Hello Leader,

In this KEY I am going to share with you five lessons I learned from Kelly, an art teacher, which you can apply to your life, work and your approach to innovation.

Listen to the five lessons from Kelly Podcast here. As always, your comments are welcome. Please forward this KEY to friends, family and associates.


Aviv Shahar

Five Lessons Kelly Will Teach You

Imagine discovering one day, after having lived with your partner for 32 years, that she is a highly-talented artistic painter who can create amazing paintings. What would you do?

In my case, I came home one day to discover the walls covered with beautiful canvases of scenic views.

First, I watched with amazement and encouragement. Then, as her talent continued to reveal itself, I became curious about the unfolding journey. I wanted to understand the process, to find out what enables Sara to discover and continue to liberate her artistic talent.

"How do you help people liberate their creative potential and realize their gifts?" is a question I've been working on for 30 years. This is my subject. I am in the learning-mastery business. I help executives learn and innovate faster, and create new futures for themselves and their organization.

And right here, in front of my eyes, at home, Sara discovered a gift and continues to create professional-caliber original artwork. I recently had an opportunity to ask Sara's art teacher Kelly about her teaching secrets. It's a question I've been asking masters in their fields all around the world.

What are the five keys you teach? How do you help people who have never painted before create professional paintings in a matter of few weeks? What do you do? What is your secret?

Kelly smiles. She has probably never thought of what she does in these terms. But she replies to my question without hesitation. Here are the five keys Kelly shared with me:

  1. Don't be afraid. There is nothing to fear. The only thing to fear is the fear that holds you back from trying. I show my students they don't need to fear the canvas, the brushes, or the colors.
  2. Know your passion. You have to know and understand what you are passionate about so that you can channel it into what you do. Bring forward and express your interests and curiosity and find what inspires you.
  3. Never give up. Keep on practicing. You've got to keep at it. You must never let disappointment, difficulty or frustration stop your practice. As you practice you continue to get better at what you do and you create images that validate your success.
  4. Respect what you do. You must first respect yourself. This is your time. When you give your time to your art, give it the full measure of attention and focus. Do not use only half of yourself. Do what you do fully.
  5. Create a supportive environment. Finally, you need to surround yourself with all the things that will support what you are trying to do. Participate in a community of practice where you can learn and be with others who are learning and improving their craft.

These are the five lessons from Kelly the art teacher. And they are equally valid in your life and work, and to how you approach new business creation and innovation.

Now that you have read the five lessons, here is an exercise. In the coming week ask two people to frame with commanding language their top five lessons about successfully navigating the complexities of work and life. Articulating a command is easy: begin with a verb and create a short and pithy message.

Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Don't be afraid. Know your passion. Never give up. Respect what you do. Cultivate a supportive environment. Produce the beautiful pictures you are here to create.

© Aviv Shahar