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 minette_at_minetteriordan.com 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?