Last year I attended a business retreat, the attendees were given a word with meaning and my word was 'Simplicity'.
Simplicity in it's purest definition is "the quality or condition of being plain or uncomplicated in form or design".
Uncomplicated. I like that. I like that a lot.
Business can be complicated, ridiculously so. Whether you turn over a pound or a million pounds there are lots of balls to juggle and plenty of hats to wear. Simplicity, when I explored what the word meant to me in the context of business, made me realise juggling balls and wearing lots of hats belonged to a time past; when I was at the beginning of my 2by2 Creative journey and would regularly, and happily, pull an all nighter to achieve a personal or business milestone. In presenting me with the word 'Simplicity' my mentor had, quite simply, presented the delicious possibility of what I envisaged to be a more rewarding and joyful business life, ultimately with less demands and stresses.
I devoted 2017 to finding what I can only describe as my own version of simplicity within my business. The starting point was my being brutally honest with every aspect of my work.
I was honest about what was complicating life. Don't get me wrong, complications are ok, if they don't detract from your purpose. My complications stemmed from a lifelong desire to please everyone around me and for everyone to be happy, sometimes at the expense of me. My saying "Yes" to every opportunity, agreeing to ridiculous deadlines and trying to design too many products too quickly led to a crazy working day that was making my life complicated.
Honesty led me to make changes; some were tough at first, like letting staff go and not taking on work I knew I could achieve with a little overtime. However other changes were easy, like changing the seat I sat on and how my office was decorated.
When I began the process I was fearful if I was strong enough to make the change, I was fearful that simplifying life might mean I lost something. When you work at something you love not working can be a challenge.
But I have more time now to do other things I love, I don't have to race home to send files to press, I can dawdle over coffee, pop in and see friends. A few months on my business has evolved and I've transitioned into a beautiful balance. As Frederic Chopin said:
"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art."
I'm inclined to agree, simplicity has emerged as a reward.
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