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Not Enough Women Business Leaders: Is it Our Fault?

The Art of Poetry and Life in Your Business

And a child shall lead us... to step away from the dull, to be silly and outrageous, to live the poetry of our lives

by Yvonne DiVita

I've been recommending folks step away from their business books and their seminars, from their social media and their conferences; step away and find a quiet corner to read... something inspiring. A classic novel. A story about life gone wrong, saved by a child or a dog. And, poetry. Yes, even poetry.

Poetry, so says Wikipedia, "...has a long history, dating back to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Early poems evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to retell oral epics, as with theSanskrit VedasZoroastrian Gathas, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey." 

I say, there is much art in life and business, but one seldom sees it or allows the experience of it to be a part of their daily doings. There is much creativity in writing a story about yourself, and it needn't be a true story. Embelish - add details you are sure are not real - invigorate the plot with great dialogue, words you are confident you never spoke, but perhaps should have. And, in your efforts to move away from the buzz words of business, step aside from your narrative ... to lay your words on paper, scattered like leaves in the summer wind... to discover the poetry within, then whisper it out loud.

"My dreams were all my own; I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed - my dearest pleasure when free." ~ Mary Shelley

We live in poetry, though many of do not acknowledge it. Our lives, both personal and business, revolve around the poetic. The birth of a child is so wrought with poetry, in its very uncertainty and joy, its fascination with the unknown, wrapped in expectation, the birth of a child begins in poetry. The birth of a company, very similar; it comes with great pain and great fear, spilling hope like a cascading waterfall, to a pool of wonder below. I propose that a rainbow of colors shine on all births, whether human or business, whispering of the poetic, and we, as humans, choose to embrace art it offers us, or we choose to move on, as if it holds no place in our lives. 

Unfortunately, as we move ahead in business, we relinquish our poetic selves, assuming the stance of a stale imposter. The businessman or woman inside does his and her best to crush those flowery words, the lilt of a poetic phrase, the vibrancy of an imagination bursting with emotion. We deny these things because we feel they will hold us back in our business success. We must be focused, our goals are concrete, our purpose is stalwart; and so we newly adopt words that crush the artist inside. 

Let your inner muse emerge. Throw off that business cloak, chaffing at your elbows. 

Talk to Edgar Allan Poe, if you dare. Read Elizabeth Barret Browning. Uncover your soul with the great Maya Angelou. Open your eyes to the world of art pulsing in your heart, tickling your memory. Because the child you were is still there, and her desire to bring art into her business should not be denied. It's the art of listening and learning, the art of doing, the art of looking deep into the human condition.

Be artistic, today. Be one with your birth, no matter how long ago.

Ask yourself, "Why does the caged bird sing?"  

"The caged bird sings  
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom." ~ Maya Angelou

Learn a poem by heart and bring it with you, to your next meeting. Instead of checking email on your phone, recite the poem, and let it lead you forward.

I leave you with Walt Whitman.. whose verse in O Me! O Life! offers a challenge... are you up to it? 

"Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew'd,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring- What good amid these, O me, O life?

And the answer,

"That you are here- that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."  ~ Walt Whitman

O You! O Life! running into tomorrow
And she will contribute a verse... a million times over.


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Toby Bloomberg

Yvonne - thanks for the reminder that there is more to reading than biz books. Here's a line from one of my favorite Robert Frost poems that often floats in my mind --

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

My thoughts are that you too might relate to these lines.

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