Is Your Battery Low? Business Vision and Creative Overhead

It used to be that you had to keep a mobile phone plugged in almost constantly or it would die in the middle of a call. Even today, if you forget to recharge it, it will shut down.

The point is that even the best batteries need to be recharged.

The vision for your business is like a mobile phone

Like a mobile phone, your business vision needs power. You, the creator of the vision, are like the battery. And you need to be recharged. Often. Regularly.

Your business needs a big vision

You might be tempted to scale down your vision so you can get away with a smaller battery or so that your battery runs longer between charges. I think that’s a mistake.

You need a big vision precisely because it requires you to regularly plug in to a greater power source. The bigger your vision, the greater your reliance on that source. And the more you rely on Source, the stronger your battery gets.

A big vision doesn’t need a big ego

If you’re afraid to let your business vision be larger than yourself, I understand. It’s daunting to imagine accomplishing something that is clearly beyond your limited power. It can feel like tempting fate to step in and take you down a peg.

But a big vision doesn’t need a big ego. It needs courage and the humility to recognize your limits and accept inspiration, support, and encouragement from outside. A big ego deflects support. Courage and humility invite it.

A big vision doesn’t have to be rigid

You may be tempted to back off from your business vision because you don’t want to seem demanding. Who are you to set audacious goals and standards? What if the Universe has something else in mind?

Well, the Universe is going to get its way whatever you do. So long as you remember that, you can create as big a vision as you like, and you’ll have the resilience to adapt to whatever reality brings.

And all the while you’ll be plugging into a greater source of power. While you’re connected, it’s really not possible to go wrong.

Charging your battery is creative overhead

Overhead is everything that’s necessary to run your business but that doesn’t directly generate profit. Rent. Phone. Office supplies.

And then there’s creative overhead.

Creative overhead is everything you need to charge your battery. It might be starting your day with meditation. Taking the time to exercise. Learning a new language.

You invest in creative overhead, not only because it makes you feel better in the moment, but because it charges your battery. It restores and renews you. You are a different—and better—body worker, writer, or car mechanic when you invest in creative overhead than when you don’t.

It’s all connected

Your business vision, the battery you are, and the Source which recharges you are all connected. The bigger your vision, the more you need to rely on Source. The more you rely on Source, the stronger your battery and the easier it is to power that big vision .

And paradoxically, more powerful your vision, the easier it is to adapt to and dance with whatever happens.

It’s not this or that

Sometimes it may seem like you have to choose between creative overhead and taking care of business. But you don’t. The creative and practical needs of your business can’t be separated. They are mutually supportive.

When you invest in creative overhead, you see opportunities that might otherwise be invisible. You’re open to new ideas. And everything you do from delivering your services to marketing them will naturally differentiate you from the crowd. Your business becomes a clearer and more powerful expression of your big vision.

That’s worth plugging in for.

Image credit: EricMagnuson

About Molly Gordon

Molly Gordon is the owner of Shaboom Inc., a company devoted to helping Accidental Entrepreneurs who are allergic to business develop the skills they need to prosper. She’s an artist, writer, marketing consultant, and coach -- as well as a paddle-boarder, cyclist, singer, and grandmother. She lives in Suquamish, Washington with her husband, two hens, and Bolivia the Wonder Cat. Molly blogs at, where you can also sign up for her weekly ezine, Authentic Promotion.

  • Sherry Lowry

    Molly, your vision-battery-and-creative investment analogy is so very often characteristic of you: timely, pragmatic, original. Your article shared here is yet more example of you passing your literal living experience right on in legacy to those of you who love learning with you.

    Steven and Michael - you’re both so on target: Classic Molly! Useful!

    Inspirational also in my case, Molly. Your timing is just perfect. This very day I need to solidify (or not) a plan to schedule to spend the last week of July in a part of West Texas I do love: Alpine and then Marfa for extra travel dessert.

    Alpine Tx for a writing retreat sponsored by the Texas Writers’ League, then Marfa to follow for a fabulous recharge with the many artists and musicians who will collect for an annual festival there starting that last weekend of July.

    Being that “writing” is actually my 4th medium of choice (vs. mike, video, preso, et al) all morning I’ve nibbled around the edges of talking myself out of the “creative investment” of actually registering for the 5-days of non-fiction writing support. In short, just making the trip, but not the real retreat. What that would look like: go and piddle around with a bit of writing reviewing, but mainly just fudge and enjoy Alpine and the natural wonders nearby, then hang-out in the eve with writers who are there on real writing retreat.

    So I’m asking: “What would Molly do?”

    • shaboom

      Wow, Sherry, I’m honored. Knowing you as the avid learned you are, I’m betting on the retreat. Assuming you do go, keep me (us) posted. It would be great to hear from you back on this thread. And have a wonderful time!

