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Guest Blogger
Daniela Cubelic, Owner + CEO, Silk Road Tea
Daniela Cubelic is the founder, owner and CEO of Silk Road Tea, headquartered in Victoria’s Chinatown. She opened the business in 1992 at the age of 22, and has grown the company into a multi-faceted enterprise. Daniela is a leading authority on tea and tea culture, and an accomplished Tea Master, who was trained by Chinese and Taiwanese herbalists and tea masters. Hailed as “Canada’s Queen of Tea” (Globe & Mail), and “Canada’s Tea Master” (Vancouver Sun), Daniela’s love for tea and tea culture is steeped in her veins, and while she is trained in tea’s most ancient traditions, she is equally likely to be found forging new frontiers in tea from tea cocktails, to designing an award-winning teacup and most recently - the launch of a revolutionary new, chemical-free teabag which also offers superior anti-oxidant release, and is a first for North America.
Creativity is a Lifestyle
Daniela Cubelic was a guest speaker at the inaugural offering of The Innovator's Mind, an innovative seminar presented by Berlineaton.  Daniela's presentation focussed on how mindfulness and creativity factor into her ability to keep innovating around the theme of tea for over 20 years.

The Innovator's Mind gives Berlineaton clients the opportunity to explore innovation through the minds of diverse innovators, and to create a convergence and cross-pollination of ideas that sparks more innovation in their own workplaces.

The evocative and elegant way that steam rises from my teacup always causes me to pause to appreciate it, and in so doing I’m momentarily transported away from the stresses of the day.  There is alchemy in the ritual of preparing and then consuming a cup of tea, from the sound of the kettle as it begins to boil, to the first sip of your favourite brew.  If you pause to savour it, the experience can act as an opportunity to transcend the stresses of the day.

What I’ve learned first-hand in the course of over 20 years as a CEO, entrepreneur and active volunteer in the community, is that tea can become a much needed moment of meditation in a hectic life.  I partake in it daily, but what differentiates me from most other tea drinkers is that I pause a bit more to enjoy every step of the tea brewing and drinking experience.  It takes very little added time, but I emerge feeling incredibly refreshed and rejuvenated.

“Creativity is subtraction” is a favourite quote of mine from the artist and writer Austin Kleon.  He beautifully expresses how less is more. Breakthroughs in many fields often come from insights that are deceptively simple, yet were invisible to most. Technology has made our lives simultaneously more convenient yet more demanding. We exist in a constant state of reaction and information overload.  This negatively impacts our overall health and stress management, but there is another often overlooked cost to bear.  Our ability to be truly present is impaired, and this hinders our capacity for deeper thinking and creativity. This is a loss to us personally as well as to our organizations because leaders need vision and insightful ideas to move their organizations forward. The deceptively simple ritual of drinking tea is how I stay present and counteract the chaos of the day.

The ability to innovate on a long term basis is increasingly challenging the longer you are in a role, because you need to be able to see with fresh eyes in order to find new approaches. Yet as we become entrenched in jobs and roles, our lives narrow.  Inspiration often comes from unexpected sources that cause us to see an old problem with a fresh perspective.  For that reason, I read novels and poetry (not just business books, although I enjoy those too).  I also love foreign films, art galleries, museums, the symphony, live theater and concerts because I recognize that exposure to great arts and culture stimulates, inspires and opens my eyes to new worlds.

I attribute much of my sustained ability to innovate to the combined effects of regular doses of arts and culture, along with daily cups of tea that enable me to function at a peak level. I encourage you to do the same.  I hope you’ll linger over your next cup of tea, and use it as an opportunity to step back, be present, create a moment of subtraction, and return to your day and your work with fresh eyes, and renewed vitality.

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