The Superpower You Need to Grow your Creative Business
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
When I was just starting out, I often got frustrated with people who seemed to tell these stories of serendipitous beginnings of their creative entrepreneur careers.
They would tell me all about their successful amazing career, their dreams coming true, and the lifestyle it lent them. I'd immediately start asking questions. I wanted to know how they got where they were.
What usually followed is a wild story that sounded more like a string of coincidences than a business plan. As a dreamer, longing to write full-time but fighting my way to the top with various part-time jobs I started to think the thing they had was what I didn't have; luck.
Until I realized all those crazy stories have one thing in common: connection.
Here's the truth about connection––it's deeply human, it's a learned skill (good news, I'll teach you!), and it has more to do with intention than it does luck.
As a Christian, I believe God will supply us with the connections and people we need in the seasons when we need them. But I also believe God isn't a genie in a bottle who we can ask for magic wishes from and expect Him to show up.
In my creative life, the more I sit down and faithfully sow into something by committing time and energy into it, the more God blesses it. In other words, when you plant a seed you can expect it to grow. When you invest in connecting with others, your business will grow, your opportunities will grow, and your impact will expand.
Here's how to make connection your superpower:
Put fear in the backseat
If you've heard one of those crazy connection stories before, you know how important it is to be a connector. What you don't know yet, is the number of DMs that will be left unread, the messages that will be left without a response, and the conversations that will end up leaving you ghosted.
Don't get personal about it. Rejection is this big, scary word that fear uses against us. What if you get rejected? If you play out the worst case scenario it probably won't actually be that bad. Maybe it'll sting, and then you'll keep going.
When I first started submitting my work to publications, one response was basically a no. I went back and reread it after the initial hurt, and realized they were saying no to the idea, not me. So I pitched again, this time asking the editor what she needed first. A few emails later, and I was included in a dream publication of mine.
It wasn't luck–it was deciding to tell fear to get out of the way and sending another email anyway.
Be ready and willing to give more than you take
Our culture is consumeristic. We are all about taking and transactions. The problem with this is that it isn't how connection works. Your best relationships aren't transactional. Creating a business without a transactional attitude will yield similar results; better client relationships, more exciting projects, and open and honest communication and feedback.
In a show my husband and I watch there's a character who is a medical director at a hospital. His character is constantly asking, "how can I help?" In one episode, he got in a tough situation and his entire community came around him asking, "how can we help?"
People who are willing to be generous with others by always asking what they can offer, whether it's time, a resource, or encouragement, will always end up being helped. When you authentically give to others, they'll be drawn to your generosity, want to be around you, and you'll start to notice those "must have been luck" stories are happening to you too.
Be a human
The older I get the more I realize that we are all simply human. Super profound, right? But in the creative entrepreneur space, we idolize others or we are told to make idols out of ourselves.
We feel imposter syndrome because we know our humanness more than we see what others admire in us. We experience fear and doubt because we compare ourselves to others who are "ahead" of us and think, we aren't as put together as them.
In reality, we all have bad days, we all spill our coffee on our white shirt as soon as we leave the house, and people aren't looking for awkward, overly professional conversations.
They're looking to be seen, known, and loved, just like us.
Be relatable and kind, ask questions with genuine curiosity, and acknowledge emotions when you're connecting with any other human.
Also, be a human!! You can have bad days, you can decide to change your mind, you can say no, you can be disappointed, you can be in a hard season. People connect to that version of you more than they connect to a pretend overnight success, fake confidence, or masked discouragement.