PLATEAU SPELLS DEATH FOR THE CREATIVE.
It's easy to get in a routine creatively. To have tasks that must get done, to approach booked jobs as merely a way to increase business revenue, to view work as a checklist that, when done, you can walk away from. And don't get me wrong, I'm all about taking time off to rejuvenate your mind and soul because I definitely believe that constant exertion will eventually lead to burnout and creative apathy. But today I want to address something I think can be even more deadly than overwork –
the lie that MERELY CREATING is enough.
Now you might be sitting there thinking, "Wait a minute, I thought you just told us to keep showing up and to force ourselves to create even when we don't feel like it!" Please hear me – I'm definitely not arguing that creation in and of itself is a bad thing. Creating when we don't feel like it is a great way to inspire future growth and help pull ourselves out of a creative block – and that kind of creation is amazing!
But here's the thing. When it's your job to create on a consistent basis, it's incredibly easy to fool yourself into believing that all the effort you're putting into maintaining your creative process is enough, even if all you're doing is plodding along creating content but not actually growing. More simply put...
...HABITUALLY CREATING CAN DULL OUR SENSES TO THE FACT THAT WE'RE NO LONGER INNOVATING.
I'm a firm believer that creative growth is intrinsically tied to creative innovation. It's not enough to keep pushing out the same content, day after day – you must always be looking for ways to offer exciting, new products/services.
Case in point – I'm currently in the process of renovating my website. About every 6 months I start getting bored of where things are at and decide to do a full facelift (typography/design/layout/etc). Now, here's the question – am I renovating my website because clients have stopped booking me? Definitely not. In fact, I've never been busier. But I know that when the pressure of schedule sets in, it's easy to succumb to the temptation to merely fulfill the contracts I have with my clients and to stop seeking new and fresh ways to grow creatively and evolve my business.
WHAT ABOUT YOU??
If you're struggling to figure out where exactly to innovate, let me ask a few questions that will hopefully get you thinking –
When was the last time you updated your website? If a potential client went to your webpage 3 months ago and then checked back today, would there be enough new content to keep him or her engaged with your work?
What about social media? You don't have to be active on every platform but are you active on the platform(s) you've committed to? Are you posting on a consistent basis and are your posts diverse enough to keep readers interested?
Are you offering the same services today that you were a year ago? If so, what you could start offering or what you might be able to finesse to create a new, exciting take on an existing product?
How is your customer experience? Have you been creating better and more convenient ways for your clients to interact with you and your products/services?
And what about your marketing aesthetic? In our fast-paced world it's not enough to keep using the same photos or the same website content month after month – have you been tweaking things to keep your aesthetic constantly evolving?
If you're struggling with one (or all) of these questions, please know I'm here to help! I offer one-on-one mentoring sessions dealing with these very issues...if you're feeling stuck and would like some personal help, feel very free to let me know!
Regardless of where you're at on this spectrum, though, my challenge to you today is to stay fresh. Step away from your standard workflow and pursue something creative...just for the fun of it. Dream up some new idea and then implement it in your business. Continually look for ways to change what you're doing so that your clients are always expecting fresh, exciting things from you.
DON'T BE CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO – ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD...AND NEVER STOP INNOVATING.
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