Staying Inside the Lines

I was at my son’s school this morning for a special celebration breakfast. For once, my schedule was clear and no plane was in sight. I was able to make it. (For those of you working parents out there, you realize that this can be an accomplishment likened to the building of the Parthenon.)

I arrived early and took a spin around the classroom. What is going on in 1st grade?

I happened upon a wall where they had clearly illustrated a story they had heard, I’m assuming of two friends. The outlines of the friends were made, but it was up to each child to fill in the blanks.

Kid #1 Picture

The first one I saw was delightful… what one would expect to see… simple happy faces, two friends joined hand in hand. Lovely.

Fin's Picture

Then, I shifted over to the right. The kid drew inside the lines, but what in the world was going on here? Who were his parents and what is going on in that household?  They must be happy, maybe reggae Rastafarians? Oh, wait, that’s my kid’s drawing.

I started to wonder how many of my clients were like my son when they were kids. Working with so many entrepreneurs, surely there was a desire to draw outside the lines. And if they couldn’t, they sure as hell were going to do everything but.

The world of business has a lot of “should’s” and “this is the way it works.” However, the last couple of years has truly challenged the “norm.” It has inspired the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. We know there are some “basic lines” in business, but where can we innovate, do it differently, challenge the “should”?

I’m going to hang this picture in my office as a reminder that when I’m drawing inside the lines, maybe I don’t need to. Thanks for the reminder, Fin.

When was the last time you drew outside the lines?



One Comment on “Staying Inside the Lines”

  1. Erin says:

    This is a great post. I appreciate your candor and your son’s creativity. Your sentiment regarding entrepreneurs really rings true for me. I grew up in a home with a self employed parent, as did my husband. Together, we’ve run a couple of different ventures together. We decided to try out the ‘security’ of a regular j-o-b in 2008, just as the economy started to unravel. We both discovered what layoffs were like, and then again, and again. We decided to get back in the drivers seat a couple of years ago and it feels a lot better to be in control!

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