Voices

How to overcome a creative crisis of confidence in the midst of Coronavirus

Progression, promotion, project speed and scale; in the midst of a global pandemic the familiar refrain from the creative industry is a sense of an individual lack of momentum.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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We’ve already looked at ways to stay productive. Yet another story is also emerging; a crisis of confidence that comes amid a marketplace in which so many aspects of working life are outside the control of any one individual. 

Then there are those across the industry who have had their job put on pause, furloughed, because of the crisis. For people whose status is strongly aligned to their job title, it is a significant challenge.

As the creative industries make tentative steps out of lockdown the conversation surrounding individual wellbeing is gathering pace; nonetheless because the consumers that brands are seeking to connect with are grappling with the same anxieties. The mental gymnastics required to thrive during this crisis are a significant challenge. Both for those who have lost people they love, spent extended time alone, or on the flip side had to devote so much time and energy to navigating the needs of others.

When you add in the pressures of the drive for self-improvement in lockdown it is easy to see why self-confidence is on the wane. 

With this in mind as the industry looks to rebuild, we asked a selection of industry experts to share how best to overcome a pandemic induced crisis of confidence. 

There’s not a right, or simple answer to navigating this new normal everyone’s banging on about. But if we can suggest one thing, it’s to say how you feel.

Danny Pallett & Charlotte Hugh

Danny Pallett & Charlotte Hugh

D&C-Dark-Horses.jpg

Creatives

Dark Horses

How can I write about how to deal with a crisis of confidence when I’ve cried four times this week alone? 

When we were asked to share our advice for this article, we instantly felt like we had nothing we could offer, as both Danny and I, like many, have been struggling with this exact issue during lockdown. 

But just like any brief that lands in our inbox, we sat down, via Google hangout, and started talking. 

Because that’s just what we do. We talk. 

And we keep talking. All day. Every day. Yes, even on weekends. WhatsApp’s, calls, texts, Zooms, Hangouts, Instagram DMs – Danny’s personal fave – and social distance garden visits. 

And we realised, whilst we’ve been feeling this way, we’ve got through it by talking.

Talking about how we feel; the good, and the bad. Getting mad, getting upset, worrying; lots of worrying. Sometimes separately, sometimes together. 

But without talking about it, getting it off our chests, it would all still be inside. 

And don’t get us wrong, we still have days where even talking about it gets us nowhere. But here we are 115 days later, and we’ve made it this far. We may as well keep going right? 

Now, we know that not everyone works in a team like we do. READ: is lucky enough to work with their best friend.

And there’s not a right, or simple answer to navigating this new normal everyone’s banging on about. But if we can suggest one thing, it’s to say how you feel. 

Talk to your team, if you feel you can. Your friends. Your family. Because they will listen. Just like you would, and probably do, listen to them. And I bet you’re telling them it’ll be okay right? Because it will. 

But if you’re missing a cheerleader, we’re here and ready to listen. 

This may not be the answer for you, so we hope within this article you find something which hits the nail on the head. We’re just extremely grateful to have one another and to have you all listening now too.  

It’s important to remember not to take a global pandemic personally; it’s not a reflection of what you’re capable of.

Charlotte Khushi

Charlotte Khushi

Charlotte K_Bite Mag.jpeg

Senior Art Director

MullenLowe London

Re-briefs, budget cuts, shortened timelines; being in the creative industry you’re used to riding the rollercoaster of emotions that come along with most projects. But in these “unprecedented times” it’s normal to feel shaken up by all of the twists and turns that coronavirus has brought us. 

As creative people, we’re built to think on our feet and create something in a crisis, however, coronavirus might not be your big career break and there is no shame in that. 

Many have had projects pulled and lost their jobs but it’s important to remember not to take a global pandemic personally; it’s not a reflection of what you’re capable of. Take the pressure off and take stock of what’s actually in your control; change the things you can change rather than being consumed by the things you can’t. 

Lockdown has meant staring at the same four walls for months, leaving many starved of the human connections and experiences that so often influence or even validate our work. For others, the pandemic has impacted their personal life so much that it’s stripped them away from their job entirely. Ultimately leaving a lot of people feeling stuck. 

However, just because you’re not in an office or experiencing life as you used too, it doesn't mean you’re void of value. Bad experiences shape us just as much as the good ones, so keep looking forward and adapting.

