Success for a creative heroine can be tremendous. Not just in money, but in creative freedom. Look at the list of highest paid entertainers and entrepreneurs, they are all people who don’t fit any mold, but they are also people who used that fact to their benefit.
You can do it, too, in your own way, on your own time, reaching your own goals. Unmire yourself from the myths about creative people. Don’t be afraid to look at your strenghts and weaknesses. Face the fact that traditional business management, which is left brain, logical and linear (not to mention rigid, boring and counterproductive) doesn’t work for you. It isn’t much fun, and if it is not at least a little bit of fun, you are not going to do it. It is that simple. If it is not fast, fun, flexible and easy, you are less likely to embrace it. Be willing to work within a story system as long as it is one you create and one that works with you as well for you.
You Could Be Even More Heroic
Creative heroines can have an insatiable hunger to achieve, create, accomplish. They want to be recognized and heard, receive applause and take home awards. They desire change, to create a body of work, to earn, to make deals. Many people who don’t know what they want actually want too much, too fast.
The key to success is learning how to focus on what is most important. It is counterproductive to try to do too many things at once, nor is it good to focus on only one area of your life. One way to whittle it down (focus) and spread it around (balance) is to have an integrating great story about your life. With one top goal for every area of your life united by your one great story.
Take a good hard look at who you are and what you want from life. Sometimes having everything to be just okay, having an adequate job and a moderate life, is the biggest tragedy of all. Take the time now to find yourself, so you can live your life without getting lost and make good decisions that will lead you to the success and happiness you desire.
We are all born creative. What happens to us from kindergarten to college shapes how much of that creativity stays with us. Some, despite the best efforts of the school system and corporate system to stamp out the creative spirit, slip through the cracks, creativity intact. You are still not safe. Ninety eight percent of the people in the world are living the left brained life. Society tends to reward the left brain (structure, status quo) and reprimand the right brain (chaos, creativity, innovation).
You can stunt your creative spirit with disuse. You cannot lose a talent, but your skills can certainly atrophy. Yet almost any job can be done creatively. Creative careers are everywhere. Entrepreneurs must be creative to survive, managing people can be done creatively, marketing certainly involves a degree of creativity, even distribution can be a right brained affair. What makes any career interesting, exciting, and vital is the creative approach you take to it. Happiness in business comes from finding your greatest gifts and abilities and then developing and using them in the work you do.
The Right Brain
Creativity and creative careers involve a whole brain story, an interaction between the left hemisphere of your brain (the detail-oriented, accountant side) and the right hemisphere (the big picture, artistic side). The right brain comes up with the ideas and the left brain implements them. Too much right brain and nothing gets done; too much left brain and life is dull and uninspiring.
As a creative heroine, you are absolutely unique (and wonderful). There has never been anyone like you and there never will be again. Ponder that for a moment. Beneath all the self-doubt, guilt, fear, remorse and distorted beliefs is a gem of a person who, more than anything, deserves to be happy, successful and fulfilled. To have a career that is rewarding and challenging. A career that fits like a glove and is such a joy that you would do it for free – but is so valuable to others that you are paid well. And why not? You have found your place in the universe, you are making a contribution with your talent and creativity.
Once you understand yourself and what work you enjoy doing, you can work with your natural abilities and tendencies rather than against them. It makes life much easier. This is something that is unique to you. It is what will work best for you. So don’t breeze past the questions in this guide. Make the time to really give some thought to who you are, what you want to do, and what would be the best way to go about doing it. I have always said that to find yourself you need to get lost. you need time for reflection, away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life, to open yourself to new possibilities.
Do you honestly love what you do now? Are you excited to go to work on monday? Do you go home happy? If you answered no to any of these questions, there is a better way.
The following quiz gives you an indication of where your creative tendencies lie – left brain, right brain or whole brain. Answer honestly and quickly. Don’t dwell on the answers and do not try to figure out where we are looking for. There is no ‘right answer’.
- When it comes to emotions
a. I can articulate my feelings to others
b. I am better at expressing my emotions through my work
- I have always been told
a. I would make a great accountant
b. I was a natural born artist
- Success is
a. closely related to annual income
b. unrelated to the money I make
- When trying to explain how I came up with an idea a. I am able to put in into terms others can understand b. I feel like an alien from another planet.