      • Sherry Lowry

        Nobody loves solo road trips through great country in my Miata more than I do - most particularly when all along the way I get to stop and visit with colleagues and other personal friends. So…the score is:

        Alpine and Marfa won!

        1 small blessing: the writing workshop facilitator let me know she really is focusing on people bringing finished manuscripts to then groom again for agents.

        So…I’m converting this to a W.Texas vacation for fun, taking my writing “stuff” as the travel companion.

        Here’s something super fun though: I’ve super-sharp friends here who are all REAL writers (in addition to their actual professions) and the Manager at The W Hotel likes our group-energy. So he’s offered us his “residential” meeting room if we’ll bring our writing aspirations down his way regularly the eve of our choice (mostly) starting in August.

        My “publication” is on Procrastination as Disguised Brilliance, and I’ll be circling back your way once i have a bit more finalized draft, Molly. It’s that manuscript that will head to W.Texas with me, plus I’ll be asking for this group’s support in forwarding.

        Interim, I’ll definitely be checking in on this column with you every week!

        I’ve another interesting path-crossing to also update you on related to Sean D’Souza, btw.

        Cheers! Be well!

        Another aside: Austin’s acting like Seattle and we LOVE our aquifers are again getting refilled after our 8 months of total drought in 2011.

  • Jennifer Manlowe

    I love the idea of thinking big (not acting like a big shot) as a way to reach beyond ourselves and our limited thinking. Too, if our vocational mission is too small, we’ll think we can do it all on our own and we all know success is not possible when we’re all we depend on to power up — re-charge our batteries — each day. I remember thinking, “How do entrepreneurs stay motivated day after day? I could never go ‘out there’ on my own. My moods are too fickle.” I’ve learned if I’m in business “for myself,” the money will never follow. If I’m a solo-preneur (castle on the hill) not an entrepreneur (bridge builder) with clients and other entrepreneurs, success will be temporary. Staying “plugged in” to what you call Source, for me, means being useful and “in service” of something larger that “just me.” When I do a great job supporting my clients to find and express THEIR voice in the world through writing and publishing, I am living from a very big mission, one that certainly includes me but is not all about me. The more I add social value to my would-be clients and entrepreneurial community, the more everybody wins. The more I do for others, even in the same industry, the more that good karma comes back to me. Together we entrepreneurs can survive the shipwreck of this economical debacle of the 21st century. Together we win, apart we all lose.

    • shaboom

      Hey Jen! I’m particularly intrigued by your observation: “If I’m a solo-preneur (castle on the hill) not an entrepreneur (bridge builder) with clients and other entrepreneurs, success will be temporary.” I’ve never heard it put that way before, and it is an excellent argument for treating individual practices as real businesses.

  • sethgodin

    Good stuff, Molly. Thanks for sharing it.

    • shaboom

      You are so welcome!

  • eric

    I love the insight that ego deflects support. If I’m not getting the kind of support I need, now I know where to look. Molly the mirror rides again.
    Love it.

    • shaboom

      Yup! Learned that one from personal experience as a recovering chronically insufficient person.

      • John R. Allen

        Now there’s a mistaken belief!

  • Lori Ann Clark

    Just back from a vacation, I agree that recharging makes it so much easier to play with and get excited about your big vision. I love the concept of creative overhead — the fun, playful, “let’s pretend” thinking and doing that allows you to imagine your ideas from a different angle and new ways. When I play around like that, I realize I don’t have to have the way to my vision figured out, I just need to keep moving forward and it will develop on its own path, which is much more fun and enjoyable for all involved.

  • janet goldstein

    “But a big vision doesn’t need a big ego. It needs courage and the humility to recognize your limits and accept inspiration, support, and encouragement from outside. A big ego deflects support. Courage and humility invite it.” -This really struck me too. Our vision need to be “big” enough, compelling enough, daring enough to keep us going and excited. But we need to balance that with what we *can* do-with the help and asking we truly need. NOTE: I think you need to writing about asking and getting help next. Thx, Molly. Great article.

  • gail gaspar

    Who are we to limit our vision, indeed.. Thanks, Molly, for your novel reframe on the importance of recharging as overhead.

  • jenlouden

    love love love this! just what I needed to read today and be reminded of vision + renewal + surrender. Wise as usual Ms. Gordon.

  • Hiro Boga

    Love this, Molly!

  • marketingtoolsguy

    Very nice lens, Molly. Thanks for sharing it.

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  • shaboom

    I appreciate that, coming as it does from the maven of balanced power.

  • shaboom

    I can’t wait to see where you go with this, Betsy. I’m imagining that your work with the neuroscience of success will suggest practical ways to turn creative overhead into what you call a positive addiction.

  • shaboom

    Thanks, Michael.