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Self Development

Using Creative Processes For Entrepreneurial Creation

A creative entrepreneur without a guiding process is like a treasure map without a compass – all potential, but no direction. Here’s how to channel your inner innovation.

Gopal Ramasammy-Cook




Whatever your intended creation, waiting around for some muse to fill your tanks with high-octane creative inspiration is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment. You need a light-weight, easy to apply, effective process to guide your creative action.

Zestware’s CREATE method, which I facilitate, is based on a simple and easy-to-recall acronym. CREATE expands into the following steps:

Choice: The world seldom tells us exactly what to create. We have to prioritise and choose from the numerous options available. Your creative desires, market research, and decision-making techniques are raw materials for creative choice, but there comes a time when more information does not provide greater decision-making power. If you can say with absolute certainty that a new product will be successful, your chief competitor already has the major market share. Ultimately we must choose or be damned!

Resources: Creating a resource inventory might sound like a drudgery worse than a poke in the eye with a fried hake and chips. But done in a creative way, exploring resources can be both fun and informative. List what you have, what you need, and what you must acquire. Resources include skills, personal and professional networks, materials, venues, time, and numerous other tangible and intangible requirements for bringing your creation to fruition.

Exploration and Experimentation: The world is your laboratory. Useful sources of ideas are the Internet, other people, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and interesting places like museums and universities. Write, sketch, or prototype anything that seems relevant. Consider “problems” as design challenges, and remain open to possible solutions that emerge.

Assembly and Actualisation: Pull together everything from the previous phases and in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “Make it so!”  Challenges may arise at this stage, requiring you to revisit previous steps. That’s OK, cycling between steps keeps you creatively agile, as long as you are always moving the creation forward.

Transmission: At some point you need to Transmit your creation outwards, because the whole point of entrepreneurship is to bring value to the world. Releasing your creation to its intended target market is also a way to get valuable feedback. For every person who considers Microsoft’s Bill to be the Gates of heaven itself, there is another who would dearly like to hit him with a large rubber mallet. But it cannot be denied that Microsoft has made a sizable fortune by releasing products and using the feedback to create future versions.

Evolution?: Finally, you are faced with the choice of whether or not to evolve your creation. If is is complex, you could release a core feature-set, then evolve it by adding features through staged releases. Evolution might entail using your creation as a component for something new, and can itself be accomplished using the CREATE process.

This cyclic nature of the CREATE process reduces the stress associated with creative perfectionism. It allows you to take your best shot, and refine in a cyclic way, through real feedback rather than guesswork. Use this method to create processes, products, events, artistic works, software, web site designs, and other creations. In fact, the CREATE process was itself developed using steps similar to those described above.

Gopal Ramasammy-Cook is a member of the ICF Chapter Cape Town.The International Coach Federation, the world’s largest resource for professional coaches. He is also a Zestware coach and facilitator. For more information visit the Zestware website.

Self Development

5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day

In honour of Mandela Day, here are 5 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.

Casandra Visser



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Bouncing Back


“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton



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Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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Self Development

How To Control What You Can And Influence What You Can’t In Your Life

Every day you need to get up and face numerous challenges. Here’s how you can keep your head in the game — even when all you want to do is quit.

Erik Kruger




On Monday you wake up ready to take on the world. You’re focused, determined and business is doing well. Tuesday feels like you’re invincible and things could not be going any better. Wednesday, your world collapses. You doubt your ability to deliver to your clients. You wonder whether you should still pursue the same business. You think that quitting at this stage is easier than dealing with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And you are dramatically reminded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Mix in human nature and it becomes borderline insanity to try and build a business. And yet, the reward is worth it. I therefore want to share three strategies that might help you cope with this tough but deeply rewarding pursuit.

Influence and control

Most of the things in business and life are out of our control. You cannot control how other people react to your service or product. You cannot control how your employees will show up. You cannot control how the market will react and how that will affect your business.

Related: How You Can Do Big Things

This makes it very important to control what you can and then influence the rest to the best of your ability.

So, what can you control? You can control your actions, reactions and perceptions of the challenges you face. Meaning essentially, that you can control yourself and your efforts.

Do this with excellence and you will automatically influence the people around you and the situations you find yourself in.

Override your moods

If we only did the hard work when we felt like it, we would hardly get anything done. Our moods fluctuate like the tides of the ocean. Not because we are temperamental but because the external world has a profound impact on us.

When you wake up to news that the economy is in recession, it has the potential to plant seeds of doubt in your mind. When you receive an email from a disgruntled customer complaining about your service, it has the potential to ruin your day.

The fact is that you can receive a hundred testimonials singing your praise, but you will obsess and become despondent over that one negative comment.

This means that we have to move beyond our emotions. Sure, they are important in the decision-making process and for fostering meaningful relationships. But you cannot allow them to dictate when you will do work.

In other words, work hard, irrespective of your moods, especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.

Create a calibration practice

One of the best ways to deal with this rollercoaster effect is to create a daily calibration practice. I am a big fan of any action taken on a daily basis. Not only because of the accumulation effect that occurs over time, but also because it keeps you focused.

So, what does a daily calibration practice look like?

It differs for everyone. It could range from meditation to a vision board to journaling to listening to a specific playlist of songs. My suggestion is that you give journaling a go.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to start a new calibration practice, I have included my journaling template for you.

It’s called ‘J1G’ (pronounced as jig). I use Evernote or a notebook from HumanWrites for journaling purposes.

J: Journal

For the first few minutes, simply allow your hand to run across the paper. The idea is for you to dump as many of your thoughts onto the paper as possible.

Some questions you can answer in this section are:

  • What am I currently excited about?
  • What am I currently worried about?
  • Where am I currently winning?
  • What can I learn from what happened yesterday?

1: The one thing that you want to get done today

In this time, I usually have a look at my to-do list and decide which one action I want to get done today. Write it down and then expand on why it is the most important action. How will it move you or your business forward?

Related: Better Thinking For A Better World

G: Gratitude

In the last section, you simply write down three things that you are grateful for. Trust me, this is an important daily practice, but even more so on the days when you feel as if life is beating you down.

When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, you crowd out fear and shift your state of mind to a more positive and productive one.

The punch line

If you can stick to the three ideas I outlined above, I guarantee you will develop more resilience and perseverance. You are an entrepreneur because you chose to be one. Do not allow life to impose its will on you. I have no doubt that you will be better off because of all the challenges you face. Not in spite of them.

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