For a person that spends their energy on creating and making primarily for the purpose of someone else's agenda, I'd say one of the top 3 lessons to learn quickly is how to let go.
It is easy to make things personal, and hold onto some sort of sense of entitlement because of the investment we make in each project. It is different to a usual desk job where your energy is mostly mental as you pour over your work. But for the creators and makers, the energy is more emotional. Our feelings are what drives us to create because we all know art that moves people to understanding a message or capturing a notion is the best kind.
This can be so taxing, just like any job - but in an emotional way. Which makes things a little complicated. We find it hard not to make it about self when our work is rejected. We find it hard to move on if an idea isn't working. We feel our way through our work, and our emotions can be raw in the wake of the ins-and-outs of a projects politics.
This lesson has been a painful one for me. I struggled with it for many years before learning how to let go. It comes with a few layers of understanding, I believe; I had to trust myself, believe my investments were worth it even if the work was rejected, and not hang all my hopes on my own interpretation of a project and its purpose. Learning to appreciate design as a whole rather than approach projects with a pretentious, one-track mind (my style and ideas are elite compared to yours) attitude has been a huge game changer for me. I found that letting go of me and my narrow view, failing on purpose, and being hungry to learn has been the only way forward to becoming a better and more well-rounded designer.
Now I can view design from a perspective that appreciates the work, the talent and the ideas (the investment) behind it rather than judge it based on my small idea of what I personally like or do not like and how I might approach it. But while I appreciate design in this way I am also becoming very clear on what my strengths are and who I am as a creator and maker.
Getting rid of habits that have you comparing yourself to others, stewing on bitter thoughts in the hope that you'll feel like a more established or talented designer, and detoxing yourself of intimidation that keeps you small in your ways is a good exercise for the creators and makers to stay open, honest and genuine in our work. It helps us create work that is rich and flourished rather than stagnant and underdeveloped. I now make this detox process a part of my world every so often to keep me in a state of mind that brings growth and strength. The shrinking feeling when you are comparing yourself to others or dragging other creatives down to feel a sense of placement is something I don't want to cultivate in my creative process.
I now feel a new level of excitement when I create, even if the work never sees the light of day, because to me it is an opportunity to better my skills, learn new lessons and become cultured as I learn other people's ideas around their requests. That is an investment worth the emotional roller coaster ride.
This detox idea also allows me to be really careful as to the projects I take on. Because I understand the investment and I respect it now, I only take on projects that resonate with me and leave me feeling mostly fulfilled rather than drained. This has been such a welcomed shift in my world. I find so much joy in my work now that I am focussing on projects that make me feel alive and connect with me on a deeper level than just the exchange of service for money.
So cheers to a good detox!