The Calculated Creative

The Bar is Low: 6 Habits to Level Up

It’s no secret that creative tools move at the speed of light. And it can be easy to get caught in the assumption that you need to learn the latest version of them all in order to level up your career.

But this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. And that’s because as more tools are developed it becomes increasingly easy to use them better and faster. The platforms themselves are doing this for you!

So instead of putting your energy where everyone else is (and on tools that are getting better without your help) put it in the places where it’s likely to have an outsized return.

Where is that? You might ask. In tried and true personal habits.

Because these habits are what everyone else neglects. And it’s where you’ll be able to set yourself apart from those around you.

Here’s 6 personal habits, that don’t involve learning new tools, which will help you to level up your creative career:

1. Be On Time

No I’m not talking about showing up to a meeting exactly when it starts.

I’m talking about being there 10–15 minutes early.

Get yourself in the head space for whatever it is you’re gonna be talking about.

And if you consistently run over your scheduled time slots PLEASE put in some buffer time so it doesn’t throw off everyone else’s schedules.

There’s nothing worse than having to prepare for someone being late every time they show up.

2. Be Authentic

You don’t have to agree with everything everybody says. But you also don’t have to be a butthole about it either.

Learn to be tactful in how you deliver conflicting messages. And work through disagreements with an end goal in mind.

Agreeing with everyone will get you nowhere. But so will disagreeing and not working through a path forward.

3. Be Prepared

After helping a few companies vet creative talent you’d be amazed at how many people submit half finished applications.

Not to mention broken portfolio links, unfinished sentences, form fields that aren’t filled out…the list goes on.

Just simply showing up having checked all the boxes puts you leaps and bounds beyond those around you.

Slow down and give each project or task the time it needs to be done correctly.

4. Be Candid

Trustful and straightforward. That’s what it means to be candid.

And in the creative world where it’s needed most this can be in short supply.

Instead of working around difficult conversations or subjects just approach them head on.

And if you’ve focused on the first 3 steps of this list your message is infinitely more likely to be heard.

5. Be Confident

You’ve done the work. You’ve made an effort to understand different viewpoints. And you’ve relayed a difficult message.

Now what?

Stop second guessing yourself is what!

The only things you can control are your own actions. And if you’ve checked off the steps needed to get to the place you’re at…

Then falling back on confidence is the only answer.

6. Be Curious

This is where a lot of creatives fall short.

We tend to be great at exploring different methods of creating and producing work…

But when it comes down to accepting differing opinions on that output we shut down.

Take the same approach to the work as you do with the critique of that work and you’ll be a much better creator because of it.

At the end of the day the only difference between successful creatives, and those that aren’t, is the ability to think long term.

Landing clients or finding work in a service based business is entirely dependent on your reputation and output.

And focusing on delivering consistent value via the personal habits above is how you prioritize that long term growth.

Because making sure the ground floor is rock solid means you can build to heights you could have never imagined.

Rush the ground floor, and the habits that help solidify it, and you significantly hamper your ability to grow.

It seems silly. But you’d be amazed at how many people skip these steps entirely just because they want to get a quick win.

Don’t let that be you.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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