poetry is good for business

What Poetry Can Teach us About Business

April is National Poetry Month. I adore poetry! In fact my doctorate focused on the study of Latin American poetry but that seems like a lifetime ago. For many years I forgot about poetry and how much I loved reading and writing it. I got busy raising my kids, being married and running a publishing company.

In fact, it was because of my parenting magazine that I discovered National Poetry Month when I started to receive press releases about children’s poems or events honoring poets. Suddenly I began to think about poetry again, to long for poetry in my life. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to read poetry, most of them aren’t that long… but it takes time to savor a poem, to gather it’s meaning and sit with it.

Starting a Business Takes so Much Time!

Time seemed like an incredible luxury in the early years of parenting and starting a business. Too many things that I loved slipped through my fingers – poetry, making art, cooking, Sunday afternoon bike rides or trips to the zoo, dates with my husband… Now 15 years later my perspective has changed and my commitment to myself and my family has changed. I have shifted my priorities to focus more on family and less on work. Work still gets done and lots of it but I am no longer willing to sacrifice what matters most. Do I still linger too long in my home office, sending just one more email or making one more phone call… of course I do. The difference is how conscious I am of time – I don’t let it rule my life and I don’t let work take up ALL of my time.

The truth is, I love to work, I love the work that I do and it can be easy to spend all my time in front of this computer doing something. But I find that when I relax into my life, go for a walk, sit at my craft table or watch tv with my kids, my brain is more open to new ideas.

Why Reading Poetry is Good for Business

Reading poetry is a perfect example of an activity that can help me to see my life and my work differently. One line from a poem might spark an idea for a blog post, a piece of art, inspiration for a teleseminar or a new product. I might find the perfect poem to send to a client who needs some inspiration and joy. Creativity is a crucial part of any business growth and strategy – we need to constantly search for ways to be more creative in our business!

So today, I am sharing with you a favorite poem of mine by American poet Mary Oliver. I find her poetry to be easily accessible and honest. She has an incredible way of bringing deep concepts out into the open in a way that sheds new light or makes me go, “Ah, yes, that’s it!” Enjoy this poem, “The Journey.” This poem inspired this blog post today. The entrepreneur’s journey can be long and lonely but for many of us, it’s the only journey we can choose.

poetry is good for business

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.