Choose if you want to be remembered as a good person or a not-so-good person when 'all this' becomes our new normal.

Sherry Collins

Sherry Collins

Sherry Collins.png

Founder, Editor & Creative Director

The Pitch Fanzine

Choose if you want to be remembered as a good person or a not-so-good person when “all this” becomes our new normal.

The decisions you make over the coming months will impact the rest of your life. If you choose to be the good person, you’ll get through this and come out the other side happier. If you choose the other route, to not help those around you, then guess what? You’ll still be remembered. 

A crisis can bring out the worst in people, especially in the creative arena. An artist friend, Marcus Lyall, recently emailed me and said a campaign for a well-known brand appeared to be based on his artwork, and without even a mention of a credit. He was upset, and he had every right to be. The creative culprits had even used a similar tagline, but claimed not to have seen his work, created seven years ago and still up on his website. This is not cool.

So, if you’re having a crisis of confidence in your creativity, while on semi-lockdown, be the good person.

In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, we all need to get better at practicing patience.

Ant Jackson

Ant Jackson

Ant Jackson, Mirum.jpg

Senior Copywriter

Mirum

You’re not alone. Everyone’s feeling some sort of fear right now, no matter what their level of expertise. Talk, listen, support each other. We’re in this together. 

Go easy on yourself. You’re not feeling like your normal self because the world isn’t normal. Remember, your current circumstances have been impacted by the pandemic, not you, your talent, or your capability. 

Assess your situation. Write down what’s working and what isn’t. Be realistic about what’s within your control to change and what isn’t right now. Everything’s temporary, so even though it may not feel like it, you won’t be stuck feeling like this forever. 

Practice ‘yeah and’ instead of ‘yeah but’. When things don’t go to plan, it’s natural to feel less positive about things. But self-limiting beliefs are beliefs, not truths. Keep telling yourself you can, and eventually you will. 

Focus on your strengths. Reflect on what you’ve achieved so far in life. Think about what you’re most proud of and why. Remind yourself of the reasons why you’re good, and if you’re struggling, ask those around you to remind you instead. 

Give yourself a break. Close your laptop, pause the job applications, get out of the house, go for a walk, get lost in a film. Whatever recharges you, do more of it. We all need energy more than ever.

Keep dreaming. Create a vision, set goals for the future, get excited about what’s to come. The world may have slowed down, but it will speed up again. 

Think like Guinness. In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, we all need to get better at practicing patience. Good things do come to those who wait; sometimes we just have to wait a little longer.

Take some time for you, then reach out for help and solve the problem tomorrow with a clearer mindset.

Rich Miles

Rich Miles

Richard Miles Headshot.jpg

CEO & Co-Founder

The Diversity Standards Collective

This story really rings true to me. As the owner of business that’s not even a year old, every month of revenue really counts. Lockdown happened and clients went into ‘business critical spend’ mode and the knock-on effects for me were huge. We lost literally all of our work, and it wasn’t like I could go anywhere to get more work, because people weren’t investing in new projects, especially D&I. Mentally this was really tough; the huge world crisis has caused a huge internal crisis for me, to the point where I found myself on my own, crying in my car, blaming myself for the failure. Don’t worry; it’s OK for men to cry.

When things go wrong, or not the way you had planned, it’s so easy to lose confidence and blame yourself for failures, and at the time I couldn’t see a way out. Luckily, I have a 4-year-old, and the situation I was in meant I had only her to focus on, which ended up being a guiding light. For the first time in a while I had time to focus only on her, to have fun, to laugh and not to check my emails, take calls or even mentally worry about work. It was great.

As an industry we talk about setting ourselves goals and in order to progress we must have a plan and really drive to make it happen, so much so that when those dreams don’t work, you fall hard. I know this isn’t applicable to every situation but my advice to people when things go wrong is to stop focusing on the negative and re-focus on something that brings you joy, or happiness, whatever that may be, even if that’s just for 24 hours. The world won’t end in a day, so stop beating yourself up and paint, or run, or watch endless amounts of Netflix in your pants, and embrace it. I’d like to give you a real business type advice but actually in times when we struggle, we need to forget business, forget work and re-focus on the things that we love about ourselves. Take some time for you, then reach out for help and solve the problem tomorrow with a clearer mindset.

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