Creative Self-Destruction: Which One Are You?

It seems like 2019 has been an incredible year for self-reflection. Everyone I know is turning inward to self-analyze. Sometimes in big ways (we love a productive therapy session.) And also in little ways (aided, of course, by Google.)

Horoscopes, Myers-Briggs, Enneagram — you name it. We’re all looking to figure out where we fit in, and how to best utilize the assets we already have. While these broad classifications refer to different personality types, they can often apply to the way you work creatively, as well.

Capes Coaching Creative Types

In both Private Coaching and the The Path Course, it’s a joy for me to work with so many different kinds of artists. The amazing humans I’ve gotten to coach over the years span such a wide range of disciplines. But across the board, there are incredible similarities in the way that creative people approach their work.

Creative Working Types Capes Coaching Path

Coaching for as long as I have, I’ve begun to recognize the patterns of when and how these traits — and roadblocks — appear. You probably don’t need me to tell you which one applies to you. But I can tell you that I’ve seen The Path Course be a success time and again for artists who struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, cynicism and self-care. And I’ve done my research to find the tools to help my clients (and myself!) bypass these roadblocks and get to work. Below, I’ve included some of my favorite articles as they apply to each of the four working types — and to back up my argument that the Path WILL work for you, too!

perfectionism why the perfectionist enemy of creativity capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: “If it’s not going to be perfect, then why even bother?” This is the most common pattern of self-destructive thinking I see among my coaching clients. And it’s virtually impossible to be creative under the stress of “getting it right.”

TAKE ACTION: As a Perfectionist, try to allow trial and error to have a place in your process. Step by step thinking will help you be gentle with yourself. In The Path Course, we break down seemingly daunting tasks into bite-sized manageable chunks. Sometimes it’s just about recognizing how much you actually have accomplished that propels you to the next step.

THE RESULT: “...getting it done — whether that’s a decision you have to make or work you have to do — will leave you more satisfied than if you had agonized over the task in the pursuit of perfection."

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) It’s Never Going to Be Perfect, So Just Get it Done

procrastination creative not lazy stop procrastinating capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: Being a Procrastinator doesn’t mean you're lazy. Yes, you heard that right. This type of artist is usually a perfectionist in disguise, unable to begin because of an all-consuming case of imposter syndrome. It’s incredibly easy to put off long-term daunting goals when they’re just that — larger than life and seemingly far-fetched.

TAKE ACTION: When we put things down and create a serious plan — with serious deadlines — we can actually measure our progress as we go. In The Path Course, you’ll reverse engineer a plan for an entire year, and leave well-equipped with a toolbox for getting through the “hard” stuff.

THE RESULT: : "Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows." I know and you know that the first step is the hardest, but once you get going, productivity creates a snowball effect.

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do with Self-Control)

cynical cynical stop the inner critic capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: Being critical and cynical about our own work before it even happens. Rejection is a fact of life for artists, and there’s certainly less if we never put ourselves out there. But being a cynic stunts production and vitality. Cynicism is simply fear masked in attitude.

TAKE ACTION: Shake off your inner-critic, and put down the burden of being a Cynic. In The Path Course, we aren’t afraid to work with our inner-critic — accepting that we will always be toughest on ourselves. When you look your own fears square in the face, you can acknowledge their existence and MOVE. ON.

THE RESULT: As Stephen Colbert says, “Cynicism is self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begin things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge.” The world is open and available for you, and it’s time you make the same room for it!

READ MORE: Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism

caretaker selfless selfish capes coaching commit to you

THE PROBLEM: I’ve noticed that one of the hardest things for many creatives to admit is that being an artist isn’t selfish. As a Caretaker, you often find yourself putting the needs and comfort of others before your own (right, parents?) leaving little time to stoke your own inner fire.

TAKE ACTION: Put 2-hours a week aside to re-commit to YOU. When we put our art and our passions at the forefront of our lives — committing to being our most authentic selves — we inspire others to do the same. Taking The Path Course is an act of self-care in itself (and we’re offering a Friday section, just for Moms!) You’ll find tools and techniques to conquer work-life balance and reframe your thinking — self-care isn’t selfish.

THE RESULT: "We are no use to anyone if our energy is depleted because we have given every last bit of it away. Self-care is an antidote to stress, as it builds resilience so we can better cope with challenges."

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) Why We Put Ourselves Last & Why Self-Care Should Be a Priority

No matter what your strengths or weaknesses, there is always something to be gained when we put a clear plan in place. We are more likely to succeed when we pave our own roadmap to success. We are here to support you with goals, action-planning, accountability check-ins, and tangible accomplishments you can measure, so you can power up and sustain your career long-term. Ready to get to work?

Ups and downs...and ups

As many of you know, this is the first week that Capes Coaching is venturing over to the West Coast and planting our flag in the L.A. soil (or, sand, since we hope to get some beach time in!). I can't tell you how excited I am for this — it's been a goal of ours for many years now. Since we were already going to be in California, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a family trip to San Diego beforehand and, much to my surprise, the timing turned out to be even more perfect than I'd imagined. Natalie GoldAs it happened, one of my very first (and favorite) coaching clients, Natalie Gold, was starring in the current run of Henry Wishcamper's Engaging Shaw at the Old Globe Theatre, and I can't tell you what a complete joy it was to see her performing on one of the most acclaimed theatre stages in the country. Add this to her recent turn as Jake Gyllenhaal's sister in last year's Love and Other Drugs and a recurring role on AMC's critically acclaimed show Rubicon, and it was easy to see that Natalie had a lot to be proud of. Of course, having coached her from the beginning, I knew that it wasn't always an easy road, but she had certainly earned the success that she's currently enjoying.

I first met Natalie in 2002 when I was working in the casting office at the Public Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. We cast her as a non-equity actor (of which they only allowed 2 or 3 in each production) and I remember the excitement in her voice when I called and offered her the role -- it was a big deal. Later, when we began coaching together, I remember sitting in the coaching room with someone who understood that it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where she ultimately wanted to go. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that Natalie did the work and stayed the course even when the course wasn't always going her way. She set clearly defined goals for herself, honestly assessed her disappointments, didn't rest on her successes, and always brought a sense of authenticity and integrity to her work.

AMC's Rubicon

Anyone who has coached with me or has done the Artists In Action program knows that I am a staunch advocate for bringing your true self to the way you run your business. Nowhere is this as crucial as it is when it comes to networking, because your relationships will rise or fall based on whether or not people perceive you as being genuine -- someone they want to build a relationship with. Let me tell you, Natalie Gold is the real deal and, believe me, she's got the fans in this industry to prove it -- casting directors, writers, agents, producers, directors -- you name it, they're fans. She's brought that authenticity since day one, and I've seen her career climb steadily over the past decade as a result. Some years haven't climbed as rapidly as she would've like, I'm sure, but she's consistently reached the goals she set for herself…and continues to do so.

After I saw her last week, she said that it's been "Up and down. Up and down," but that she recognizes her accomplishments and has moved in the direction she wants to move in. Even more heartening, she revealed the invaluable role that our coaching together has played (and continues to play) in her career. Previously, she expressed to me, "I came to Capes Coaching at the height of my frustration with my career. You allowed me to turn my angst into motivation and my fear into courage." I can't tell you how gratifying it was to hear that, because, in a way, Natalie's growth as an actress has coincided with my growth as a coach. I will never forget the time she called to tell me that she booked her first national commercial…and then her first Law & Order…and then her first Broadway play. Now, she's with one of the top agencies and transitioning from stage to screen beautifully, and along the way she's continued to challenge herself and managed to maintain balance and grace in her life. I can't wait to see what's next!