What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

One of my clients is planning a Valentine’s Day promotion. I admit it’s fun to spend your day talking about love. I got brought in to noodle some ideas. It was an exercise that left me feeling a bit like Raymond Carver’s editor at Knopf, who allegedly rewrote whole sections of Carver’s short stories without the author ever feeling oppressed.

My client had his team share hatchlings of ideas along with some copy they had written. There I was in the darkened conference room being pitched by my client’s staff. I deduced that it was my job to transform this stuff into something that would sell.
I hate working like this, I told myself. This is not what we do! But I was facing a situation bred by the rising RenGen where everyone is creative.
Despite any displacement I may feel, this is not really a problem. Instead, it’s a reason to feel hopeful. It’s what happens when a civilization starts realizing the hard truth of its decline. The creative impulse being triggered is a natural antidote, a symbiotic serum, if you will, that is like a shot in the arm. As a people, we are entering a time when part of what we yearn for is to be creative because we simply cannot reasonably decipher what to do next–we must create the next path.

I’ve decided to come to grips with this shift by embracing it. It means changing my role from guru to collaborator, from intellectual hot shot to emotional laborer, as I support my clients in their own transformation.

This is something we need to talk about in business. People are beginning to view the way they DO business differently. I’m picking up the tremors everywhere. Last week, I was invited by a group of venture capitalists to hear a talk by transcendentalist monk. When I was out in California last winter, I encountered a group of mystics whose primary clients were CEOs from the Midwest and East Coast, who apparently felt that what they prayed in Califronia, stayed in California.

How are these phenomena related? Business professionals are beginning to understand that despite tomes of market analysis, consumer research, market-sizing reports and sheer common sense they are unable to see a clear way forward. Now, they must rely on something else. They must learn the art of leading by intuition, creativity and collaboration.

Welcome to the RenGen!