Nature vs. nurture. A question we’ve been battling since the dawn of time, and yet no definitive answer. That is until now. In 2012, I gave birth to twin girls who are polar opposites: Stella Avery and Violet Harper. Stella is a replica of my husband: tall, blonde, fair skinned, physically and emotionally powerful, fiercely independent. Violet is my mini me: petite, brunette, tan, full of imagination, brown-eyed, and full of love. Two years later, they are exactly who they were at Cedars-Sinai hospital when they were born six weeks before their intended due date. Watching them grow up has been a matter of validating and honoring a destiny I was already certain of.
So let me tell you: it’s nature.
That was simple, right?
Except it’s not just about nature. It’s about knowing your nature, and building a life around it that supports it, that allows you to thrive to your fullest potential. And that I suppose is where nurture comes in. But I’m not referencing parental nurture. I’m talking about self-nurture.
When I was a child, 95% of my extra-curricular activities revolved around the arts. Playing the piano, writing music, creating art, singing, you name it. And I loved it. In the era before smartphones and other digital distractions, my boom box was my best friend, and my tape (and later CD) collection is what kept me alive. My name was Melody after all. I was born to be a creative. (See, nature again.)
But then something happened. In sixth grade, it was time to apply for competitive prep schools. And I applied, and didn’t get in. And that was crushing. My competitive light switch got turned on, and for the next 10+ years, it was all about the climb. From high school at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, to a double major at USC (magna cum laude), law school at Loyola (cum laude), and plum job at one of LA’s premier law firms, I climbed all the way to the top. And standing at the top, I left my creativity behind in my dust, all the way at the bottom. You can say I accidentally left myself behind.
And so, despite being successful in my career, I felt a bit lost. Disconnected. Unfulfilled. “This is it?” I used to ask myself, looking at the women at the firm three, five, ten years ahead of me. I was staring at my destiny, and I didn’t like it. So after one year, I took a leap. A leap from the top of the ladder back down to my creative base. I quit my job and wrote The Agency: Hollywood Talent, CIA Managed, a novel about a powerful woman living a dual existence: Hollywood talent agent by day, CIA operative by night. And that’s when everything changed.
After publishing my novel, I launched Write In Color. Write In Color started as a writing consulting company with one employee: me. I would help individuals and businesses with their writing needs (starting with my network of entrepreneurial friends). But as my clients’ needs shifted and grew, my business shifted and grew as well. It took a lot of work, but after two years, I moved from my home into an office, and have grown a staff.
Today, my team and I focus on personal and corporate branding. Whether I’m developing a modern resume for a professional, or a completely new identity for a business, I use my creativity on a daily basis to help others shine. The best part is that I’ve cultivated a business where I’m able to have a work life balance. I have a talented team in place to support me, and therefore I play a meaningful role in my daughters’ lives. Instead of dealing with piles of paper and people in conflict, I’m surrounded by pantone colors and individuals seeking creative expression. Creativity instead of conflict. Not bad, right? And because I’m happy, working hard, and honoring my creative nature, I’ve been successful.
Write In Color is the top-rated resume service on Yelp for Los Angeles, and the design-side of the business is thriving as well. We’ve branded or rebranded everything from one of LA’s top residential real estate firms, to companies in fashion, healthcare, tech, entertainment, you name it. We’re able to offer a turnkey service that’s driven by exceptional content. The resume service is something I’m also very passionate about, because we get to connect with people one-on-one and empower them to feel really good about themselves, and excited about their job hunts. Just last week, I sent a first draft to a client and her response was, “I now have a little hope in my heart.” That hope is what I’m excited about cultivating. Because confidence alone can be the difference, especially for women.
So if you’re unhappy in your career, ask yourself: am I honoring my nature? Think about who you were as a child, and find a way to connect with the things you loved before practicality, competitiveness or circumstance got in the way. And then nurture the hell out of your nature until you create the career of your dreams. It takes a lot of work, but you’ll get there.
Melody Godfred, Esq. is the founder of Write In Color, Inc., a full service personal and professional branding firm in Los Angeles. In 2014, the Los Angeles Business Journal honored her as a Woman Making A Difference award nominee. Melody is passionate about creative expression, especially through color, and her twin toddlers Stella Avery and Violet Harper. To experience the Write In Color’s world, visit Melody on Instagram @writeincolor and Facebook @writeincolor or visit www.writeincolor.com. If you happen to be a writer or designer looking for some freelance work, Write In Color is always looking for new talent.