What Type of Creative Are You?
When you look up the adjective, creative, in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, there are a few meanings. The first definition is about the general ability to create. For example, one is creative because they have the power to create something else. In that sense, all humans are creative. Another meaning for creative is about thinking outside the box and figuring a way around “conventional limits.” There are many ways to think about creativity and how it applies. The word is very subjective. I think of myself as creative as do many people in the arts, in business, in law, in medicine – in ALL types of careers. Unfortunately for me, I was seduced just by the word creative. I didn't put enough thought into the different applications and the exact type of creativity that I liked best. I now know that to define your creativity and more importantly what type of creative you enjoy is key to succeed in and love your career.
How The Word Creative Led Me Astray - OR -
Winding up In Tears And Tissues on the Boss’s Couch:
I had a problem when I graduated from college. People always told me I was creative because I excelled at things like painting, ceramics, acting, singing; you know, the hands-on, full-body Arts. When I got out of college and thought about my strengths, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “creative”. That’s as far as I got. Not very far at all but typical for a 23 year old. I should have examined myself more. Do I like to use my hands to build and make things? Am I creative verbally, orally or visually? Do I like to figure out puzzles or problem solve? Am I creative in my communication style? Am I creative at being persuasive? And most importantly, WHAT TYPE OF CREATIVE DO I MOST ENJOY?
I messed up when I took the first job I could find that seemed “creative.” I was hired to work in a big, flashy advertising firm in Chicago. “You’ll like it here”, people said, “it’s such a creative environment!” It was fun - you could play ping-pong in the hall- way and drink beer in the office. It was uh-mazing until I got bored. I wasn’t creating anything with my hands except for power point presentations. So I got a job working for a radio station. "Fun, creative people must work there!!" I thought. In my interview the boss asked for someone creative to come up with ideas for fun radio promotions and events. She said sales people were creative – they had to think outside the box. They had to come up with unique, creative strategies to get the sales. Again, I heard that word creative and I thought I’d be great at it. And I was for a while…
But it turned out that I was doing the wrong type of creative for 6 years. By the end I was so fed up that I actually told my boss (whom I had a good relationship with, thank god), that I dreaded coming into work every day and that actually, I HATED it. (we creative types, tend to be a bit dramatic).
Lucky for me, I didn’t get booted out the door that instant. I did get a wake up call. A teary eyed realization that I had to figure out and follow my true, in-born creativity.
After The Tears
Well this was actually the easy part. What I did to figure out my true creativity was to make a list of all the things I had accomplished in my life that I felt most proud of and then rated them on how much I enjoyed doing the task. It turned out for me, the tasks I liked were: Painting a decorative rocking chair, painting and selling at an art show, making a DIY headboard for my bed, designing hand-made Christmas cards, designing t-shirts for our homecoming parade in college. I realized that although I had strengths in many different creative capacities, what I enjoyed doing most, was making things with my hands.
The End Of Frustration and Doing What I Most Enjoy
Finally I am a full-time artist. Primarily making things with my hands every day. Of course I have to sell, promote and be creative in many other ways. But the crux of my new career, relies most on what I know and like best – working with my hands. To anyone “creative" who is listening out there (I know the number is small…right now), please take the time to define exactly what type of creativity suits you best. Do it now and then follow your true creativity. You’ll be SO much happier!
Here are some links that might help you on your creative journey:
1. This copyblogger article came up in Google when was researching for this article! How perfect:
PS – Sign up NOW to Copyblogger if you want to improve your blog. Obviously I have a ways to go but you should have seen my blog last week.
2. I just found out that Monster.com has a visual arts job-hunting site. How cool!