Unfiltered - Why making tough choices is a part of being creative

THE THINGS WE DON'T SHARE

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Linda Roos

Linda Roos is a copywriter, translator and entrepreneur. She is fascinated with the stories behind entrepreneurs and regularly blogs on her website www.lindaroosenmedia.nl (in Dutch). She also writes for deondernemer.nl and is a regular visitor of CWC's events.

Follow Linda @lindaroosenmedia on Instagram!

The series “The Things We Don’t Share”, is all about sharing the unsharable. The unfiltered.

Having a creative business means making tough choices. Always. You can’t avoid it. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, when a tough choice comes your way, it is your responsibility to grab it by the balls and deal with it. Ignoring or avoiding it only makes it more difficult.

Whether it’s choosing between two great new projects, moving on from a certain unfruitful collaboration or carefully deciding what relationships (private or business) you want to maintain. It can be a challenge.

I want it all and I want it now

I know, I know. You’re a creative person. Having tons of ingenious and innovative ideas is part of your DNA. You want to do it all and preferably now. You don’t like waiting (ugh), taking a step back (say what?) or quitting (erm, excuse me, winners never quit).

And making a tough choice would mean… Well, it would mean: either missing out on something great or disappointing someone. Or even worse: both. However, there are times when you start a new exciting project and something in your gut doesn't feel quite right. This feeling often means there will be a tough choice on the horizon.

The difficult client

Let me illustrate this with an example. We’ve all had them: the difficult and unsatisfiable client. Don’t get me wrong: yes, as a client, you are working with a professional. You should have certain demands and you should be honest in your feedback. These are all very necessary ingredients of a successful collaboration. However, apart from normal feedback communication, sometimes things just don’t go quite as smoothly as you’d hoped. Often as a result of miscommunication and different expectations which have never been discussed properly. Before you know it, you are putting most (if not all) of your energy into solving this miscommunication, instead of the project.

If this is the case, if only the slightest thing doesn’t feel right with a client: do something about it. First of all, have a conversation, even if it’s difficult. If this doesn’t help and there’s still an uneasy feeling lingering on the surface, it’s time to make a choice between carrying on with the project and knowing that you will lose valuable energy, or simply quitting.

Perfectly imperfect

Maybe your creative brain also has some perfectionistic traits. When contemplating certain choices, you might find yourself procrastinating, until you are able to make the perfect choice, or because you realize that making the perfect choice does not exist. That’s something your brain can’t handle. It’s a complex organ that works in the simplest way: all or nothing, black or white. Things are either perfect or they are not. Deciding you don’t have time for a new project, you don’t have a great connection with an important client or quitting something, are all things that do not fit into your brain’s idea of perfectionism.

The good news is: you actually don’t have to. Give your brain some slack. Just try to remind yourself that it’s not about being perfect or having a perfect business. Making tough choices is an integral part of personal growth as a creative. Taking on a new project (or quitting it) doesn’t automatically equal success (or failure). That’s why you have to understand that, in order to be successful, making difficult decisions from time to time is necessary.

Making tough choices and getting your priorities straight is absolutely necessary to prevent any unnecessary frustrations from developing in the future. Especially for a creative person. It’s a way to control the situation, instead of the other way around. Making choices, whether simple and logical or painful and tough, is the way to develop yourself as a person and grow your business.