finding courage in creativity
Corporate Culture

Finding Courage in Creativity

Susan Hatten
Susan Hatten
Chief Marketing Officer

The book currently taking space on my nightstand is the 2018 release by Elizabeth Gilbert — “Big Magic.” Not only was I curious to read Liz’s quippings outside of her best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love,” but this title was intriguing to me and seemed to find me just at the right time.

“Big Magic” is all about living a life of creativity and expression, beyond the elements of fear.

Children are inherently creative; this is how they chart on a path to learn and grow in their formative years. At what point do we begin to lose that fearless childhood creativity, where we once approached tasks with colorful rhetoric, unbridled passion, and without fear of making a mistake?

One of our Holmes Murphy Aspirations — or hope-filled goals — is to lead by “Courageous Influence.” What does Courageous Influence mean? It means that Holmes Murphy has adopted a culture in which innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and thought leadership are welcome. It has occurred to me now, more than ever, just how valuable this aspiration is to the growth, overall health, and business vitality of any organization.

I have been fortunate in my career to have been offered various opportunities to allow my creative spirit to shine through, of which I am entirely grateful. This being said, candidly, I recall many times over the course of my career and civic service in which I placed my creative thoughts, ideas, and napkin sketches in a box — never to be shared for fear of failure, fear of rejection, or simply fear of being a non-conformist.

The concept of “Big Magic” and the allowance of freedom in Courageous Influence hit me again as I wandered through the supermarket a few weeks ago.

During my sophomore year of undergraduate studies, I was asked to create a product-pivot for a consumer product already in-market. I developed a concept of the infusion between the confectionary (candy bar) market, with the hot beverage (cocoa/tea) market. A York Peppermint Pattie Hot Cocoa line. I drafted the go-to market strategy, built a retail platform, recommended SKU’s and the merchandising concepts, and was so proud of illustrating the label for this revolutionary cocoa, with my coveted colored pencil collection. While I received an “A” on that project and presentation, I placed the business model and product concept in a box, never to be shared again.

Guess what was on sale for $3.89 in aisle seven as I shopped the supermarket a few weeks ago? A York Peppermint Pattie Hershey’s Hot Cocoa mix. Seventeen years later, and someone is making millions off this idea.

My point? Don’t let fear or failure paralyze your creative inspiration, thoughts, or ideas. Lean in to your creative spirit. Have the courage to live a creatively influenced life and live it boldly.

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