Resilience & Adaptability: Tips for Creative Careers
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


Working in a creative field can be thrilling, filled with bursts of inspiration and the joy of creating something new and unique. But it's also filled with challenges, making building resilience and adaptability in creative careers key to thriving in this ever-changing landscape. No matter what your area of creativity—be it graphic design, writing, painting, or music making—there are ways to foster resilience and adaptability that will help you weather the stormy times and come out stronger on the other side. Let's dive right in!

Identify stressors and learn coping mechanisms

The first step towards building resilience and adaptability in creative careers is being able to identify what stresses you out. Is it a looming deadline? The fear of criticism? Or perhaps the worry about finding your next gig? Recognizing these stressors is the first step towards managing them. Once you've identified what's causing your stress, it's time to develop coping mechanisms to deal with them head-on.

  • Manage Time: If deadlines are your nemesis, a good time management system can be a lifesaver. There are numerous apps like Trello or Asana that can help you stay on top of your tasks and deadlines.
  • Build Confidence: If you're afraid of criticism, remember that every creative person faces critique—it's an integral part of the creative process. Embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than something to fear.
  • Network: If job insecurity is your worry, start networking. Attend industry events, join online communities, and don't be afraid to reach out to others in your field. Building connections can open up new opportunities and can help you feel more secure in your career.

Remember, stress isn't always bad—it can push you to perform better and come up with creative solutions. But when it becomes overwhelming, that's when you need to have strategies in place to cope. So, take a deep breath, identify your stressors, and start building your resilience and adaptability in your creative career.

Maintain a flexible mindset

When it comes to building resilience and adaptability in creative careers, maintaining a flexible mindset is key. In the creative world, change is the only constant. Trends come and go, clients' preferences change, and new tools and techniques are always emerging. If you're rigid in your thinking, you'll quickly fall behind.

Consider this: let's say you're a graphic designer who has always used Adobe Photoshop. But one day, your client asks you to use a different tool, like Sketch, for a project. If you have a fixed mindset, you might panic—after all, you're a Photoshop expert, not a Sketch newbie! But if you have a flexible mindset, you'd view this as a chance to learn a new skill and broaden your horizons.

So how can you cultivate a flexible mindset? Here are a few ideas:

  • Stay Curious: Keep an open mind and be willing to learn. Whether it's a new design tool, a new writing style, or a new musical technique, always be open to expanding your knowledge.
  • Embrace Change: Try not to resist changes, but rather see them as opportunities for growth. Sure, they might be uncomfortable at first, but remember—no growth ever came from staying in the comfort zone.
  • Think Outside the Box: Being creative means thinking differently. Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. Who knows, your next big idea might come from the most unexpected place.

So, whether you're a writer, designer, musician, or any other type of creative professional, remember to keep your mind flexible. It's a key part of building resilience and adaptability in your creative career.

Develop a strong support network

Building resilience and adaptability in creative careers isn't a solo journey. You're not alone on this road, and having a strong support network can make a world of difference. This includes mentors, colleagues, friends, and family who believe in you, support your goals, and can offer a helping hand or wise advice when you need it.

Imagine this scenario: you're a freelance writer who's just received some harsh feedback from a client. Sure, it stings. But instead of moping around, you turn to your mentor—a seasoned writer who's seen it all. They help you see the constructive aspects of the feedback, and even give you some tips to improve. That's the power of a strong support network.

So how can you build and maintain a strong support network in your own creative career? Here are some strategies:

  • Network: Attend industry events, join online forums, and participate in social media groups. These are great places to meet like-minded individuals and potential mentors.
  • Give and Take: A good network is about mutual support. So, be there for others in your network just as you'd want them to be there for you.
  • Stay Connected: Regularly check in with your network, even if it's just a quick hello. It helps to maintain the relationships and shows that you value them.

So, remember, having a strong support network is a crucial part of building resilience and adaptability in creative careers. It provides a safety net, helps you learn and grow, and can even open up new opportunities.

Practice self-care

Now, let's talk about a simple but often overlooked part of building resilience and adaptability in creative careers: self-care. It might sound off-topic, but trust me, it's not. Consider this: you can't produce your best work if you're burned out, right? That's where self-care comes in.

Self-care is all about taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It's about recognizing when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed and taking steps to address it. And it's not just about bubble baths and yoga—although those can certainly be part of it!

Here are some self-care strategies that can help you stay healthy, happy, and ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way in your creative career:

  • Find your Zen: Whether it's meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few minutes each day to breathe deeply and clear your mind, finding a way to relax and de-stress is essential.
  • Stay Active: Regular exercise isn't just good for your body—it's also great for your mind. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, and boost creativity.
  • Eat Well: A healthy diet can give you the energy you need to keep going, even when times are tough.
  • Sleep: Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. It's when your body and brain recharge, so make sure you're getting enough.

So, remember: building resilience and adaptability in creative careers isn't just about work strategies. It's also about taking care of yourself. After all, you're your most important resource!

Adopt a growth mindset

Building resilience and adaptability in creative careers often requires a change in mindset. This is where the concept of a "growth mindset" comes in. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can develop and improve over time with effort and practice. This contrasts with a "fixed mindset", where it is believed abilities are set in stone.

