Being creative is like living in a cop drama


When I think of creatives, I think of a typical cop drama. Here’s the thing about a cop drama: everyone is highly territorial. First, you have your uniformed cop. For some reason he always has a grungy, uneducated accent. Along comes the detective in a suit. The uniformed cop, unaware that the suit is a detective whose authority trumps his level of authority, mouths off.

“Hey! Buddy!” He says, “This area here is closed due to an ongoing police investigation!”

The detective, with unwavering and intimidating eye contact, opens his wallet and flashes his badge. He never utters a word.

“I’m sorry, sir. Right this way.” He lifts the yellow police tape and leads the detective to the area with all of the important people.

After a few minutes of brainstorming, the detectives are informed by their boss (a late 50′s to early 60′s white male who was once a good detective on the streets but has spent the last 30 years as a pencil pusher) explains that the Feds are about to arrive and that they are going to take over the entire investigation.

The Feds arrive in the black SUVs, black suits, and black sunglasses. They’re extremely rude and disrespectful to the detectives. The detectives try to explain that only they know the intricacies within this case. The Feds don’t care. They interrupt the detectives from their heated yet compelling rebuttal and say, “You’ve done good work. Now, you’ll be debriefed by agent (insert name) and we’ll keep you in the loop. Thank you, detectives.”

The Feds turn their backs to the detectives and begin to work.

Does that paint a familiar picture? Whoever said that Hollywood is out of original ideas?

Alright, enough of my screen play—back to reality. My point is that creatives are highly territorial. Creatives want to be able to say that they did everything all by themselves.

“Yes, I created this brochure for the new Thai restaurant. I did all of the photography myself along with all of the design work. The typography is actually custom hand lettering made by yours truly. The paper that this was printed on was once a tree in my backyard…I make my own paper as a hobby.”

So what’s the point to all of this?

I’m so glad you asked. John Donne once said, “No man is an island.” It took me a while to understand this. As much as I love to read and write, poetry just goes over my head often times.

But now I get it—we aren’t meant to be alone. Not only our success but our overall vitality and mental health depend on relationships.

Men once thought it was cool to be John Wayne. Well, a “wise” man once had something to say about John Wayne.

Everything boils down to relationships…to your community…to your network. Collaboration is key. If you’re an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or an employee who wants to work his way up the corporate ladder, your relationships are going to carry you there.

I love to research successful people—it’s a hobby of mine. And I can tell you that none of them have taken the John Wayne approach. They all have people in their lives in which they give credit for their success.

If you like what you read, be sure to get our FREE eBook: How to Price Yourself as a Creative Professional.

—Nik Parks, Co-Founder of Launching Creative

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