rgb happiness

The secrets of a creative, fulfilling career in RGB

As a creative being, I have the honour to to enjoy financial gain for my creative abilities.

Over my 12 year portfolio career as designer, business development manager, writer, blogger and lecturer I have been self employed for half of it. Whether employed by others or myself, I have always marvelled at being able to go to work, think creatively, and be paid for my time to do this.

It still seems amazing to me.

My posts on creative business balance and working in your flow gained a wide readership recently, and obviously struck a chord out there in cyberspace. In this fast paced social media age the way we tap into that creative flow changes, and it also becomes easier to ignore the need to develop creatively when constantly ‘plugged in”. I adore blogging, which is one of my favourite ever creative pursuits, yet giving myself permission to do creative work away from the omnipresent screen can be very difficult.

I indulged myself in allowing some time to sit and paint last night for the first time in ages. Painting is something I love; I find it very relaxing, I tap into my flow, it inspires me in many many ways by providing the right brain frequency for brilliant ideas to operate in unchallenged by constant chatter. Yet I rarely do it.

Since having a “proper job” (ie, no longer a student and making creativity without financial gain) I find that I very rarely make time to tap into the other fringe activities that I love to do. I do make use of my Nikon and Instagram on a very regular basis, and these small practices of creative activity gives me a great deal of pleasure. Other things I love such as printmaking, sketching, textile design, painting, I do much less frequently; understandably so though, life as a self employed twin mum with endometriosis and a partner I like to speak to occasionally means that there is not a huge amount of time to indulge my inner artist after work.

The time is there. Even an hour snatched from mindless TV once a week or so reclaims some non essential creativity. I switched off from TV and social media last night to paint, and it took me a while to feel comfortable with it, which troubled me. I am not a fantastically talented artist. I enjoy mark-making, colour blending and the ability to just be with paint, and I find it hard to give myself the go-ahead to do it.

One of my favourite books is by Julia Cameron, called The Artists Way. I have followed this 12 week course twice in my life so far, and each time the outcomes have been dynamic, synchronous and thought provoking. I began writing the first time and within 2 months had paid commissions for travel magazines, my first online culture pieces were commissioned, and I had a regular slot with Daily Candy. The second time, Cherry Sorbet was born. I am probably due a third session this next year to keep my “inner artist”, as Cameron refers to our creative selves, in check. I cannot imagine where the next one will take me…

So, we enjoy doing creative things, and we earn money from doing some of them if we are really lucky. But how about going a step further and aiming for REAL fulfillment and happiness? How about looking more closely and checking in with the ratios that are going on – how much time do we allocate to activities that nurture inner creativity?

For my next trick, I will go old school with a Venn diagram. And, as we are talking creative geekery here, let’s use the RGB additive colour model. Oh, I do know how to treat you Diva readers!

So, we have things we CAN do, here represented by the red circle; so things you are good at, skilled in, trained/qualified etc.

We also have things we LOVE doing, over there in blue. The stuff that excites you, you could spend all day doing with a smile on your face.

In the green circle, imagine things you can MAKE MONEY from, skills or activities with a monetised ability.

With the RGB Venn diagram we end up with 4 inner areas, each section acting a little like it’s own SWOT analysis.

The holy grail is the white light in the middle. That illuminated white shape which combines things you love doing with the the things you can do, and can make money from.

The pink area combines things you can do and things you love doing. For these things, make sure you do more of them for your own creative fulfilment and development, without necessarily adding a monetary aspect or demand to them. It’s good to include them as activities to do in your down time, or non-paid time, although if you do what you love it won’t feel like a chore anyway!

The pale blue section represents things you love and things you can make money from. This is great and deserves attention to develop a career you love, but maybe needs attention in terms of ability. If you aren’t skilled or qualified in these, maybe add them to your goals to really beef up that middle white section to be the ultimate happiness zone.

Lastly, the yellow area is where most people are in their careers;  things you can do and get paid for. All this is great in terms of earning a living and putting food on the table and paying rent, but in terms of personal satisfaction and life long happiness? Not so.

Have a look at the RGB venn diagram and see if you can plot where your personal RGB lights shine.

I hope you can find that inner white light. Let me know if you are already there or how you found yours.

Colourful creativity,



For more on self happiness you must also check out the wonderful blog by Gala Darling; her e-books and podcasts are just fabulous.



Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
Work with me, Shop with me, and Chat with me!


  • aunite Lu Lu

    This is so inspiring Jo – making me want to redesign my whole life!! Thanks for the tools! x

  • http://finalfashion.ca Danielle

    Great post! I think it’s absolutely critical to unplug and really experience the analog world on a daily basis to be optimally creative. The way I do it is by not having the internet on my mobile phone. When I’m away from my desk, I’m fully offline, and I find it helps me to be more observant and intrepid.

    Another book you may enjoy which inspires the pursuit of passionate creative work is Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit”.

    • dexdiva

      Ah hey Danielle, thanks for your comment. Switching off is SO needed; today I have spent most of it in PJ’s, albeit with the Mini Divas around, and sure enough, unplug and the ideas come. Will be sure to check out the book too, thanks for the recommendation ;l) xx

  • Pingback: Creative self-employment round up +download()