Adopting a growth mindset can have a significant impact on your creative career. It encourages you to see challenges as opportunities for learning rather than as insurmountable obstacles. It fuels your determination and helps you persevere in the face of adversity. And most importantly, it fosters resilience and adaptability—two key elements of a successful creative career.

Here's how you can cultivate a growth mindset:

  • Embrace Challenges: Don't shy away from difficult tasks. Instead, view them as opportunities to learn and grow. It's okay if you don't succeed at first—remember, it's all part of the learning process.
  • Value Effort: Recognize that hard work and perseverance are key to success. Celebrate your effort, not just your results.
  • Learn from Criticism: Constructive feedback is a powerful tool for improvement. Instead of getting defensive or discouraged, use it as a stepping stone to get better.
  • Find Inspiration in the Success of Others: Instead of feeling threatened by the success of your peers, let it inspire you. Learn from their experiences and strategies.

Remember, adopting a growth mindset is not a one-time event. It's a continuous journey. But with time and practice, you'll find it becoming second nature. And this will go a long way in building resilience and adaptability in your creative career.

Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth

The thought of failure might make your stomach churn. But here's a surprising fact: failure can be one of your most powerful allies in building resilience and adaptability in creative careers. Yes, you read that right!

Failing doesn't mean you're not good enough. It means you're learning, you're growing, and you're brave enough to push beyond your comfort zone. It's a stepping stone on the path to success. So, instead of fearing failure, embrace it. Harness its power to fuel your growth and resilience.

Here are some practical tips to help you turn failure into an opportunity for growth:

  • Change Your Perspective: Start by shifting your perspective on failure. See it not as a dead-end but as an opportunity to learn something new. This shift in thinking can make a world of difference.
  • Analyze Your Failure: When you fail, take the time to understand what went wrong. This will help you avoid similar mistakes in the future and improve your approach.
  • Don't Let Failure Define You: A single failure—or even several—does not define your worth or your ability. Don't let it shake your confidence. Remember, every successful person has faced failures in their journey.
  • Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with people who encourage you, offer constructive feedback, and help you see failure as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block.

Remember, every failure brings you one step closer to success. It's all about how you choose to view and respond to it. So, embrace failure, learn from it, and use it as a stepping stone towards building resilience and adaptability in your creative career.

Constantly learn and upgrade your skills

Stepping into the dynamic world of creative careers, you must have realized by now that your skills and knowledge can never be at a standstill. In fact, it's like you're on a treadmill — you have to keep moving to stay on top of things! And this is not just about staying relevant; it's also a key factor in building resilience and adaptability in creative careers.

Let's dive into how constantly learning and upgrading your skills can help you:

  • Stay Relevant: When you're always learning, you're always growing. This keeps you on top of the latest trends and techniques, making you an asset in any creative field.
  • Expand Your Creativity: New learning can spark new ideas. By continually expanding your knowledge, you're also expanding your creative horizons.
  • Boost Confidence: When you're equipped with the right skills and knowledge, you feel more confident. This, in turn, contributes to your resilience.
  • Adapt to Changes: The more skills you acquire, the better you can adapt to changes in your creative career. This adaptability is what makes you resilient in the face of challenges.

So, how can you keep learning and upgrading your skills? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Read books, articles, and blogs related to your field.
  2. Attend webinars, workshops, or conferences for professional development.
  3. Take online courses to learn new skills or enhance existing ones.
  4. Practice your skills regularly, even if you're not working on a project.

Remember, the goal is not just to learn but to apply what you've learned in your work. This kind of proactive learning is key to building resilience and adaptability in creative careers. So, keep learning, keep growing, and see how it transforms your creative journey!

Seek out new opportunities

We've all felt that thrill when we stumble upon something new; a new flavor of ice cream, a new song from a favorite artist, or maybe even a new route for your morning run. It's refreshing, isn't it? This, my friend, is the beauty of new opportunities. They bring a fresh perspective, a renewed energy, and yes, they're a major part of building resilience and adaptability in creative careers. So let's talk about why and how you should be seeking out new opportunities.

  • Break the Monotony: New opportunities shake things up a bit. They break the monotony and bring a sense of excitement to your work.
  • Expand Your Skillset: With each new opportunity, you learn something new. You gain a new skill or improve an existing one, helping you become more adaptable.
  • Build Resilience: New opportunities often come with new challenges. Tackling these challenges head-on builds your resilience, making you stronger and more capable.
  • Grow Your Network: When you seek out new opportunities, you meet new people. This can help you build a strong network, which can be a great resource in your creative career.

It sounds great, right? But how do you find these opportunities? The answer is quite simple:

  1. Be active on professional networking sites and platforms related to your field.
  2. Participate in online forums and communities where opportunities are often shared.
  3. Reach out to mentors or peers for advice and leads.
  4. Never stop learning, because knowledge is often the gateway to new opportunities.

Remember, every opportunity, no matter how small, is a chance for growth. So, keep your eyes open and never shy away from trying something new. It's all a part of the journey in building resilience and adaptability in creative careers. So, ready to seize the day?

If you're eager to learn more about resilience and adaptability in the creative world, don't miss the workshop 'Building A Sustainable Career As A Multidisciplinary Artist' by Rosa van Iterson. This workshop offers valuable insights and tips on how to navigate and thrive in your creative career, no matter the challenges you may face.