As creative people, we’re forced to live surrounded by reminders as our focus and our work are easily clouded by tasks. But at the same time, a good solid reminder never hurt anyone. Actually, reminders keep us from missing opportunities that could be vital to our success.
Unfortunately, it’s our own success that forces us to need these reminders most of the time. Success can hurt us worse than failure ever could. There are, however, a few reminders that are important for us to remember if we want to succeed not just in our work, but in our lives:
- Stay attentive – Be aware. The best creative people are paying attention. They never allow themselves to become self-consumed. They pay attention to the entire world around them – which allows them to notice things. Being attentive is not hard to do, but it will separate us from the rest of the pack. When we are attentive, we notice what others don’t and have the ability to use that knowledge, those ideas, and those concepts when the time is right.
- Remember people are not commodities – People matter. Always. Never take them for granted and never think that someone does not matter. If we continually use people and do not appreciate them, we will wake up one day and be alone. When we don’t respect the people around us and move on to the next “valuable person”, we’ll leave nothing but a trail of broken bridges keeping us from being able to travel between relationships. Respect people. Value them. Never take them for granted…ever.
- Use social media for good – Don’t just try to make yourself look good. Name dropping, show boating, self-retweeting – these all create impressions. Don’t tweet something you would never say. People are paying attention.
- Don’t believe the hype – Hype is dangerous. When we believe hype, we don’t dig for facts and truth. Hype puts us in a position where we’re unable to make our best decisions. The easiest way to avoid hype is to ask questions…and lots of them. We can’t allow ourselves to believe the hype, no matter how flattering or seducing it becomes.
- Don’t believe your own hype – You are good at what you do. Believe that – just don’t believe the hype. There is always more we can learn, more we can do, more we can accomplish. There is always room to grow, get better, get more efficient and develop. When we believe our own hype, we start to become arrogant and lose the ability to serve others. We feel we are entitled and that’s never a great posture for creation, leadership, or inter-personal relationships. We can easily combat our own hype by having people around us who will stop us in our tracks. Without people who love us – for who we are, not what we do – we allow ourselves to get into really dangerous territory.
- Be willing to have hard conversations – We can’t be better without hard conversations and honesty. People hate conflict but, more often than not, conflict creates the friction necessary to get to the BEST stuff. A few minutes of discomfort in a conversation can create the trust that allows us to grow and win!
- Do unto others – Pretty simple: treat people how you want to be treated. Walk a mile in their shoes before you react. It will change everything.
- Champion Others – Want to succeed in life? Champion others before you promote yourself. You will learn a ton, you will become far more effective, and your creativity will soar. We never go wrong when we help the people around us achieve their dreams. Further, it is a great feeling knowing you get to help be part of something BIGGER than yourself.
- Humble is always better – Proverbs will be all you need. Read it, then apply it. When we stay humble, we put ourselves in the best position to win at whatever we’re attempting. The best way to stay humble is to ACTIVELY SERVE PEOPLE. The more we serve, the less we make life about ourselves.
- Be confident, but coachable – You are allowed to be confident. In fact, we need you to be confident. But never stop allowing yourself to learn. Staying coachable is important because it proves we don’t believe we have it all figured out. Being coachable gives us the opportunity to add new tools to our toolboxes.
- Work hard – Be early. Be efficient. Care about what you do. If your name is on it, it should be as good as possible. Don’t make excuses. Come with intensity, intentionality, and be willing to do what it takes to succeed.
- Never Quit – Quitting is easy. Staying, showing up and being willing to keep getting up and coming back – this is the recipe for success.
- Pray for Wisdom – The bible tells us if we pray for it we get it. It’s that simple. In a world desperate for answers, praying for wisdom can be the best thing our creative class can do each day.