Have you ever struggled in your creative business and wondered what you might be doing wrong? Questions like; why can’t I get more clients? Why doesn’t anyone appreciate my talent? Why are other people more successful than me? What am I doing wrong? The list goes on and on. I am the first to admit that these are questions I used to ask myself (and sometimes still do). It wasn’t until a colleague gave me a piece of advice that things started to change for me.
Now, life can be a struggle. Especially when you are a freelance creative. Most of us didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to get our creativity out into the world. In truth, we all probably thought that our stuff was so good that everyone will be hammering on our doors, clambering to get a piece of the action! We’re awesome after all! The next day, we think we are useless and wonder why anyone would want to hire us! I am very familiar with this roller-coaster ride. Part of being creative is that we are usually more sensitive to criticism than most although an important part of business is putting our vulnerabilities out there for everyone to see. Aghhh!
Part of succeeding as a human being (never mind as a creative entrepreneur) is to surround yourself with people who have the same drive and determination as yourself. It has been proven that who you associate with has a huge bearing on your life. Whether personally or professionally. Recently, one of my colleagues recommended the book “The go giver”, by Bob Bourg. The general premise is that the main character, Joe, finds that changing his focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns. It is not a true story, more of a fable, but it really helped change my perception with regard to how I interact with others.
I started to realize that I was more of a taker than a giver. I was always trying to find an angle that worked out better for me. How could I get business from people, how could I gain leverage from my contacts to become more successful, what can others do for me? It was me, me, me. Of course, I thought that my service would be of value to them. I just always saw my interactions based on my perspective. Changing that perspective has been life altering to say the least.
Something about the book changed me, deep down, in a remarkable way. Obviously, as I write this, I see how self-centered and obsessed with my success I was. It actually makes me cringe. But life is a learning experience and it is now, with a certain clarity, I can look back and see I was wrong. Really wrong. Opening up your world and asking what I can do for others, rather than what can I do for me is a game changer. It has changed my whole outlook on life from personal to business. I rarely think about how situations are going to improve my life. It is now – how can I improve others. And it’s not fake. I truly have changed as a person.
So, I urge that you give it a try. I’m not saying that you should bend over backwards and give people whatever they want at your expense. I just think the step change from wearing “me centered” glasses (all dark and sinister) to “them centered” glasses that are all rose tinted and framed in gold may make a difference in your life too. What do you have to lose? Making the world a better place would be such a travesty!
Craig Williams is a British Voice Over Actor based in Houston, Texas.