It is a regular conversation for me at market with women who are feeling frustrated with their daily lives about how envious they are of me with my creative life.
Meanwhile I look at them with some level of envy for the steady income they have been able to build their lives around.
It’s all a matter of perspective!
But the truth is I’m very thankful that I was able to take a risk in 2001 and strike out on my own and have been able to make a go of it. The thing is, it isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. I grew up believing I’d have my own business one day. That I have two businesses is something that’s quite normal for us self-employed types.
The good news is that no matter what work you’re doing you can bring into your daily life more of what gives you joy without taking any huge risks, especially if you want a creative life.
If you’re in administration then those skills are transferrable to most any industry, I can’t think of an industry that doesn’t need administrators.
So you’ve found yourself in banking and finance for the last 15 years as an administrator and finding that isn’t enough? Then don’t worry, you can change things up and have more personal satisfaction with what you’re doing with your work life and all without the risks and challenges of having your own business.
For many of us the prospect of doing work in an environment we don’t like for years and years is deadening, but what if you could transition to something more interesting over six to 12 months? Wouldn’t that be good to explore, to enhance existing skills and develop new ones?
5 Ways to Bring More Creativity into Your Work Life
So here are 5 ways to make that happen, to bring more creativity and satisfaction into your work life:
1. Do a stocktake of your skills, as big and as little as you think they are. Look at the skills in terms of what they are, not what industry they specifically relate to. This is a great way to get an idea of what you can do. If you’ve been working for 5 – 20 years then your skills list will probably go on for pages.
2. Against this list rate each activity and skill from 1 to 10 with 1 being what you least like doing and 10 being most enjoyable. This number range will be quite telling for you because if the majority are under 5 then it’s a great sign you need to change those sorts of activities so there are more over 7.
3. From here you might be able to start seeing where you need more training or skills development so you can do more of those tasks you enjoy. Can you do these courses through your current employer or do you need to look at external adult education – maybe an evening course or something at TAFE or university? Start with the low hanging fruit and get some successes under your belt.
4. Look with interested eyes at the jobs ads, whether they are with your existing firm or with another organisation and compare your current skills with what they require. If there is an exact match look to something else, each job needs to take you out of your comfort zone to a certain degree, you need to grow with each thing you do otherwise it all gets too boring. By seeing what else is out there you can start investigating organisations and options.
5. Talk with a careers or life coach about what is happening. They have experience and skills in working with people who want to create a richer life and it’s always good to talk with someone openly, candidly and honestly about the ideas swirling around your head. How could you make it possible to do six or 12 sessions over three or six months with a coach? Investing in your own career satisfaction is really important and having help can make the world of difference. Some organisations have these sort of services available with external providers at no cost to you.
Start Moving in the Right Circles
While all of this might take a year or two to come together, you might even spend a year just thinking about it, make sure you’re moving in the right direction.
Look to doing some creative type of evening or weekend course or workshop. There are class that run for just a few hours, others are weekly for two months. What about photography, pottery, painting, drawing, whatever looks interesting? You don’t need to know much about it, be good at it, you can be perfectly crap, the idea really is to get along and learn some new skills, meet like minded others, go out of your comfort zone and get exploring.
Read some books on design, creativity, art, the artist way, whatever looks interesting. The libraries are full of them. Dig into some magazines on different topics, see some different perspectives.
Write down ideas in a notebook, they take whatever form that suits at the time, thoughts, ramblings, doodles to sketches. By doing you’ll be surprised what comes out.
All of this will get you thinking differently and moving in circles with others who have similar creative interests and are at various stages. This is how opportunity turns up.
When The People Are Great and the Work is Boring
The challenge many of us face is we have come to love our work family but the work itself is driving us nuts.
Maybe the solution is to change the work and keep the people, do something different within the organisation that offers you more satisfaction?
Just make sure you spend some time on yourself to understand what some of the real issues are so you can move into more fulfilling work.
When You Say You Can’t, You Can’t
I frustrated my nephew for years by responding to his “I can’t do that” with “if you say you can’t, you can’t, if you say you can, you can”. He still finds this an annoying statement but it is so true.
It is all a matter of perspective. If you want to find a way to do something then you will. If you tell yourself that it can’t be done you’ll be just as right.
It is frightening creating change in your life, it’s very simple. But living with a bit of upheaval for a while and being happier is always going to beat being bored for years and feeling like life is passing you by.
How good would it be to take those strong administrative skills you have and work in a creative business that requires everyone involved to think creatively, to be part of making things happen with positive and innovative people?
It might take a couple strategic career moves to get into the right firm, you might come across someone who looks like their designing things but are really actually doing rip offs from China instead but with a couple goes at anything you can find the right fit.
Answering the What If?
If you do nothing and stay in the same rut of frustration life will pass you by.
If you give something a go, try a bundle of different things then you will know you’ve given it a good whack.
It can certainly take time and effort to build up the courage to create change and whether that’s a few weeks or years, the act of doing will create the good things anyway. It may not be what you originally thought but what ever is? I certainly didn’t foresee this life I’m living and I now firmly believe it takes years before you have enough experience to figure out what you really do want in life.
So be brave, do different things, work with a coach and explore other options. Doing courses and meeting new people will be interesting in itself and you’ll be getting out of that rut.