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Creative Career Path

The Person behind the Persona2009.05.07

    Your personal brand is what you stand for. Your persona is your personal image, your public personality, what you are known for. If you know who you are and where you are, you can make intelligent decisions about where you are going. It is important to get it right, because it is also the ticket to your destination. Your personal brand will help you get there.


    You cannot control what other people think of you, but you can control what they see of you by cultivating a personal platform. There are many elements that make up this platform. Your business card, your resume, your blog, how you introduce and talk about yourself, your projects and affiliations. Each of these speaks volumes about you, and the important thing is that your communications should be intentional and authentic.


    Authenticity is the source of your energy, and the roots of your legacy. The challenge in job search and career development is how to be pragmatic without sacrificing authenticity. If you start with a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality, then you probably have to accept whatever you can get. The problem is that this approach is not sustainable. It starts with stress and ends in burnout.


    Even though it seems to make sense, compliance by compromise is not as pragmatic as it looks. Most people use compromise as a coping strategy in their career, only to regret it later in life. If you are short on money, education, contacts, or ideas, it may seem that you have little choice but to compromise and work for a living like everybody else. This is not a bad thing in itself. It beats the alternatives of unemployment, going into debt, or breaking the law. But working without authenticity comes at a price. How do you avoid auctioning off your soul to the highest bidders in the marketplace?


    The first step is to is to ask yourself if you are indeed now on a Creative Career Path? Don't answer too quickly, because simply answering YES or NO will not put you on the Path.


    A career path is creative if it puts the person authentically behind the persona. The mask should fit the man or woman who wears it. How can you tell?


    A person who is on the Path will be positive and proactive in their job and career. Your job will be an energy gainer, not an energy drainer. You will feel you are in the right place at the right time. You will be happy and clear about the direction in which you are headed. You will feel passionate about your work, and find that it challenges your skills and helps you grow. You will have a proactive platform from which to communicate your value to the world. Your job will fit you well, and you will fit in well with the people where you work. You will experience life/work balance. You will be in flow, because your work will match your passions and your skills at a high level. Even if all of this is not in your grasp, it should be in your reach.


    A person who has not yet found their Creative Career Path may feel stuck in a rut of boredom, lacking challenge. Or worse, you may end up caught in a velvet rut of compromise, where you can do the job, but your heart is not in it. The worst pattern is to enter the world of work full of expectations in your twenties; get jaded in your thirties; at risk of being restructured and out of work in your forties; go into survival mode in your fifties, with no possibility of retirement in sight, and wondering who will take care of you in your sixties and beyond. Chances are you know people like this.


    A Harris Interactive Poll conducted in May 2005, before the economy took a turn for the worse, indicated that many U.S. employees harbored strong negative feelings about their jobs or employers. Two of every five employees were not satisfied with their jobs. One-third felt they were at a dead-end; two in five were coping with feelings of burnout. More than half were unhappy with their current choice of work, and only a third believed that their top management displayed integrity and morality.


    It appears that a significant percentage of the workforce is not on a Creative Career Path, and in fact might be on a destructive one. It doesn't have to be this way. Much of the problem could be alleviated if people had access to insights, tools, and support to help them find a happier and more productive path.


    I have created an online Assessment called, Are You on a Creative Career Path? It will help you to answer this question from multiple perspectives, including ENERGY, LOCATION, DIRECTION, PASSION, SKILL, PLATFORM, FIT, and BALANCE. Take the assessment online for free, and get an immediate picture of where you are on the Path.


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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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