When we think of an artist, we envision a tormented soul wearing a beret and a turtleneck, painting with oil on a canvas. Yet despite this stereotype, there are many other types of artists. In fact, you have the opportunity to be one yourself, regardless of your field or job title.
Beyoncé is an incredible musical artist, while Lin Manuel Miranda creates art on Broadway. We generally accept labeling artists in fields such as music, dance, fashion, interior design, poetry, and sculpture, but why can’t a lawyer also be an artist in her craft? Or a customer service rep, a corporate controller, or a director of human resources?
Instead of defining art in the traditional, restrictive manner, let’s explore how we can all be artists. To me, we can inject artistry into any role with this new definition:
Artistry = skill + imagination
Yes, someone who is an expert at interpretive dance creates art by combining skill plus their own imagination to create something fresh. But so can a mechanic, a sales person, or an industrial engineer. The output may not be a song or a painting, but the fusion of skill and imagination can yield artistic results in any line of work.
Maybe you’re a healthcare artist. Or a financial services artist. A transportation artist, real estate artist or logistics artist. Instead of apologizing for injecting some creative wonder into our roles, let’s recognize that artistry is a core job responsibility if we want to deliver great work and ultimately advance in our careers.
Since all human beings are creative, what’s stopping you from being an artist in your craft? To get started, try practicing small creative acts on a daily basis. Don’t worry about breakthrough or masterpieces, try sending an email in a more creative manner. Or making a sales call, solving a problem, or even making lunch. A high volume of daily imagination will help you build the habit, awakening your inner artist. Seek out micro-innovations and the big transformations will take care of themselves.
Remove the pressure on yourself to be perfect and replace it with the freedom to explore. If you were learning a new language, you wouldn’t be fluent on day one. Artistry, too, takes practice.
In today’s competitive environment, we can’t afford to repress our artistry. Creativity, after all, is the one thing that can’t be outsourced or automated. Whether you’re a retail artist, a food service artist, or a refrigerator repair artist, the more imagination you inject into your work, the more achievement you’ll enjoy.
You already have the skills, and your inventiveness is there whether you know it or not. Bring it to the surface, and before long you’ll be enjoying Grammy-like results.
Here’s to the artist within.