14 Obligations of All Creative Professionals

1. Create a movement. Not a company. Not a product. Not a service. A movement. This requires a significantly higher level of passion, inner fire and tolerance for ambiguity. The cool part is, it’s more rewarding, more fun and more engaging. The challenging part is, you sleep a lot less. Oh well. Are you building a following?

2. Create a referral-rich environment. Several ways to do this. First, people need to be aware what you DO, what you’re DOING and what you’ve DONE. Second, people need to see you in action. They need to see you being you, doing what you do best. Thirdly, you need to be good. REALLY good. So good that people will gladly wait in line and pay higher prices than they should. So good that people, once they’ve worked with you once, will immediately tell all their friends about you. What percentage of your new business is referral based?

3. Create a world. All you have to do is ask yourself the following powerful question: “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?” Spend a few hours brainstorming a half-dozen bullet point answers. I mean literally write them down.

Then, once you’re finished, you’ll have a template, a framework, a foundation, for the type of world you desire to create. And the best part is, now all you need to do, is make sure that everything you do, gives people – your fans, your movement members – the tools to BUILD that world. What new world are you creating?

4. Create clear outcomes. That last example used what I call a “Back to the Future Question.” Other examples include: How would you BE if you were already living your dream? For your life to be perfect, what would have to change? How do you want the world to know you 3-5 years from now? These types of questions accomplish four goals:

(1) they ENABLE people to act as if the desired changed already occurred
(2) they HELP people imagine what they need to become in order for their goals to manifest
(3) they EMPOWER people to speak from the future, then look back to identify the steps that led there
(4) they INSPIRE people to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future and make meaningful strides toward it.

Hey, McFly: Are your outcomes crystal clear?

5. Create despite poverty. OK, so, business sucks. Sales are down. The economy is in the crapper. Fine. Stop complaining about it and just accept it. Say yes to what IS and force yourself to create new ideas anyway. Every day. If needed, channel your frustration into your creativity. Remember: Ideas are your #1 source of income. Remember: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Are you falling in love with your own excuses?

6. Create enduring enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm literally means, “Filled with God.” So, when you say you’ve lost your energy, your spark, your burning desire, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe for a second that, for some strange reason, you’re (now) no longer filled with God. That’s something that never really goes away, whatever your definition of “God” is.

The challenge is, you can’t SEE it because it’s buried under a steaming pile of excuses; you can’t HEAR it because you’ve chosen to stop listening; and you can’t FEEL it because you’re hanging out with losers. What saps your enthusiasm?

7. Create first thing. Get out of bed, get into the shower, grab some hot tea and commence mental puking. First thoughts, best thoughts. Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page. Or canvas. Or dance floor. Or whatever medium you use. The goal is to create your own daily ritual of creativity that serves as a personal time-out, a portable solitude, routine of reflection and a practice of meditation.

When you create “first thing,” this process lends you stability and intimacy. It enables you to ventilate and prioritize your thoughts. It also trains your censor to stand aside so you can get current and catch up on yourself. As Julia Cameron suggest in The Artist’s Way, “Get down on the page whatever it is you are.” Are you starting your day with practice?

8. Create for revenge. For all those jerks that said you were crazy. For all those haters who said your work was no good. For all those idiots who said they could do it WAY better than you. Create cool stuff just to get them back. Wave it in front of their face. Make ‘em smell it. How do you like me now, chumps?

9. Create higher visibility. Stop being a secret. Anonymity is bankruptcy. Stick yourself out there – in person, online, on paper – everyday. Be ubiquitous. Be pleasantly persistent. Be The Observed. Then, BECOME a known entity. BECOME the obvious choice. BECOME That Guy. What are you doing to make your brand even more visible?

10. Create mini Sabbaths. You don’t even have to be religious. You don’t even have to make it a full day. You just need to physically and mentally displace yourself. No work. No thinking. No nothing. Almost like a mini vacation. Anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours.

EXAMPLES: Go for a walk, grab a cup of tea at Starbucks, break out your guitar and play a few tunes, or head out to your car, dial up the comedy channel on satellite radio, lay back and laugh it up. It’s one of the healthiest practices you could incorporate into your daily life. What’s your Sabbath?

11. Create new connections. That’s all creativity really is, anyway. And all you have to do is, while observing the world, ask yourself questions like, “What else is like this?” “Where else have I seen this before?” and “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” Remember: Thinking is LINKING. And myriad connections (always) exist. How many unrelated things have you connected this week?

12. Create new value You HAVE to. Like, every year or so. Your fans, readers, audience members and customers crave it. Sadly, too many artists are unwilling to renovate, redo and renew because they’re too comfortable and too complacent, suckling the teat of their sacred cows. They don’t think they need to renew to be great, and they’re wrong. You must rapidly reinvent yourself, or people will forget about you. When was the last time you brought NEW value?

13. Create positive inflow. To create kick-ass art, begin by flooding your mind, body, soul and life with only positive things. YES books, YES music, YES people, YES food, YES networking events – YES everything! Remember: Negativity isn’t just unattractive; it’s unproductive. How do you stay positive?

14. Create self-evident ideas. First, engage the customer’s BRAIN. Make ‘em think – but not too much. Make it easily digestible, repeatable and defendable. Make ‘em nod in agreement because of your self-evidence and unarguability. Then, engage people’s FISTS. So they think, “Well, I’m sold!” So they exclaim, “OMG, I have to have one of those!” So they declare, “Dude, we gotta get this guy!” How long does it take people to “get” what you do?

As a Creative Professional, what are your obligations?

For the list called, “10 Best Books on Creativity You’ve Never Heard Of,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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