My experience working with creatives (and in this post creatives is a term that I would use collectively to describe actors, directors, designers, painters, musicians, etc.,) has shown me that they are generally quiet people. Inherently introverted (or they mask their introversion through displays of over the top false extroversion), creatives will often let their actions speak. Rarely will you see them be gregarious or rambunctious.
Creatives are often insecure or hold incredible amounts of self-doubt, when, almost without exception, the reality is that their talents are, as Steve Jobs of Apple once stated, insanely great. They will consistently underplay their skills and abilities to the point where they themselves are sometimes too unsure of how much to unleash. Creatives need nurturing but firm direction. They also need to be motivated, coached. Not motivated in the sense of how a personal trainer might push them to do that extra push-up or lift that extra weight, but more so in terms of their own personal drive. They must have a reason to do, to be, to create.
Here in lies the kicker. Creatives are not necessarily consistent. They will often go for great lengths of time without creating and then one day their will be a like a possessed soul streaming creativity from their minds and bodies like the rush of a tropical rainforest river in flood. Their ideas and consciousness will gush. It is at these times when their motivation is all encompassing. Their bodies display incredible stamina. they will go for hours on end, sometime without sleep or food, totally focused on the end game of creation. This manic behaviour sometimes manifests itself in creatives being more susceptible to mental health issues. Their minds are so often running at break neck speed (particularly in the creative phases) that a sense of reality is often lost and uncertainty can creep back into their thinking. It is an unfortunate vicious circle. David Trig in his article, The Best (and Worst) Part of Being a Creative, sums up the above proposition beautifully.
On the face of it, in our ordered world, this model does not fit our standard business/life practices. The business world thrives on consistency, regularity and predictability, realism. I mean honestly, could you imagine an accountant trying to operate in a world where balance sheets never balanced or where profits were eventually realised?! That is hell personified for any self respecting number cruncher!
This business model has existed for centuries. Why? Because it is knowledge based. A knowledge based in reality. We make a widget. We sell a widget. We get money from the sale of the widget. Rinse and Repeat. We know how to do this. What happens though, when our widget is no longer tactile, no longer commoditised. How do we operate in this paradigm. The Internet, for better or worse, has changed the game so that it is no more about knowledge. You can get knowledge from Google is a nanosecond. How then do we operate? How do we sell ethereal? A good friend of mine (who is also an excellent educator and creative in her own right) recently provided a way forward in a reply to one of my previous posts. Her advice was simple. We need to focus on the experience , the process, the sharing and collaboration. So what? So what has all this got to do with creatives? Well, this is where creatives shine. Creatives are all about the experience, the process, the collaboration! Just imagine a musical theatre production or an art exhibition without collaboration!
For the business minded person, the realist, the creative process is the frustration that interrupts their process but for the creative, the frustration is the process. This is what quite often keeps the two camps apart. For a creative, from great frustration comes great creation but for a realist this is not consistent. Like so many things, it is all about balance, the ability to moderate, to collaborate…
Creatives are not consistent but business is. Businesses cannot grow without creativity. When examined holistically, the two paradigms are their own Yin and Yang. As any good accountant will tell you, its all about making things balance …