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3 Reasons Why Creatives Struggle in their Careers

Updated: Feb 25

In my own journey as a creative entrepreneur as well as in my coaching, I’ve noticed 3 recurring issues that come up for creatives in a career context


Lack of Alignment

In order to be successful in a creative career, you must align your talent, your skillset, and a market opportunity. Your talent is your innate ability to see things in a unique way. It is what drives you to express yourself and it defines your purpose in life. Your skillset is the technical knowledge you've acquired that allows you to competently express yourself in different mediums. A market opportunity is what allows you to earn a living at what you do.


Fortunately, as creatives, we have the ability to create new markets for our ideas. But before you can successfully do that, you need to get clear on what your talent and purpose is. Much of my coaching goes into helping clients better understand their unique talents and then assessing what skills they have or may need to acquire in order to successfully align their talent with a market opportunity.


Failure to Integrate Emotions

Creatives tend to feel like outsiders. This can be an advantage when it gives us a unique perspective on the world and fuels our creative passion. However it can become a disadvantage when one needs to collaborate with others, which most paid work requires you to do.


Many creatives need coaching on how to integrate feelings of separateness into their work rather than acting them out in ways that can be counterproductive and cost them opportunities. This involves taking responsibility for who we’re being in our relationships, defining what we want for ourselves and then coming up with new strategies for how we interact with others. In the end, we cannot control other people but by defining healthy boundaries we can become much more effective in how we work and deal with others.


Over-attachment to Outcomes

The beauty of a creative career is the opportunity to be self-expressed through our work. When our talents and skills are in alignment, we have the opportunity to enter a flow state of full absorption in the act of creating.


Once created however, our work is often evaluated in terms of a commercial outcome. While this doesn't necessarily reflect on its validity or quality, it is common for creators to become overly attached to what are mostly subjective results (client feedback, income, titles, awards etc. ) While it is inevitable that we become somewhat invested in the impact of our work, over attachment can lead to debilitating creative blocks that threaten our livelihood. Coaching in this area focuses on shifting the perspective back to the creative process which is the source of our ultimate satisfaction. When we are able to stay grounded in that, things tend to unfold in positive ways career-wise.



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