- When I am working on a project a. I am not happy until it is done b. I enjoy the process
- It is a beautiful summer day, but I have work to do. I will a. get my work done first and then go to the beach b. go to the beach and deal with my work later
- When it comes to a big project, my strength is in seeing a. The worm’s eye view (details) b.The bird’s eye view (the big picture)
- When I have several unfinished projects going on at once, I feel a. frustrated b. stimulated
- When it comes to decorating my office a. I find an arrangement that works and stick with it b. I rearrange everything at least every six months
- Multitasking for me is a. doing two things at once b. doodling, talking on the phone, sending an email, searching for a file in a teetering pile of work on my desk, watching a movie, reading a book, and sorting through my mail on Linkedin at once.
- Before I speak a. I think it through and censor it in my head b. I say the first thing that pops into my head
- When it comes to problem solving a. I analyze things from a logical perspective b. I consult my ‘gut’ for an answer
- My car is a. practical and safe b. stylish and fun to drive
- I am best at remembering a. names b. faces
- Whenever there is a crisis in my life, a. I retreat into myself and try to solve it on my own b.
- In making decisions, a. I tend to focus on the actualities b. I tend to focus on the possibilities
- When someone asks about my vacation a. I give them names and places and brag about how much I saved on airfare (elapsed time, three minutes) b. describe in intricate detail how wonderful it felt to be away, and talk about all the things I saw, the wonderful people I met, and the fun I had (elapsed time, three hours)
- I am a natural born a. learner b. teacher
- If I had two yearlong projects to choose from, I’d pick a. an analysis of the company’s past and future profit centers b. working on the company’s marketing materials
- When I meet a prospective client or employer, a . I have a written list of questions to cover b. I talk off the top of my head, taking my cue from them
- I believe a. you can make things happen through sheer force of will b. there is a force in the universe that brings things together
- My idea of organization is a. making a list of all the things to be done and then prioritizing the tasks b. playing with my Post-it Notes, putting them on the wall in some sort of order
- I am ready to leave for work, and a. I know exactly where my car keys are b. I go on a search and destroy mission until the keys turn up (in the fridge)
- When I log on to the internet, I do it with a. a plan and a purpose; get in, get out b. a sort of stream of consciousness, pausing to look at whatever catches my fancy
- When researching a project a. I find as many books and articles as I can and read them from front to back b. I ask someone for tips on the best places to look and skim those
In the above quiz a. answers count zero, b. answers count 1. If your total is 8 or less you might read this guide for somebody else because you are a serious left brainer. A total of 9 to 15 indicates a fairly balanced whole brain approach to the world. You will go far if you can learn to loosen up a little. With a total over 15 you can consider yourself a right brainer with all the blessings and curses attached thereto.
Feeling “Left Out”? The Left Brain
Each side of the brain processes information, but the two side process it differently. You’re always using both sides of your brain; we use the term ŕight brainer’and ‘left brainer’ as a matter of convenience. It is a question of emphasis. The left brain is the timekeeper, the organizer, the linear thinker. Because of it, you are able to get things done – and done on time. Being resourceful and resilient and sticking with something until it is completed requires a lot of left brained thinking.
The left brain is logical, neat and orderly, a built in editor and critic. It is quite maddening really. But we need this serious, buttoned down side to take care of all the things the right brain simply does not deal with, among those things is time management. The left brain can be a little compulsive though. It will do the same thing the same way every time.
While the right brain can get you lost in the world, the left brain can get you lost in the details. Still your left brain is not your enemy. It will get you w here you want to go, and it will get you there without wasting time or energy. It is the goal setter, the action hero, the muscle man.
The Right Fit for the Right-Brainer: Creative Careers
Living in a left brained world is not easy when you operate in the creative way – that is the right brained way. It is easy to feel trapped by a mortgage, car payments, a retirement plan. But going against your own nature, your instincts and your talents turns out to be the worst possible way to live your life. You end up with ulcers, depression, deep – seated anger.
Finding the career path that matches what you enjoy doing and do well makes more sense. I say – make a run for it. Find out what makes you happy and fits as it should, showing off your assets.
A good fit – in a career as well as a pair of jeans – is different for different people. Some like them loose and baggy, some formfitting. It is a personal thing. All I know is, I would never send anybody else out to buy me my car, clothes, furniture. The same goes with your career. Only you know what will work for you.
