Work, Life and Creativity

Tips on Everything from Treating Yourself to Treating Others Well – and Why Networking is so Important  

Everyone knows that in life and business there are golden rules and maxims and proverbs — things we have been told many times that still ring true, for people around the world.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” for instance, has been around since biblical times, and the venerable, ultra-corporate has posted numerous articles about the concept in the business world.

Or there’s the smart observation of the Chinese proverb that “If your mind is strong, all difficult things will become easy. But if your mind is weak, all easy things will become difficult.“

But what about our own personal proverbs and observations?  How many of us have found that by this age — I am twenty-eight — we’ve got some pretty savvy thoughts of our own?

Here are some things I’ve learned along the way…

Thoughts on balancing work, life and creativity

Professional Pointers

  • Conflicted on which way to take your career? Emotions are arrows that point you in the direction your heart wants to go. Listen to what’s going on inside. Your heart will guide you if you live what you love.

  • Once you figure that out, dream big, and start small. It’s great advice, and very possible with patience and persistence.

  • A nice, small way to start: create a vision board or some kind of visual image where you can see your goals in front of you. Make a daily reminder for you to look at every morning, pointing out why you do what you do.

  • And once you decide to do what you love, learn about it – read and research everything you can. Look up its history, and find inspiring people in your field throughout the eons. Then do a Google search for rejection letters sent to famous musicians, businesspeople, etc. when they were first trying to make a career for themselves. It will make you feel better.

  • Need yet more uplifting thoughts? Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, a pretty useful thing these days, and something that revolutionized the world. So listen to him well when he says, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

  • Now let’s get cracking: anyone who wants to start their own business needs to promote it. So use networking and promotion as an opportunity not only as a career woman, but to meet new people and be exposed to new ideas. Allow networking to inspire you as a whole person rather than just as a business.

  • Also, there is no secret to promotion and networking. It’s tedious, tie-consuming, frustrating, and a lot of work, sometimes seeming pointless when you hardly hear back. But you never know if that 568th email might affect someone…

  • And a good rule of thumb for networking: be fearless and shameless, but courteous and civil. So boldly reach out to people who inspire you, but know that there is appropriate time and place for everything.

  • In addition, do your “job homework”: don’t be lazy with your computer. Learn how to use it. Just as you would never show up in pajamas for a job interview, make sure your formatting is clean, clear and easy to read. Spreadsheets can be your best friend.

  • Your goal can be to make a living doing what you love – i.e. ideally, your life shouldn’t be about just “making a living.” Know that at the end of the day, you are human, not a robot and not a saint. So if you have to work hard along the way toward your dream job, work hard — and then know when to change into slippers and watch a romantic comedy!

  • Lastly, if things are stalled right now, know that the boat of opportunity will always come around. If you miss it this time, just keep your eyes peeled for the next time.

  • Motivation Booster: Read this article on getting started on a big project by taking small steps.

Your Attitude Can be Amazing – or Annoying

  • If you’re not happy a lot of the time, it sometimes feel that “it” – whether it’s a project or a marriage — is not worth it. But above all, happiness is an attitude: it’s being in the present, feeling gratitude, and feeling alive. So before you decide to quit, make sure you know where your unhappiness is coming from; in other words, have a good attitude, and you may find that happiness suddenly appears.

  • A big part of having a good attitude: knowing that nourishing your body is your first and foremost job. Take good care of it; eat healthy food, hydrate, and most importantly, sleep. There’s not business to be had without a body to run it – and you only have one.

  • Another way to cultivate a positive perspective: stay humble and stay confident, a magical recipe that creates a potent, enticing energy and attracts others to it.

  • Lastly, always treat others how you would like to be treated. Sometimes it will pay off, and at other times it will simply remind you that you are a person, not an empire.

  • Attitude Booster: Read this quick take on the connection between long life and good attitude.

Catalysts for Creativity

  • Creativity is more than arts and crafts. Creativity is a way to view the world differently. Use it as your ally and your inspiration. Do what you love, live it passionately, and learn all that you can about it. Be an artist, a scholar and an entrepreneur at all times.

  • Have an idea? Perhaps someone else has thought of it before, but only you can infuse it with the passion that is uniquely yours.

  • Once you get fired up with your imaginative powers, and want to move onto a project, start with a single step (as with the professional advice above). The tiniest micro-movement can cause ripples that extend for miles. And baby steps are not only safe and smart, they can serve as small arenas of unexpected discoveries; in other words, don’t move so fast that you miss the opportunity to uncover your “lightbulb moments.”

  • Then, once you have set something in motion using your small steps, take the time to enjoy, absorb and appreciate the effect your micro-movement has had so far – even if it’s not all you want for yourself yet. Remember, a ripple can stretch out for miles and miles and miles…

  • Creativity Boosters: watch a TED talk on creativityor read this Psychology Today article on the concept.

Lastly, in regards to all of the above, whether it’s success in mainstream business or becoming a visionary artist, remember a couple of things: If you feel strongly enough about something, stand behind it when nobody else will.  Stand behind it passionately, and invest your time and money intelligently.

And never be embarrassed if you fail. You should only be embarrassed if along the way you have not treated others how you would like to be treated; but if you do the opposite of that, on a consistent basis, you will have a good launching-pad to success.  Enjoy the ride!

Work, life, creativity….how do YOU balance it all?

Amy OestreicherComment