Business Lessons from Buddha

business lessons from buddha

business lessons from buddha

Business Lessons from Buddha

“Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” – Buddha

I had so much fun this weekend! I took a virtual painting class with Whitney Freya. The theme of the class was to paint one or more Buddha faces. You can see my first Buddha face in the image pictured here. This is a much larger project than I normally do and I loved working on this bigger canvas, about 3 square feet. Whitney walked us through the different stages of the painting, leaving us plenty of room for our own creative expression and gently guiding us to release our inner critic along the way.

I owned a publishing company for 11 years. When I first started my parenting magazine, I agonized over every detail and every word. I cringed each time a new issue came out, knowing there would be the inevitable error. Over time, I learned to be at peace with the product. I did my best, had great editors and worked hard to make sure all of the ads were right, even if a few of the articles had an occasional typo. I learned to relax into the process of getting things going rather than getting them right.

Then I started to make art again… and the inner critic voice rang out loud and clear. I have been reluctant to paint anything representational. I can’t draw, I said to myself. And draw a face? Really? But I felt very pulled to take this class with Whitney. I even had two canvases in my bedroom that I wanted to repaint, bringing more color and energy into our room. I thought a pair of Buddha faces would help create the sanctuary we want our bedroom to be.

One of Whitney’s tips was about knowing when to consider the painting complete; I found this to be a challenge. I kept looking, adding touches, changing small sections or making additions here and there. In the past, I would probably have just said, I am done, and walked away. There is a fine line for me between perfectionism and throwing in the towel. Where is the stopping point? How do you know when something is finished?

Whitney’s advice was that we would know when our painting was done and if we weren’t sure then to keep painting. That perfectionist voice in the back of my head said, “Don’t mess it up, stop now.” But I kept going until I felt certain that the face was complete. It was a powerful process to continue to work past the point of wanting to be done and worrying too much about messing it up or having it be perfect to that place of completion.

Business Lessons from Buddha

I find that this time in my craft room is so good for me and leaves me feeling fresh and inspired to take new actions in my business when Monday morning rolls around! It takes me outside of my normal routine and gets me away from the computer. Working on this painting this weekend inspired wonderful new ideas for blogging, programs and projects I want to work on. But it also reminded me of the Buddha quote above, to pursue this path: meditate, live purely, be quiet, do my work with mastery and be willing to shine.

Rediscovering my creative spirit has taught me to stretch and to focus at the same time. It has reminded me of that gentle path that Buddha defines as the path of right action for me.  It has helped me finish projects and pick one idea or project at a time. For me, creating art is a form of meditation that inspires deeper reflection and leads me on a merry journey of inner exploration. Yet at the end of the day, it takes courage and confidence to share what I create in my craft room with you, who I may or may not know.

It’s easy for me to shine in my business. I am good at what I do and I love it. I am confident that I can make a difference in people’s lives. Making art has reminded me that I need to integrate all of who I am into a whole that makes sense for me: marketing expert and total geek, serial entrepreneur, iPhone fanatic, liberal, spiritual, gypsy, wife, mom, carpool driver, painter, chef and happy crafter. Yep, it’s all part of me and if I fail to give time, love and attention to any of these roles, it shows up in my life as stress, depression, distraction…

The Buddha reminds us to come out from behind the clouds and shine! To me that means bringing all of who we are to the work that we do, be willing to stand in the moonlight and say, “Here I am!”

I find that my clients struggle mightily with standing up, allowing the light to shine on them and asking for what they need. A big piece of the work I do with creative entrepreneurs is to give themselves permission to shine their gifts out into the world so that they can attract more of the people who are waiting for them.

If you are struggling to stand in the moonlight and wondering how to create a business that allows you to be YOU, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to me at and let me know what your challenges are as well as your successes.

I’d love for you to share your thoughts on this question in the comments below:

What inspires you to be more creative in your business?



Posted in


  1. Tai Goodwin on October 1, 2014 at 7:57 am

    You had me at “SHINE”. I believe that each of us are brilliant. I like to say that light attracts light. Just imagine a world where women are confidently brilliant – that’s the kind of movement I’d like to spark and be a part of.

    • minette on October 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Hi Tai, I agree that each of us is brilliant and am so glad that we are shining together here today. I’d like to be a part of that movement as well!

  2. Debra Oakland on October 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Minette, I LOVE your Buddha and the name of your article! The perfectionist in us will just keep running the show unless we allow ourselves to just be, to allow a perfect unfolding in each moment, know when enough is enough. What wonderful wondrous lessons from Buddha…thank you for passing them on! <3

  3. Candess on October 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Love your Buddha! With fall in the air I am cleaning out my sewing area and pulling out my unfinished quilt projects. I need to “step away from the computer” and get messy!

