Make Art, Not Work

Each one of us has an artist inside, dying to escape. Recently I found myself using this expression only to have a peer push back a bit, questioning whether or not all of us indeed posses an inner-artist. This caused me to re-examine my thinking. While not everyone is an artist in the traditional sense of the word, many of us still have art in our lives.

My grandfather’s art was woodworking. He made many of my family members grandfather clocks. All of us still wind these hand-crafted clocks today, years after his passing. Now I’m fairly certain he didn’t consider himself an artist but I am certain he approached his work with the careful dedication and inner passion often associated with artists.

In a recent podcast, comedian Marc Maron stated, “Your art is what you put out into the world.” Seth Godin increasingly favors the word art over work. The difference between these two is your mindset. When we work, we toil to accomplish a task. When we make art, we serve something bigger. The former focuses on inputs while the latter focuses on outcomes. Work keeps you busy, art makes you happy.

What does this have to do with your business? When you approach your work with an artist’s frame of mind, you focus on the outcomes, on your art. Take a moment and consider your brand. What are you putting out into the world? Are you creating art or simply working? If you can connect your inner spark that gets you out of bed each day with the tasks in front of you, you’ll see your work as art and approach it with dedication, passion, and craftsmanship.

Great brands make art, whether it’s thinking different about computers, delivering happiness with mail-order shoes, or whatever lights your fire. We all have artists inside. Consider unleashing yours to make art, not work.