Douglas Eby on the Inner Dynamics of Creative Visionaries

Douglas Eby of Talent Development Resources at www.TalentDevelop.com and its associated sites, like www.TheInnerActor.com and www.TheInnerEntrepreneur.com, has been researching and writing about psychology and creativity for the last 10 years, and regularly publishes intriguing tidbits about creativity, personality, and more.

I connected with Douglas’s work originally through my interest in highly sensitive people and his site www.HighlySensitive.org.

In the past he was a film journalist and wrote film production articles for Cinefantastique magazine, interviewing numerous actors, writers, and other filmmakers, which helped further his interest in the inner dynamics of creative people, along with his graduate school education in psychology.

Characteristics of Creative Visionaries
Eby describes creative visionaries as people who have a drive, passion, persistence, or consuming commitment to realize their creative ideas. As visionaries, they have a sense of their work being so important, meaningful, and emotionally powerful that they are willing to commit to it and persist with it.

For example, filmmaker James Cameron originally conceived his movie Avatar in the 1970s and finally released it after 4 years in production this year.

He notes that this kind of persistence can be seen as a form of obsession. :)

Common Challenges & Obstacles
Eby notes the following challenges and obstacles often come up for creative visionaries:

  1. Mental Health Issues often come up for creative types. Writers often struggle with mood disorders. Creative work doesn’t provide immunity to those feelings, and in fact they seem to be more prevalent with creatives.
  2. Perfectionism. Creatives often have a burning need to make everything “right.” On the other hand, as Eby notes, James Cameron says, “I’m not a perfectionist, I’m a ‘greatist.’ I just want to make it great.” (Personally, I love that!)
  3. Self Esteem. The dichotomy of feeling entitled and much more talented, creative, and visionary than most people, but simultaneously feeling less than or inadequate (so common for creative types) can wreck havoc with one’s self-esteem.
  4. Fraud & Impostor Feelings. Many creatives feel like frauds or impostors, as if they will be found out as not really being talented. Actors Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman both talk about such feelings.

How to Overcome These Obstacles
You may be helped by these common ways creative visionaries overcome these obstacles:

  1. Receiving Therapy. Many actors and writers talk about therapy and how it has helped them. Actor Heather Graham feels that she creates better characters as a result of her personal work. Self awareness seems to increase creative quality for those who pursue it.
  2. Going Ahead with Your Creative Work Anyway. James Cameron admits to feeling depressed at times and yet going ahead with his work. This is so true for me — as an Enneagram Four who often bumps into feeling down at times, I can’t wait around to be “in the mood” to create.
  3. Seeing Your Work in Larger Terms. James Cameron again is an example of someone with a powerful vision who has a larger perspective on the work he brings to the world. This is one of the keys to making an impact with your creative project or vision.

How to Sustain & Fuel Your Creativity
Eby notes that many creatives are helped by collaboration, if that works for you and is appropriate to your creative process. James Cameron, for instance, hires the most creative people he can find, which helps him keep his ideas active and sharp, and emotions high. Solitary artists like painters and writers may have to fuel themselves in a different way.

Similarly, Eby recommends going with the flow of your creative work — not resisting it — as a way to sustain and fuel your creativity.

On Dealing with Naysayers, Fears, & Doubts
Eby suggests that creative visionaries become conscious of their doubts and fears and how they might get triggered by other people’s doubts and fears. He advises that we question and examine the underlying beliefs and ideas around the messages we receive from others.

Ask, “How true is that?” For example, a common admonishment to artists is that “you can’t make money doing art.” But how true is that really? Are there people out there making money with their creative efforts? (The answer is a resounding yes! in my opinion.) (If you’d like help with quieting these sorts fears and doubts, consider joining my Quiet Your Inner Critic course coming up June 22.)

What Supports Creative Visionaries to Succeed?
To help stay the course as a creative visionary, follow your gut. If you feel driven, called to, or have to take action on creating your creative dream, despite all the fears, doubts, and reasons not to, follow your gut to claim and step into your role as a creative visionary.

Also, pay attention to your emotional life and what holds you back from your creative spirit, expression, and interests. Therapy, coaching, or mentoring may be helpful. Deal with the fear and anxiety you have so you can get on with your creative work. Coaching in particular can provide a sense of responsibility for bringing your creative project to life.


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Want more details? You can listen to the full audio interview here:

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What’s Jenna Up To?

~> Tuesday, June 22, 2010, Jenna kicks off her workshop intensive series, “How to Quiet Your Inner Critic So You Can Stop Holding Back On Your Soul’s Mission.” Register *today* to receive 3 special bonus gifts.

~> Summer 2010. Jenna’s Embrace Your Inner Wisdom teleclass. Details to be announced. Learn to work with one of your greatest gifts as a sensitive soul — your intuition.

~> August 2010. Give Voice to Your Inner Vision Mastermind Retreat (in-person). Dates to be announced. Clarify your unique vision to implement your Life Purpose in a specific, step-by-step plan.

Comments

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Yes, persistence accurately describes a creative visionary’s drive to get a project done. It’s a word I always use when asked to describe my strengths. The times I set a big intention to so something, it consumed me. I kept moving forward like I had no other choice but to keep my eyes on the creative prize. And I made it!

    Good interview! Thanks. Giulietta

  2. What a fantastic article! So much to ponder and reflect upon, not to mention follow up on. I was particularly interested in your description of yourself as an Enneagram Four. I’m a Nine, but I’ve never known anyone else (other than my husband, a Seven, whose arm I twisted to read the book with me) who had any idea what I was talking about. Now I’m going to have to go back through the book to refresh my memory. Thanks for all you do.

  3. Fantastic. #2 & #3 definitely resonating. I love the concept of “greatist” I find myself saying “it’s not good enough yet” which is better than what I used to say.

  4. NoelleP says:

    Ha, I love your article excpet for one thing – nothing will ever make me believe James ‘screw-the-sense-think-of-the-money’Cameron is a creative visionary. Insensitive Hack is a better descriptor for the guy who made ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ is just Pocahontas with blue aliens.

    if he’s a creative visionary I’m leaving the club ;-)

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