Giving yourself the space to shine.

Pamela Slim writes that it's easy for creative people to fool themselves into thinking that their strengths can overcompensate for environmental variables.

Have you ever watched yourself spiral downward with something that's usually a cinch?

It happens to musicians and to artist managers all the time. It's tempting to want to get into the music business because you think you'll get to party a lot or because you want to find a way to get paid to travel. Turns out, partying and touring are two of the most time consuming, stress inducing, creativity sapping aspects of a career in the music business.

If your biggest strength is your ability to write great songs, create an environment that lets you do more of that. Diane Warren created a schedule that allows her to write songs when inspiration strikes, even if it means she's often too busy to remember to deposit her royalty checks. When was the last time you heard about Diane Warren getting tossed out of a Hollywood nightclub?

Your biggest strength might be your ability to make direct connections with your audience during a gig. So why are you focusing on trying to book bigger and bigger rooms when a series of house concerts showcases your strength and lets you earn more money from each fan?

Understanding how to cultivate your strengths can help you balance your life and your career around the actions and the opportunities that best showcase your talent. Pam asks a few questions, based on the work of Marcus Buckingham and others, like:

  • What are my key strengths?

  • What are the conditions that allow them to shine?

  • What happens if I lean to heavily on them?

Taking a strengths inventory can show you where you've got creative capacity, what areas you still need to work on, and what areas you'll want to outsource to your success team. That's what building a success team is all about, really: supplementing the areas in which you're not strong, and shoring up the foundation share your real gifts.

[ Image courtesy Flickr user Iker Merodio, under Creative Commons license. ]