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Step Back

When I was 17, I visited Paris for a school art trip. Though the second half was spent on the art of winemaking (and consuming of course), we explored the capital’s fine art delights first. We were dutifully dispatched to the Louvre for a couple of hours.

Despite being filled with extraordinary works of art, I didn’t really want to go the Louvre. There was something else I desperately wanted to do. So I planned my escape.

Once inside the Louvre, I ran around searching for the exit I needed (no easy task as it turns out). I sped through gallery after gallery stopping briefly to admire Michaelangelo’s David and pausing behind the 20 deep throng of flashing cameras in front of the Mona Lisa before I spied my escape. I sped up the boulevard to my destination.

Musée de L’Orangerie.

I was not going to miss my chance to see Monet’s Waterlilies in the gorgeous oval rooms with the paintings curving around.

As I walked in, I was immediately struck by the sheer size of the paintings and something else. 

The room simply was not big enough to properly appreciate these vast paintings

I could get up close to the intricate details of the paintings but I could not step back far enough to take in the energy of the whole picture.

I marvelled at how Monet could use each precise stroke of the brush to build up such an enormous picture that was so unified.

Of course, Monet didn’t create the picture one stroke at a time hoping to create a work of true beauty. He knew what he was going to paint before he even picked up his brush and, no doubt, he spent a lot of time walking back and forth to check that each brush stroke was indeed creating the picture he envisioned.

And within this is an entrepreneurial lesson we can all benefit from

There is so much focus on the intricate workings of business systems and flows and processes that, too often, we lose the anchor that grounds us.

Every sustainable and thriving business is built upon a vision

Monet’s initial vision for his paintings is exactly what we all need to replicate in our businesses – oversight of something that is much more expansive than it is possible to see close up. We have to hold a vision that potentially no one else can see but that we know to be possible because it is an expression of self.

This is precisely why my work focuses so heavily on the foundational work of essence, energy and creation. It’s precisely why I hold back from the technical side of marketing and even strategy until the stage is set. I work with my clients to set out the grand design and then the individual brush strokes become obvious.

I know that the pull and the push are there to implement bots and funnels and growth hacks of every conceivable kind

But these are not the keys to success.

They are a false promise unless we take the time to stand back and appreciate the fullness and expansiveness of our big picture first. We have to step back and step back regularly.

Unless we have that clarity of vision, we cannot know exactly how systems and tactics will contribute to the creation process or what their job is.

Creating the vision of the big picture before we begin to craft the details is where the magic of marketing really comes into play

Our proximity to our business is so often one of the biggest stumbling blocks to progress. Getting caught up in the detail has us going round in circles, tying ourselves up in knots and generally getting stressed. Taking the time to consciously step back is the key to seeing exactly where the barriers are and exactly what you can shed to restore the beauty and simplicity of your vision.

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