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The 4 Reasons Why Creative Careers are Not Linear

Multi-colored lines on a dark blue background moving in multiple directions

Creative careers are exciting, dynamic, and unique. It's these wonderful characteristics that also make them challenging to navigate. Unlike traditional careers, which often follow a linear path to success, creative careers require a individual journey for everyone. If you're a creative professional, you may find your journey to be a winding road, filled with both challenges and triumphs.

Here are the four reasons why creative careers are not linear:

1. One Person's Definition of Success Varies from Another's:

Creative professionals have different benchmarks for success. What lights up one person may not necessarily appeal to another. For instance, a painter could define success as having their artwork displayed in a renowned gallery or selling $5K a month in website sales. A musician may define success as recording a studio album or being able to perform every weekend at their local music joint. If the definition of success varies, the journey there will inevitably be different as well, reflecting the unique aspirations, strengths, and passions of each individual.

2. Goalposts Constantly Move:

In a creative career, success is not a destination but a journey. Once you achieve a particular goal, you'll likely set a new one. This constant movement of goalposts is a fundamental nature of creative careers. Plus, achieving a goal doesn't mean that challenges disappear; it just means that you'll face new ones as you continue to grow and evolve in your career.

Make no mistake... stepping into fame and fortune as a creative will open up a whole new bag of challenges to face.

3. Everyone's Path is Unique:

No two creative careers are the same. Even if two individuals share the same career goal, their steps to achieve it will be different. This is because everyone has unique skills, experiences, and opportunities that shape their career trajectory. Therefore, it's vital to embrace your unique journey and not compare it with others.

4. Priorities Shift with Life Changes:

In a creative career, you need to be adaptable. Priorities may need to shift due to various circumstances, such as changes in personal life, market trends, or even creative inspiration. This constant need for adjustment makes creative careers non-linear. It's about finding a balance between your career goals and life goals and being okay with the side quests that come along the way.

In fact, sometimes the side quests are the most rewarding (anyone else enjoy the side quests more in Zelda Breath of the Wild than the main quest?).

Embracing the non-linear nature of creative careers can be empowering. It allows you to navigate your journey on your own terms, define your own success, and continually evolve as a creative professional. Remember, it's the twists and turns that make the journey interesting and ultimately lead to a fulfilling creative career.


🎙️💖 If you like this article, you might like listening to these episodes of The Empowered Creatives Podcast.

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