The Artist That Hides Within

Do you have hidden artistic capabilities or interests? Are you confident art is just not your thing in any shape or form? How do you know?

Many people who do not describe themselves as artistic are quite endowed with creative gifts. Often, they are unaware because they have been busy pursuing other paths in their lives or careers. Sometimes, a person’s artistic capabilities were expressed back in their childhood or adolescent years but have since become long forgotten. Maybe you played in the marching band or acted in a school play. Perhaps you helped design the yearbook. Maybe you used to sing in the choir or wrote poetry. Then, you went off to college, began your career, and ultimately forgot all about it. You are just too busy these days!

Most people who are highly artistic know it and do their best to express it in and outside of work. They often pursue careers in the arts, or other creatively connected fields. Careers in graphic design, advertising, writing, music, video production, photography, drama, dance, and the likes are common for highly artistic people.

Artistic Endeavors

We measure one’s motivational need for “Artistic Endeavors” on the CDR Drivers & Rewards Assessment. This measure tells us how driven one is to enjoy artistic pursuits. If someone has a high need for this driver, there are five sub-facets that pinpoint what type of artistic endeavors would be of most (or least) interest to the individual.

Artistic Endeavors – This dimension as a primary driver is associated with a passion for the arts, strong interests in working in artistic fields of endeavor, and in spending time with people who share artistic interests and a lifestyle organized around opportunities for creative self-expression.

Sub Facets:

  • Art as Diversion – enjoy artistic activities such as: visiting museums, reading novels, listening to classical music, practice art as a hobby
  • Artistic Devotion – see art as leading to fulfillment, view art and literature as one of life’s great treasures
  • Artful Career – prefer a job that involves creative self-expression, artistic jobs are high callings
  • Aversion to the Commonplace – dislike redundant architecture and décor, avoid people who don’t present themselves in a tasteful manner
  • Creatively Gifted Friends – get a charge out of artistic-types, like to socialize with creative people

People with high scores typically need to work in a colorful and/or bright office environment. A window with a view is ideal for them; they don’t do well in gray cubes. They will constantly leave their workspace (unwittingly) to seek the visual color and light stimulation they need.

What is really interesting is that some people that have this need are either unaware of it or suppress it entirely. This is because their career does not naturally endorse artistic tasks. When we coach people with high scores who come up blank thinking about anything they do that is artistic, we ask them to try something they may have thought about doing, even if it was years ago. When they report back to us, they usually have found some hidden talents. I recall someone who started playing guitar, another who began stained glass work, and yet another became a master gardener. The lack of time, fear, and years lost held them back from using their artistic talents.

Real Stories – Nancy

I was one of those people. As a child, I was highly competitive. I was the middle child of five. My older sister Joann was known as the artist, and I as the “jock.” Years later, I picked up a new hobby – painting in the backyard while my children swam in the pool. I had always been curious to know if I could paint, so I went for it. I purchased paints and brushes, a guidebook, and other basic materials. You should know I cannot draw past stick figure level... but I was surprised to learn that I could actually paint! I was probably poor in technique, given my lack of formal training, but I could paint pictures that people actually liked! I paint several things now in watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media.

I don’t have much time to devote to it, but when I can dedicate a Sunday afternoon to paint, I am in another world. It is peaceful and allows me to try something fun. I don’t find myself judging my work – as I expect it to be at an amateurish level – so I’m able to enjoy myself without setting a high bar. I can tear it up or simply start over if it is a real mess. It is especially nice to have zero self-imposed pressure.

 One of my paintings that is currently hanging in our Stafford, TX office.
One of my paintings that is currently hanging in our Stafford, TX office.

Real Stories – Bill

Then there was Bill, the head of a sales department for a high-tech Japanese company whom I coached. Before coaching Bill, I had been told he was a concert level pianist. But then I saw that he only scored about 11% (out of 100%) in Artistic Endeavors. I was concerned about what might be wrong with his assessment results as I prepared to coach him.

During the questioning part of our coaching session, I learned that Bill had been raised as part of a military family and he was forced to take piano. He was repulsed by his piano teacher. For some more background, he was also gifted in math and quantitative thinking and earned an electrical engineering degree. Anyway, he shared that he does not like playing the piano because he was forced to learn under duress. He plays now because his family and friends like it – he was just naturally good at it. So, the data was correct. Being good at something, or even truly gifted, does not mean you must enjoy it! When applying this to your career path, you need to be good at something AND love it to be truly successful

Artistic Endeavors may or may not be what brings you joy. What is important is that when you are indulging your specific Drivers, you cannot be negatively stressed at the same time. If you find a job that supports your Driver & Reward needs, your job will be fulfilling, energizing, and enriching.

Drivers and Reward Facets

There are nine other intrinsic CDR Drivers and Reward facets that you may find rewarding. Be sure to understand which ones you value most.

  • Business & Finance – money, compensation or investments, economic issues
  • Amusement & Hedonism – a need for fun, self-indulgence, humor, and living life to fullest
  • Companionship & Affiliation – close friendships in and outside of work
  • Fame & Feedback – need for recognition, feedback, praise, and visibility
  • Humanitarian Efforts – desire for “hands on helping” to directly help the less fortunate
  • Power & Competition – status seeking, competitive, seeking upward mobility
  • Moral Platform – life evolving around unwavering values and beliefs
  • Scientific Reasoning – fascination with technology, scientific analysis, and discovery
  • Safety & Security – need for long term financial, employment, and personal security

The CDR Drivers and Rewards Module Debrief in CDR-U Coach goes through each of these facets in great detail. Furthermore, your avatar coach will help you understand how your specific drivers manifest in your own life.

Finding the Right Fit

Most people have more than one Driver from the list above that stimulates their passion, interest, and performance. Also, clusters of Drivers can be found by industry. Bankers have high scores in Business & Finance. Those in the travel industry typically have high Amusement & Hedonism scores. Researchers and high-tech professionals tend to score highly in Scientific Reasoning. These Drivers become organizational values and can be very strongly impact a company’s culture, resulting in inclusivity or exclusivity.

I once coached a man who worked in sales at a bank. He was miserable, absolutely hated his job. He scored very low on Business & Finance and very high in Amusement & Hedonism. Bankers average under 10% in Amusement & Hedonism… meaning they run a very buttoned down and formal work environment. I helped this client see he wasn’t a fit – he needed something where the work and community was full of fun, laughter, and lightness. He now has a job in chef training and sales… and he loves it.

Bottom line, learning what specifically motivates you and your employees will help you to keep a happy, satisfied, energized, highly productive, and loyal team.

And remember, some of you may be great artists just hiding within your day job!

Nancy Parsons

President, CDR-U