In my last blog I talked about the one question creatives should ask themselves – and if you didn’t read it, then here is the link.
I suggested that we should all ask ourselves want we want to be known for in five years’ time. This key question can help us get clear on the bigger purpose behind our work. It’s too easy to chase multiple ideas, but by asking the ‘big purpose’ question, we have more chance of pointing our career in the right direction to fulfil our hearts and souls.
In your responses, many of you resonated with the idea, but still felt frustrated by the need to take money projects to bring in the cash. Those ‘bread and butter’ jobs can feel uninspiring and weigh us down.
So today I’m going to talk to that issue. How do you stay motivated and inspired when you’re doing jobs that, quite frankly, bore you senseless? We’ve all been there.
I want to give you a fresh perspective as I actually think this is the ticket to living a more creative life.
First, let me share a quick story about a coaching session with one of my clients. I’ll call him Andrew.
During our work together, Andrew built up a dynamic creative company, which he sold to a major company for a small fortune. For a while he was ecstatic about his success, but as part of the deal, he had to work as an employee before he could get the full payout.
So he went from running his own company to having to take orders from a manager he didn’t respect and doing a job he had no real passion for. He felt creatively stifled and came to our session feeling as though the life force had been sucked out of him.
He wanted to know if I could teach him how to develop resilience to deal with this situation.
As I observed his pale, drained complexion, it struck me that it wasn’t resilience he needed, but inspiration.
Here was a man inspired, driven and excited by life a year ago. He had a major success under his belt, yet his lust for life was gone.
It struck me that he had simply lost connection with his bigger purpose. His energy and focus was stuck on the humdrum of an everyday job.
The question was, how could he make his everyday life more meaningful?
I asked Andrew two questions that you could easily ask yourself.
• What is a bigger vision or project that you can work towards in your career that would really inspire you?
• And how can you use your current situation to help you move towards this vision?
Andrew realised that part of his frustration was the fact that the big company he works for is focused on profit rather than artistic talent. His own motivation and inspiration is based on finding talent and developing it. A project that excited him was to set up a new agency for up-and-coming talent.
He also realised that he could use his current role as an opportunity to build up contacts with artists and managers within the company. He could also find out more about how the industry works. Once he leaves the company, he will not have such easy access to these key people.
So, from a conversation about feeling frustrated, we spotted a business opportunity. He left the session on a mission – and his ‘boring’ job became exciting and meaningful again.
Same job, different perspective.
So back to you, dear reader!
Does my client’s situation apply to you?
I’ve seen many creatives who end up complaining about their less-than-ideal work. This negativity can sap their confidence and energy.
I’ve also known creatives to walk out of jobs without a plan as they feel that ‘if only I had more time I would do my art, my album or find my dream job’. But once they are left on their own, they start to decline and lose confidence.
We all go through phases like this and being a creative person can feel very challenging, which is why I think the real work is to learn how to channel our frustrations towards goals that inspire us. We also need to learn how to make the most of all the circumstances we find ourselves in so that we feel we are on a pathway.
Instead of running away, complaining or feeling stuck, start to shift towards questions that add more meaning.
• Perhaps you can be in your current role as a learning experience for how not to run a company. You could ask yourself what you would do better.
• Perhaps you could interview people who have a role that you would love?
By shifting your perspective towards where you ultimately want to go, you can get back the motivational juice to start enjoying your work again.
When we bring our own inspiration into the everyday, when we search for and find meaning, then we start to find that our creativity flows more easily and we are suddenly open to more opportunities in life.
I would think hard about what you are passionate about, what you enjoy doing and what projects you would love to start – then bring this energy into your everyday life.
OK, that’s all from me.
What are you taking away?