For some creative heroines, networking is a dirty word. For others it is a never ending source of inspiration. There are plenty of examples of famous creatives who crave seclusion. No naysayers, no distractions, no naysayers, no phones, no needy people. NO NAYSAYERS.
Creative heroines do more than their job title requires – they can’t just help it. They want the education, experience and exhilaration of doing something different, so they don’t confirm to strict parameters. The creative career is no walk in the park, even for the most talented. Audiences are fickle, deals are tough to come by, and the pay is not always what it should be. You need to be clear about what you want, and you have to want it badly enough to work hard, but you can make it.
The Nearly Perfect Job
No creative job is perfect. The trick is to find a job with imperfections you can tolerate. You may be willing to work from nine to five for the opportunity to be involved in an exciting project. You may put up with a mountain of bureaucratic bull so you can work with people you respect and admire.
List the things you tolerate in your current job. Then beside each item, list the trade-off (the thing that makes you willing to put up with it).
Take a look at your list. Do future or possible benefits outnumber the here-and-now-benefits? Do the negatives outweigh the positives, or have you achieved a balance? At what cost?
Most of us make unconscious choices about what we can live with. Sometimes you make the wrong choices, and these are damaging to your spirit and your future. Go back to your list again and choose. Think about it. You will always have to tolerate things you don’t like in this life, but you don’t have to tolerate everything. Pick your battles – but don’t be afraid to fight when you need to.
Motivated to be Your Best
Nobody can motivate you. You must be self motivated to make it. In any career, you are the boss. If you don’t feel like working for weeks at a stretch, nobody will shoot you. But there is always a price.
The creative heroine works well in a relaxed environment. That could be a casual corporate structure, a close – knit small company, or off alone in a cubbyhole somewhere. Freedom, individuality and being able to be yourself are serious issues for you, wherever you choose to work.
You will find you have boundless energy when you are in a creative flow. It is amazing the number of hours you can spend, the attention to detail you can muster, and the ideas you can come up with when interested. Conversely, if you are not interested it is almost impossible for you to focus, and you feel as if someone unplugged you from your power supply. You want to create something, you may make less many, you may work longer hours, you may spend a lot of energy networking and following up on contacts – but it is all worth it to have a chance at life, at contributing something positive to the world you live in.
Creative heroines need constant input and stimulation. An environment with all kinds of interesting things. Don’t settle for a sterile office. You cannot work that way. There is a certain lifestyle that appeals to a right brainer, one that involves experimentation, swapping, multiple positions, passion, excitement and stimulation, variety, visual input, feeling and compassion, connection and expression. For the creative person there is real value in learning and growth as well as self-expression, freedom and flexibility in work.
Working with Left Brainers
Research shows that the creative person likes to work with other creative people. Yet many times you are forced to work with your exact opposite.
Maybe these left brainers are close minded and uptight, but they are also bright in their own way. You can find fault with the non creative person for not seeing the big picture, for refusing to trust your instincts, for playing it safe and avoiding risk as if it were the flu. But they see you in a different light than you see yourself. They see you as a freewheeling good time ….. who is out of control. A high maintenance pain in the ess. They see emotional, defensive, and overly sensitive. It is no wonder they come down on you so hard.
It may seem as though we live in different worlds, but everything actually works together quite well. We come up with the ideas and innovations, and they produce the products. We make art, and they make budgets and do cost analysis. We take an aesthetic approach and they approach with suspicion. We want to put soul into it and create something meaningful and the want to sell it to some guy they know and make meaningful money from marketing it.
If you work together, you can create magic. They can bring your ideas to life and find ways to market them to the masses. So what if they are motivated by the money and you are driven by the design? A balance between the two is not such a bad thing – usually. For you the work is its own reward, but you are not immune to the appeal of a little outside recognition. That comes from seeing things come to fruition – which often takes the help of your left brain friends. It can be quite motivating to be able to have a bigger budget, better equipment, and a ton of technical ‘toys’. This takes money, though. Lots of money. Money raised by your other half.
Both sides do best when they take advantage of their strengths. The world needs unorthodox people with slightly skewed perspectives to deal with the continuing challenges that nature throws at us. So if you are misunderstood, try communicating rather than caving in.
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