Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Graeme Beals - Creative Entrepreneur

I have known Graeme for a long time - our first association being in education. I also sit with Graeme on a trust [TACT - Taranaki Arts Community Trust] that runs a very successful community gallery - you can check it out here
Since his early days in education he and his wife Jane have created a number of very successful business.
I asked him about the role of creativity in his endeavours.

Wayne: What part has creativity / creating played in your life?
Graeme: A great deal.

Wayne: In what ways do you express your creativity?
Graeme: Through forming new businesses, and running them uniquely, coming up with different ideas, seeing new opportunities, looking left when everyone else is looking right – or staring into the headlights, and asking for what I want.

Wayne: Was there a point in your life when you recognised that you were creative? How did that come about?
Graeme: Yep. Probably when I became principal in a country school and realised how boring it could be for kids if they had the same teacher each year – so I kept reinventing.
After leaving teaching and starting a business from scratch on a shoestring, I had to unleash my creativity from the start. I was widely complemented then and externally confirmed in my belief that I was indeed, very creative.

Wayne: How would you describe / explain your creative process, in particular do you have any 'habits' that support your creativity?

Graeme: Boredom or stasis is usually my trigger – a very important emotion to feel, as it is the one that tells you things are not changing enough. When I feel a sense of boredom or humdrum, I start my creativity going and really work at a process that goes something like this:
Why am I feeling like this?
What needs to change.
What would be the impact if I changed it?
Can I live with that?
What do I want?
How will I get it?
The last one is often a process of defining all the parameters, the available resources and reaffirming to myself what things I like and don’t like doing, then consigning it to my super-conscious. I often review it consciously daily, or even more often during that phase, as sometimes ideas come part formed – they have to be grabbed, held up to the light, loved and consigned to the SC for further development.

Wayne: What suggestions / tips would you give to others who want to explore their creativity?
Graeme: Listen to your inner self, and be appreciative of what comes – say what a great idea it is and be appreciative of it, and of the opportunity to have been offered it.

Graeme is the Managing Director of the Zenith Publishing Group and The Healthy Thinking Institute. You can check out some of his entrepreneurial endeavours at:

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