The difference between successful creatives and unsuccessful creatives comes down to this: a healthy support system. It is wonderful, intoxicating and addicting to find people who believe in you and want to see you do well. It is the antidote for your inner critic. Sometimes you can’t see how special your work and your talents are, and you need people to support and assist you. You need the feedback.
Look for a like-minded group of people in the same boat you’re in. Talking to others facing the same challenges can be stimulating. Use their experience for your own benefit.
When someone believes in you, he or she can push you beyond what you think is possible. Creative professionals help each other. There is an energy produced by creatives that you can tap into without taking anything away from anyone. Try to be around as many positive, creative people as possible, no matter what their field. You’ll feel energized. Hanging with others in your own field can be helpful, too. You may get their overflow business, learn new techniques, find others to take some of your overflow or share responsibilities on a big job.
Start with a good soil. You must start out on the right footing and make a strong first impression with the story you tell about yourself and your company.
All plants need some sunlight to grow. You have to get out and meet and mingle if you expect to get ahead. Tell your story. Introduce yourself. Talk to people. And don’t forget to listen.
Not all seeds will take, so plant more than you need. Some will bloom beautifully, others will wither and die. Meet as many people as you can and tell everyone what you’re doing, what you need.
Diversify your crops. This means networking outside your company, industry, or art form. Sometimes these connections can prove extremely valuable, and broadening your scope creatively is always valuable.
Rotate your crops. Contact every member of your network at least once a year.
Not all plants will take right away. You have to be patient when networking, even if it seems a waste of time One day when you least expect it, you will reap the fruits of your labor.
Most plants need lots of care, fertilizing and watering. Don’t wait for people to do something for you. Do something for them first. And always follow through on your promises.
Plants like to be touched. Talk to people face to face, invite them to come and see your latest project. Don’t rely entirely on email and phones – they are too impersonal for a real connection.
Don’t try to harvest too soon. Don’t push. If you have nurtured your network properly – paid attention to other people, helped them when you could, and passed along their needs for others, while making it clear what you need and what your goals are – people will be glad to help you, and they’ll find ways to do it that you never thought of. Give synergy a chance.
Don’t let your harvest ro on the vine. When you do get help, or a referral, or an introduction, take advantage of it right then. Don’t waste somebody else’s effort.
Plants need both sun and shade. Some people want credit, while others prefer to remain behind the scenes. Be sensitive to the needs of others. But remember, too, that every plant needs sun sometimes, and those who say they don’t want or need credit will still be pleased if you acknowledge their help in a personal way.
Focus on cash crops. This doesn’t mean you should only be friends with those who can help you, dumping the others, because you never know who might help you. It means periodically weeding out the dead weight. It means spending more of your time with the most effective part of your network.
Create Your Own Legend Outline
- What’s Right About Being Right-Brained?
- You Are The Storyteller of Your Own Life
- What is Your Quest?
- It’s Not Just a Job, It’s a Heroine’s Journey
- Selling Your Story
- Self Made
- Your Travel Companions
- Be Your Own Boss
- Right Brainers in Business
- The Lean Years
- Business Plans
- Help! I Need Somebody
- The Cheering Section
- Tell Your Story
- The Seven (Bad) Stories of Highly Ineffective Heroines
- The Power of Your Story
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project, a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences