November 9, 2020
To My Fellow VPPA Members,
We have all been through nine months that have been, possibly, some of the most challenging we will ever see. Whether it was fear of the unknown, personal illness, or watching our client base dwindle; these have been difficult times. There is much hope as we approach January 2021; the year we will all get back to work, begin traveling, and to enjoy the much-needed respite in the fellowship of each other. You know, something close to normal.
Let us talk about a fresh approach to our work. Talking about the same thing over and over loses everyone’s attention. Creatives, like us, are one of the hardest groups to consistently manage. Many times, we have great ideas, but our productivity seems to be lost or we are productive, and our ideas get stagnant. Balance is key to success and self-fulfillment.
People who hire us may think that if they have a clear vision, they hired the right artist, magically the job is complete. The actual mechanics of creative work is more complex than the neat, plausible cliches you hear. There is extraordinarily little black and white, or even shades of gray in our work. Challenges to creatives appear in shades of brown – a blending of multiple colors to the point that it is difficult to discern what the original colors were. Creative work is figured out as you go, and the most sought-after artists are those who can shape the chaos into form, meaning, and value. There are no “easy steps” or “magic principles”.
Highly creative people require stability and clarity to do their best work. Clarity to know what is expected of them and stability to know they are protected when they take risks. We are challenged to try new things and continue to grow, or we become bored and less effective as an artist. Never take on more challenges than you have processes in place to accomplish those challenges. High challenges and low stability are a recipe for burnout.
Talented people need different levels of challenge and stability. Ask yourself a few questions. What processes do you have in place to provide the stability and challenges you need to do your work? Is your work becoming stagnant? Are you doing things that challenge you to continue to grow? Is the environment you have created in your workspace consistent with your values?
If you have become bored and lack interest you may be stuck where you are productive but do not feel challenged. The stability and challenge matrix works in many areas of your life. Ask yourself, is my boredom coming from a lack of stability or a lack of challenge and how might I be able to remedy that to make sure I am doing my best work on a consistent basis.
Step out of your comfort zone, do not get bogged down in processes.
Analyzing Stability and Challenges is a great tool for you to figure out what it is that you are not getting. Maybe you are not getting clarity of expectations. Maybe expectations are not clearly defined.
I know for me, my membership and affiliation with PPA and VPPA have helped me align myself with like-minded professionals and I am creatively pushed by my peers to overcome my fear and step out beyond my comfort zone. And you know what, I know I am better of taking those first steps.
I challenge everyone to do a little self-evaluation as we close the year, are you living up to your potential? Do you need a little help or encouragement. That is what VPPA is here for, reach out, we are here for you...