Would you consider yourself to be left-brained or right-brained? Analytical or creative? What happens when you are both? And as an entrepreneur, which one is better?
Left Brain vs. Right Brain
People whose dominant side of the brain is the left side are said to be more logical and analytical. On the other hand, those whose dominant side is the right side have been said to be more artistic. The prevailing thought is that creative people aren’t, by nature, analytical and vice-versa. I disagree.
I’ve always thought of myself as having one foot in the professional/analytical world and one foot in the creative/artistic world. Throughout my life, I’ve never been able to picture myself in a field that was purely artistic, and when I practiced law, I was craving a creative outlet. Now that I work for myself as a full-time blogger, I feel that I’m able to use both my analytical and artistic sides to their fullest potential; and as an entrepreneur, I truly believe that you need to be both.
I think of the classic example of the ‘starving artist’ – you know, the person so dedicated to his or her craft that he or she can’t monetize. Well, I’ve seen and heard of so many creatives who say they don’t want to deal with the ‘business stuff’ or that it’s all about the art. But, in today’s world, you have to be business savvy (unless you want to live with mommy and daddy for the rest of your life). On the other hand, creativity and thinking outside of the box are absolutely essential if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
Hayley x MSFT
I attended a workshop with Microsoft a little while ago and it really got me thinking more about this. It was a creative masterclass with Hayley Elsaesser, a kick-ass Canadian fashion designer and business owner, who is known for her super fun and colourful designs. I was so impressed and inspired by Hayley’s story, and I think she’s the epitome of a ‘whole-brained’ thinker. Her creativity obviously shines through; but in just a few short years, she’s already presented multiple times at Fashion Week, has opened up her own flagship store, and has gained worldwide recognition and popularity. Much like Hayley, we learned in the masterclass how the Microsoft Surface has this same ‘dual capacity’. Apart from the traditional uses for the device, did you know that it’s an ideal tool for designers too? Hayley showed us her design process from start to finish, all using the Microsoft Surface.
How You Can Leverage Your Left Brain and Right Brain to be a Successful Entrepreneur
Since I think it’s best to be able to use both the left and right sides of your brain as an entrepreneur, I’m sharing a few helpful tips on how you can harness both.
- Actively nurture and exercise both sides. You should treat your brain like a muscle, and all muscles need exercise. It’s important to allocate time to exercise both sides of your brain by doing activities that are geared towards them. At the same time, you need to know when to give one side a break and focus on the other. If some days you’re feeling a creative spell, then roll with it! But if on other days, you’re lacking inspiration, then do some admin.
- Separate spaces. Have a space for your creative activities (e.g. a studio or separate room) and for your professional activities (e.g. a desk or a coffeeshop). But keep these areas separated! Just as it’s no good to watch TV or eat in bed, it’s important to keep your creative space separate from your professional one.
- Use dynamic technology that caters to both. For this, I cannot recommend the Microsoft Surface enough! I shared in a previous blog post how my Microsoft Surface was such an indispensable tool for my business; and as I learned in the class, it’s dynamic enough to cater to fashion designers, like Hayley, too! Apart from the whole suite of Microsoft products that I regularly use (Outlook, Word, Excel), I can sketch or jot down notes on the Microsoft Surface using a Surface Pen (great for putting together a mood board or brainstorming creative direction for my photos). The Microsoft Surface Pro takes it even one step further – its ability to turn into a tablet makes it that much easier to sketch and design.
- Have a team or get help. If you can, get help from those who excel in areas you’re weaker in. All good CEOs recognize what they can and can’t do and get help from people who are skilled in areas they’re not. As much as creativity or professionalism can be learned, it’s important to recognize your limitations and align yourself with people who complement you.
- Be focused. A jack of all trades is a master at none! While it’s good to be well-rounded, it’s more beneficial to focus on a limited number of things and do them really well, rather than spread yourself too thin. Be focused and channel all your energy into your limited number of tasks, so you can be successful.
Well, there you have it! Anyone can (and should) be left-brained and right-brained in order to be a successful entrepreneur; and if you follow the tips above, you can tap into both!
This post was done in partnership with Microsoft. However, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.
Photography c/o: Laura Clarke Photography & Microsoft