A few months ago I found myself sitting on a plane, staring at my computer screen, reminiscent of days gone by. I was looking through old screen shots and photos of projects I worked on when I was younger. From print design and logos to websites and videos, I used to spend the majority of my day pushing pixels, story boarding and drawing. I knocked down quite a few design awards in my day and I absolutely loved seeing my creative visions become a reality.

Things have changed over the years. I spend most of my day in meetings. I travel constantly. Inspiring brainstorms with designers and engineers on beanbags have largely been replaced with giant oak tables lined with lawyers, bankers and investors. I am pursuing the same dream, but in many ways it feels like I am living a different life. When I was in college I considered myself to be an artist that happened to be entrepreneur, in reality I am an entrepreneur that happens to be an artist.

I don’t think I am alone in this. Many founders struggle with identity issues as their organization grows and their roles change. Some fight it. I have chosen to adapt my creative energy to my changing role over time.

Creative Energy

You may think of yourself as a coder, a designer, a writer or photographer… but what you really are is a creative. You do things differently. You are an inventor… a visionary. Once you recognize that your true asset is raw creative energy, you can learn to adapt and convert that energy to overcome any challenge (and make any task fun).

Business as Usual + Unusual = Art

I spend a large part of my time these days meeting with people in suits. I am talking buttoned up, cuff link-wearing, hard-core wall street types. I could grab my suit and conform. I could be absorbed into the machine and “act like a public company CEO”. Instead I see these meetings as an opportunity to adapt my creative talent and demonstrate what makes our company special. I don’t want my meetings to be business as usual. I want to share what makes our business unusual.

I walk in wearing cowboy boots, jeans and the biggest smile they have ever seen. I yell with excitement. My pitch includes offbeat photos, jokes and enough passionate energy to power a small city. I blaze through 60 slides in 20 minutes. I rock their world.

I have spent hundreds of hours tweaking my investor presentation. It features photos and videos I have personally created. It is story that includes my wife, my dog, my trials of the past and vision of the future. It may not be a new website or logo, but when I deliver it in front of an audience it is art.

I am still an artist, I just paint with different tools. You can find an opportunity to adapt your creativity in virtually any job role. Every change is a new canvas begging for your paint.

(Except for accountants. Sorry, I don’t want you guys getting creative.)

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy is an American entrepreneur. He is currently the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of IZEA, a technology company that provides software for influencer marketing.

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