Monday, May 28, 2012

Can Artist and Alpha Mix?

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. - Dale Carnegie

Some time ago (actually, in January 2012) I began taking the craft of writing seriously. I cast off several old habits in the process and made the conscious choice to dedicate my time to becoming the best writer I could be. I’ve had a few successes, but my failures have been more affecting of my personal drive and dedication than any success could be.

Two books are in the pipeline for traditional publishing, the process still months away from completion. While I was ecstatic when I first received the news of their acceptance for publishing, this “high” wore off quickly. I suppose that’s the downside of being an Alpha-Type A personality. No amount of success is ever good enough and every failure is another opportunity to earn success on another day. A friend recently sent me a link to an article in Psychology Today regarding the Alpha Female. I had one of those “damn, that’s me” revelations as I read through the list of typical personality characteristics.

One thing about being an Alpha: it’s hard to do. To maintain that level of dominance in all areas of her life, an Alpha Female burns so hot that she pushes herself to extremes. In personal relationships, this is catastrophic. In business, this is exploitative. Finding the balance is essential and I regret to inform you that I’m still seeking that perfect chord of harmony between mind and body.

You see, to an Alpha like myself those small successes are like a shot of adrenaline. They jolt through the body and burn off quickly. Failures, however, are like a chronic illness. They’re constantly there...reminding us to work harder, smarter, longer. I engage in what some call an extreme sport, Crossfit. When I try to lift a weight and I fail I must, by intrinsic design, keep trying. The same rule applies when I write. When a publisher turns me down, I go through the manuscript I’ve submitted, often painstakingly, trying to find the one word that got the work chucked.

I sometimes wonder how many of the great artists were Alpha in nature. I think they were, and I’d like to think that I’m in good company.

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