  4. Jules Maas on October 1, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Your painting is GORGEOUS! I did charcoal life drawings in college, but have never done a painting. My business is web & print design/website management, which I find immensely creative. My current challenge has been in finding a functional way to freelance while also being a SAHM of 3 year old triplets. It’s as fleeting a goal as inner peace, but I know I’ll get there if I just keep trying. And I agree – even when I can’t do ‘work’, I find doing creative projects with my girls helps a lot!

  5. Judy - Pedagogical Artist on October 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

    The Buddha painting, Minette is exquisite. I love how you bring together the facial features and the design.

    Lovely metaphor – shining from behind the clouds. The thing is, clouds drift allowing for different strengths and loves to shine at different times. I have found my own creativity changing over the years and like the clouds I have learnt to flow with it.

    HUGS <3

  6. Renae Whitacre on October 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Minette – Love the post! I am definitely guilty of not recognizing the need to just get something done that is “good enough” versus struggling with perfection. You reminded me that often my best work can get lost in the “perfection” which dilutes the true essence and purpose of the work.

  7. Inga Deksne on October 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful article, it reminded me that I always wanted to draw but I was told from childhood that I am not good at arts. I think I still believe it somewhere deep in my heart. I found escape in creating photo quotes for myself and my clients. I draw from time to time, I didn’t know that you can do virtual painting classes, something new to explore.

  8. Jenn Alex Brockman on October 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Knowing when to be done is a big one for me. Most of the time when it comes to art, I know. But, when it’s business, I’m not sure when to stop if it’s not working.

    • minette on October 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Ahh, Jenn, that is a touch one. I am a big fan of taking a hard look at what I am doing and asking myself, if this isn’t getting the results I want, why am I still doing it? It took me years to get out from under and business that I should have shut down way sooner. It’s not worth the time, sweat and tears if you feel like you have given it your all!

  9. Alana on October 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    You had me at “virtual painting”. A virtual class. I never thought of taking a virtual art class. That would be so perfect for me (someone who has never painted, or drawn, or at least not since high school, when we “had to”. Why? Because of that inner critic. I never could do as well as students around me. There was no joy doing art in a context of having to be graded. As an adult, I don’t want to be graded or judged, either! I have learned to let go of some of my perfectionism over the years. Maybe I am ready for that virtual art class.

  10. Peggy on October 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Minette – this just gushes with warm fuzzy happiness. From the picture you painted of Buddha, to the words you chose and the quote you so intuitively picked for this piece.

    Just between us, my inner critic is a snarky bitch. Oh yeah. She morphs from a pouty six year old to a cross between Nurse Crachet and the Wicked Witch of the West. Once she starts in with “you can’t write that…no one will read it anyway” I take her by the hand and calmly tell her that it’s just a draft and that it’s okay if I write like crap. And then she goes all Glinda the Good Witch on me 🙂

    • minette on October 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Peggy, I am giggling out loud at your colorful representation of your Inner Critic. One of the tools I use in my work is SoulCollage, it would be awesome to make a collaged image of Wicked Nurse Crachet 🙂 She has something to teach you, I am so, as does Glinda the Good Witch. I love that you are able to take her by the hand and work with her.

  11. Pamela Thompson on October 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    What a beautiful Buddha you painted! I so enjoyed your post on “Business Lessons from Buddha” and particularly resonated with your comments on how you feel fresh and inspired after painting and find that “creating art is a form of meditation that inspires deeper reflection”. When I paint, do pottery,etc. I find that it calms by busy mind and enables me to “be in the moment”. By carving out time to do creative projects it does indeed positively impact on my business. Thanks for the reminder Minette!

    • minette on October 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Thank you Pamela, have fun creating!

  12. Brandy Schuster on October 2, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Such an uplifting post! Creativity, Buddha, Art, Business, Shining our Spirit, all together in one post! Happiness! 🙂 I love the creativity program you offered recently and am having fun working through it! Thanks Minette!

    What inspires me to be more creative in my business is that the process of going from divine inspiration to “putting it on paper” to putting it out there is the process of my growth. I also remind myself that “this is the first time I’m doing this program (or in your case painting) and it will naturally evolve and refine over time. It is all part of the process, and starting from the space of inspiration and creativity is, well, the best!

    • minette on October 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      You are welcome, Debra! I love that image of unfolding. That is how painting the Buddha felt, like an unfolding and allowing the image to emerge… super fun!

    • minette on October 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Brandy, I am so glad you are enjoying the Let the Creativity out of the Box program! Yes, I love that divine creative process of taking an idea from seed to full bloom!

Leave a Comment