By Susan Hatten | Senior manager, corporate community engagement, Holmes Murphy 

The book currently taking space on my nightstand is the 2018 release by Elizabeth Gilbert, "Big Magic." Not only was I curious to read Liz’s quippings outside of her best-seller "Eat, Pray, Love," but this title was intriguing to me and seemed to find me just at the right time.

"Big Magic" is all about living a life of creativity and expression, beyond the elements of fear.

Children are inherently creative; this is how they chart on a path to learn and grow in their formative years. At what point do we begin to lose that fearless childhood creativity, where we once approached tasks with colorful rhetoric, unbridled passion and without fear of making a mistake?

One of our Holmes Murphy Aspirations — or hope-filled goals — is to lead by "Courageous Influence." What does Courageous Influence mean? It means that Holmes Murphy has adopted a culture in which innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and thought-leadership are welcome. It has occurred to me now more than ever just how valuable this aspiration is to the growth, overall health and business vitality of any organization.

I have been fortunate in my career to have been offered various opportunities to allow my creative spirit to shine through, of which I am entirely grateful. This being said, candidly, I recall many times over the course of my career and civic service in which I placed my creative thoughts, ideas and napkin sketches in a box — never to be shared for fear of failure, fear of rejection or simply fear of being a nonconformist.

The concept of "Big Magic" and the allowance of freedom in Courageous Influence hit me again as I wandered through the supermarket a few weeks ago.

During my sophomore year of undergraduate studies, I was asked to create a product-pivot for a consumer product already in-market. I developed a concept of the infusion between the confectionery (candy bar) market, with the hot beverage (cocoa/tea) market. A York Peppermint Pattie Hot Cocoa line. I drafted the go-to market strategy, built a retail platform, recommended SKUs and merchandising concepts, and was so proud of illustrating the label for this revolutionary cocoa, with my coveted colored pencil collection. While I received an A on that project and presentation, I placed the business model and product concept in a box, never to be shared again.

Guess what was on sale for $3.89 in aisle seven as I shopped the supermarket a few weeks ago? A York Peppermint Pattie Hershey’s Hot Cocoa mix. Seventeen years later, and someone is making millions off this idea.

My point? Don’t let fear or failure paralyze your creative inspiration, thoughts or ideas. Lean in to your creative spirit. Have the courage to live a creatively influenced life and live it boldly.

Susan Hatten is s
enior manager of corporate and community engagement at Holmes Murphy. She dedicates much time to community involvement through fundraising and volunteering for several organizations. She is a founding member of the Junto Networking group, is president of the Variety - The Children's Charity board of directors, and is active in Lead Like A Lady, Million Women Mentors, United Way of Central Iowa Tocqueville Society, Women Optimizing Women (WOW) and Global Insurance Accelerator (Mentor). She also is an incoming member of theChildServe board of trustees. Hatten was named the 2017 Meredith Corp. Emerging Business Woman of the Year and a member of the 2011 Forty Under 40 class by the Business Record, dmJuice Young Professional of the Year, Variety's International Ambassador in 2012 and the Downtown Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year in 2012, among others. Hatten is a graduate of Iowa State University. Contact her via email.