Ken Ferlic, an energy physicist and former acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy, writes about the nature of seeding dreams and the conditions that best support realizing them. Ferlic writes, “Our creative endeavors, the intentions, the dreams, and the desires we carry need to be allowed to live and follow their own nature into manifestation. Any creative endeavor can be seen as creating a seed condition which when planted in a fertile space grows and bears fruit” .
One of the biggest frustrations for visionaries and creative professionals has to do with the first laws of motion: Energy in motion tends to want to stay in motion . The whole process from hunch to dream, from sketch to construction requires a lot of forward progress each step of the way. It’s a relay. One phase both passes and creates the baton to the next. One of the most painful, energy-draining things that could happen for a creative is something or someone that seeks to interrupt active energy.
A creative’s biggest fear is that of a grinding halt. Worse than a wrench in the system, which after a good yanking, allows everything to start up again—is a deliberate slow-walking made to look like activity but really is death by another name.
Here’s where politics enters in, and not just “big government” politics, but local and organizational politics.
A creative’s biggest fear is that of a grinding halt.
For example, you have a business idea, but the town clerk in your area doesn’t fancy much your projects. How would you feel if you went down to the town hall to put in an application for a permit on time with full payment in hand, having previously timed how long the approval process takes, and set up product sales to begin once the permit is cleared—but the town clerk starts to, you later realize under the guise of assistance, slow walk you—popping up with arcane statutes to hurdle at every turn?
Town Clerk says, “Fantastic, thanks for bringing in your application.” He takes a good and long look at it and says, “You know, by the way, you listed the county on the wrong spot on your application. The people up at the State Capitol are really particular about these things. You wrote the county in when all you had to do was circle it, so you will have to start the process all over from the beginning. They don’t like to see too many mistakes on an application. Make sure to issue a new check or money order for the date signed on the new application once you have filled it out.”
The four-page application takes a half-hour to fill out. You offer to fill out a new one right there on the spot. Town Clerk tells you that he’s the only one there that day that can accept the special permit you requested and that he was on his way out for the day, saying you’d have to come back the next Tuesday when he’s back in to do special permits.
You’re eager to make nice with the local officials and to start your business off with a good name. You tell your crew waiting for you that they are going to have to wait a little longer, no more than a week for the application to be submitted but that all the needed documentation is all there. You have a client waiting on an order once the permit is approved and reassure her that all will soon be in order.
Next, Tuesday, you get back to the town clerk, Town Clerk takes a long look at your application and accepts all your documentation. He gets ready to give you a receipt but, oh, suddenly a notification popped up on his screen. He begins reading to you some archaic provision that says applications submitted after the date you first visited will have to wait until the new submission cycle begins at the start of the upcoming fiscal year—six months away.
You go back to your Jeep or bike or hybrid and hold onto the steering wheel for a good 10 minutes before leaving the parking lot—just to feel what it is like to sit in a stalled dream.
The pain that creatives face is not the heft required to pull wrenches out the system or the long hours it takes to see a project through to completion, to midwife a dream. Creatives aren’t afraid of labor pains. Their greatest heartbreak is a deliberate and calculated slow down.
Creatives aren’t afraid of labor pains.
Unfortunately, business people often view bureaucracy that way—when at least at the federal level there are guidelines in place for consumer and citizenry protections. Governments that function well want to issue out as many licenses and permits as they can within because it helps get more business ideas up and running, creates more jobs and gets more money circulating in the economy.
As a small business owner, I am actually thankful when notified about a new compliance rule or filing requirement. I am appreciative because that means there is a watchdog looking out for me—making sure I don’t get tangled inadvertently in a statue I need to be aware of. I am appreciative because it also means there is a watchdog group looking out for my employee(s), making sure they hold me accountable to fair and equitable business practices.
The danger that I’ve faced is not the regulatory aspect of running a business. In fact the IRS has been helpful to me. The most damaging thing that happened to me in any business endeavor is in the bottlenecking of the production process.
Sometimes intra- and inter-organizational politics are far more damaging than the straightforward compliance requirements from state and federal agencies.