While the stereotype of the busy entrepreneur is someone who is tethered to her cellphone and laptop and wearable technology, I strive to be everything but that person.
The entrepreneurial evangelism that I preach instead: Get tethered to your intuition, imagination and creativity.
There’s lots of advice out there about how to unplug and tap into your creativity. But here are two gratifying activities that make me a better, more resourceful entrepreneur—and that bring genuine joy to my life.
1. Spending time around children.
For me, that’s spending time with my son, Jackson.
Recently, I read a great questionnaire at Forbes.com called “10 Crucial Questions For Defining Your Personal Brand” by personal branding guru William Arruda. I recommend checking out Arruda’s list of prompts and answering as many as them as you can. It’s a great exercise in getting to know yourself and finding out–or reacquainting yourself with–who you really are as an entrepreneur. When you answer the questions, remember to respond with your heart. The head has a way of making the heart’s answers harder to hear, but listen intently to see what the heart is saying.
One of my favorite questions in Arruda’s Forbes article is “What aspect of the world would be different if you had not been a part of it?” At first, my head wanted to answer this question by naming one of my many business achievements, but then I heard my heart saying something different: Jackson.
What can I say: Every mother thinks her kid is the most special kid–and I’m no different from any of those mothers. My son has an emotional intelligence that constantly surprises and impresses me. Every moment I spend with him inspires me to think differently and see the world in a new way.
New insights and new perceptions–these are precious commodities for an entrepreneur. Whether or not you’re a parent, spending time around a special child in your life can open your eyes to amazing things.
2. Standing in line without whipping out your phone.
You know how it is.
You’re waiting at the doctor’s office or you’re killing time while the Starbucks barista makes your nonfat, no-whip latte or you’re standing in front of your kid’s school with all the other parents who are counting the minutes until the bell rings. And during those times when you’ve got “extra” time on your hands, you reach for your phone to check email, scroll through your friends’ Facebook posts or surf the web to read the latest headlines.
I keep my phone in my bag or in my pocket. Using my phone in public places, for the sake of time-killing or attention-diverting, keeps me from being creative, meeting people and making connections. It also keeps me from being an effective problem solver. There’s a lot that you miss out on when your head is always down.