It’s been difficult to own and name my number one skill:
Understand future trends and customer behavior. Design and execute product vision to benefit the Company and its customers.
I’m sure this is something that many creatives struggle with as we tend to be humble beings. The title “creative” sounds presumptuous and vain.
Ever since I learned about neurodiversity, my perspective changed. I used to see it as an adjective to describe a persona. Now I see it as an adjective and verb to describe how my brain is wired and how it works.
For a long time, I felt I needed to learn skills to fit into job positions that sounded “high level.” Those skills were for jobs that I wouldn’t enjoy. But I had fallen in the trap, the rat race, with feelings that what I am good at was not enough.
I’ve always had a sense of urgency and curiousity to learn new skills. However, as a generalist – I learned them to try to force myself to specialize and fit into a box. That was the wrong approach. It never worked.
For example, one of the first jobs I ever had was being an analyst that required looking at excel all day. It was a nightmare. I had never felt so bored in my life as I did then. I was even confused when my boss offered to sponsor my visa because apparently I did a really good job.
I realized that the only reason why I excelled at that job was because I was motivated by the results of my work, which was giving my recommendations to the leadership team based on my analysis. However, I wanted to go beyond that – I wanted to be involved in the ideation stage. But I wasn’t allowed to because that was not my job.
While I do research and analyze data, my mind starts shooting ideas non-stop for improvement, product, strategy, marketing, etc. It would be a waste of my time and my employers time and money to not take advantage to at least let me present my ideas as well. But at most jobs, there are strict hand offs and that delineates where your job ends.
The thing is, to stimulate my creativity – I need to be involved in the research process, because it’s a learning process also. It lets me understand the space at a deeper level if I conduct the research first hand. Research reports do not stimulate my creativity. It’s rewarding for me to also be involved in the ideation stage and strategy.
As a creative, it’s very important to understand what stimulates you and find a job/boss that understands your core skills and wants to take advantage of them in a way that is also rewarding for you. However, you won’t find it unless you are willing to own it and say it.
Photo Credits: Refinery29