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Coexisting Truths—Creatives in the Workplace

Coexisting Truths is a name for the duality of our experiences at work. We have simultaneous dark and light experiences, high and low, fun and frustrating. Understanding the concept of coexisting truths is important, because it will help you thrive by becoming aware of what may be holding you back.

Here are two examples to illustrate the point:

1. Coexisting truth: Suzanne was excited about her designs AND she didn’t want to present them.

Situation
Suzanne is a thoughtful and talented designer. She understands the strategic objectives and creates design solutions that are on brand and engaging to the appropriate audience. AND Suzanne doesn’t think she’s a good presenter.

Danger
Suzanne will hold herself back if she doesn’t acknowledge her dual experience with designing and presenting her work.

Thrive Opportunity
Improve presentation skills by acknowledging the need and taking action such as:

  • Asking for feedback and guidance from her boss/colleagues
  • Privately listing the ways in which to improve and doing them
  • Taking a presentation skills class
  • Working with an individual coach to improve presentation skills


2. Coexisting truth: James is great at PowerPoint AND he finds it boring.

Situation
James is a master at creating engaging and targeted PowerPoint presentations. He understands the limitations and opportunities within the software and delivers outstanding information design solutions. AND he’s bored by it! James wants to use his information design skills in another software such as InDesign.

Danger
Over time James will do the PowerPoint with less and less vigor if he allows stagnation to seep into his daily work life. His reputation will suffer and his opportunities for growth as a result.

Thrive Opportunity
Continue delivering outstanding PowerPoint presentations while simultaneously pursuing InDesign opportunities by taking action such as:

  • Discussing the desire to work in InDesign, as well as PowerPoint, with boss
  • Start playing in InDesign during quiet periods or off hours to hone skills
  • Identifying ways in which to contribute above and beyond the PowerPoint projects and offering to help colleagues
  • Last resort: look for a new job if above steps were unsuccessful


Think about your own Coexisting Truths for a moment:

 

  • Do you like to give creative feedback AND dislike giving feedback on professionalism and project management skills?
  • Are you skilled at advocating for your team AND find the politics exhausting?
  • Is midnight your best working time AND you need to be in the office during business hours?


Start listing your Coexisting Truths and then follow the formula above (situation, danger and thrive opportunity) to determine steps towards advancing in your career.

 

It can be hard to tackle your Coexisting Truths, AND it’s totally worth it.


Rena DeLevie

A people-oriented transformational leader, Cella Consultant Rena DeLevie has spent almost 30 years in the creative industry, including significant retail experience (Talbots, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, dressbarn), first as an art director, then in creative operations/management. Rena has extensive experience in corporate management trainings, workshops, one-on-one coaching and presentations. She writes on the subject of leadership and management and has been interviewed on HuffPost LIVE, among other media, about Compassionate Management, a subject on which Rena is passionate. In addition Rena is a core member of Cella’s professional development team featured at Beyond the Creative and Creative Manager Boot Camp training seminars.  

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