It’s important to know why you do what you do. No, not for the money. It should never be all about the money!
It really is this simple:
I am in the business of helping small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who want to effectively communicate with their clients and still maintain a thriving family life.
As a business owner you don’t have time to become a dynamo at design, advertising, marketing concepts and tools, what not to do, where your business needs to be online to create buzz for your business or even where not to be, how to present a cohesive message that creates urgency in your client quickly — ultimately leading to sales.
Of course, this is what everyone says they want. But we are really stubborn and we think we can do it all and be everything to all people. Well… how is it working for you so far.
I vow to cut out anything that doesn’t align itself with the above statement. Because it really boils down to these two things: serving others and nurturing relationships — so this should be the underlying purpose or “why” anyway right? No one ever got to the end of their lives and said, “Gee, I wish I had made more money and spent more time at the office.”
Take a moment to share the “why” that drives you and/or your business.
There are so many inspiring things out there in the world, especially in the design community.
My experience putting together event and wedding invitations has been exciting, though nothing compared to this unique wedding invitation with a paper record player! I sometimes wish I had time to just stroll around the various paper stores and soak up all the newest trends or pull things apart and figure out how they are supposed to work.
Another idea I stumbled upon today was a philanthropic effort that began with a simple coat-sleeping-bag concept from a design student that became The Detroit Empowerment Plan by housing and employing homeless women to create the new product at no cost for homeless people who wanted and needed it.
Design students idea for the Homeless becomes The Detroit Empowerment Plan
Of all the cool things that can be done, the “Wow Factor” of all these neat ideas and revolutionary concepts seems so empty if it doesn’t solve a problem or have a lasting effect on the society around it. The ideas and trends which constantly shape our world, politics, the way we communicate, and do business is … dare I say, fun to explore; yet I recognize that I simply want to have made some good effect on the world around me when I am gone. I don’t want my life to simply be the selfish acquisition of status and stuff! There’s nothing wrong with having nice things or creating a good life … but I desire something so intangible that I find it hard to see the purpose in just a decent design.
Is anything we do helping anyone in a lasting way? Maybe we aren’t supposed to know or maybe the true purpose hasn’t been revealed yet. So I continue, each day doing whatever I can and seeking… ever seeking a betterlife. No, perhaps not the “American Dream”, but perhaps the life you imagine you would have peace about in your final moments.
Inspiration sometimes strikes at inopportune times: in the shower, in a dream, on your morning run or commute. How do you capture these fantastic ideas?
As a designer or creative thinker, you may have noticed that those “aha” moments happen at the most inopportune times.
One of my favorite cartoonists, from FreelanceSwitch.com, showcased this concept at one point depicting a freelancer who couldn’t get a breakthrough idea until finally taking a break for a shower. The perfect idea hit at the very moment he was fully lathered up and not at all able to jot anything down. Ironic. Comical. And I have to say this has happened to me more often than not, usually when I am just falling asleep, running on the treadmill, or driving down the road. The worst is when I dream about projects I am working on and then I can’t remember if it was real or a dream.
As embarrassing as it sounds, I recently had to clarify with my boss on one point about a product I am promoting. Sure enough, I dreamed the entire thing. I wish I could say my dream lead to a great idea, but… at least it rendered a hearty laugh!
Some productivity gurus promote the following tips for capturing great ideas:
keep a small notepad near your bed
utilize taskpad, notepad, or voicememo apps on your phone
of course, you can always paper your home office in Post its… if you enjoy the organized chaos it creates.
Find a technique that works best for you and keep plugging away at your project one step at a time. Let us know what works for you.
There have been many great designers who have gone before me; Cipe Pineles, Saul Bass, Paula Sher, and so many more. Some were self taught while others were highly skilled and educated in their craft. They were and are so artistically endowed. Personally, I have always found more inspiration from creating clarity in visual communication and balancing creativity and supplemental information.
I recognize that the best service I can provide includes communication for business and the ever changing economic environment. I focus on listening, and strategizing with my clients to meet their goals.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”
It seems that I keep grasping at the accounts of storms in the Bible during the life of Christ where the disciples showed very little faith. More than that… they panicked. But I know I would have been right along with them shaking him awake in the back of that boat and crying out for him to save me. So what is the purpose of these storms in life? Jesus calms the waves and rescues the disciples repeatedly in his time with them. Is it merely meant to make us recognize who is the ultimate authority in our lives? I recognize it, acknowledge it, claim it as a promise and still the waves seem to be brewing in the distance always threatening to wipe out whatever hope has emerged from the dark clouds. I have given up my control repeatedly, daily, and pray before each endeavor. So what is it? Why is the storm still brewing? What lesson have I not learned yet? I do trust that God will make a way for me to get employment and get out on my own. But what is stopping the process? Is it something I am doing or not doing? Is it my pride? I didn’t think I even had anything left to be proud about!
Today I am praying for clarity so that I can see what needs to get done and not spend time on useless things. Praying for wisdom and courage, confidence and perseverance as I finish school and look for work. Also praying for thick skin to take whatever critiques I may obtain so that I can learn and grow from them. Finally, I am praying for sensitivity in my own spirit as I deal with other people and their imperfections; and patience for others as they deal with my imperfections.
Updated: 7:00 PM
Ok, I have to give thanks now! I called my student advisor yesterday to find out just how many more terms they will string me along and I found out that I only have 14 credits left on my degree program but I have another required class left after that which they will not allow me to graduate without. They said they would get back to me about switching me out of one of my non-required classes into this class this term so I can Graduate in March! Got the call to confirm that they did it even though the required class was full and everything looked like it was not likely to work out! God is so good. I needed to be done! I have been working very hard and the stress of not having finished yet was wearing me thin while I am out of work and can’t seem to get anything in my field without the Bachelor’s degree. So, recapping, yes… I will be graduation with a Visual Communications BS degree this March 2008 … as long as I pass both of these classes. 😉 Keep me in your prayers please.