and how we convey the tasks at hand.

After all, we would rather do the work than talk about it.

The way I see it, there are unlimited uses for taking fresh, insightful approaches to your business, but I will distill them into five points that I have personally discovered in mine. Creativity:

  • Sparks growth, efficiency and resourcefulness

  • Converts challenges into opportunities

  • Dismantles the status quo (and sometimes the ego)

  • Just makes life more interesting/rewarding

  • Most importantly, builds relationships

And, if you are convinced you have no creativity to offer, start a business.

It would be good for the economy and I guarantee you will wake up every morning with more creativity than you ever imagined.

Michael Albanese writes. When not writing, he runs Element Lifestyle, which serves a unique clientele. He lives an inspired, creative life in Fayetteville, Georgia with his best friend and wife, Wynn.

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