Creatives

The Reality of Being An Original

Everyone wants to be a pioneer. No one wants the scars that come with going first.

Wedding floral design photo by    Cameron Clark

Wedding floral design photo by Cameron Clark

When up-and-comers decide to do things differently than how the industry has always done them they get labeled as arrogant and naive. Then, when their methods work, they get labeled as lucky.

When people with established businesses decide to change course and try a different tack, they get labeled as desperate.

Everyone wants to be known as an original, as the idea guy, as the first mover, as a pioneer. No one wants to talk about the fact that pioneers have scars.

Scars from mistakes made and errors in judgment.

Scars from overwhelm and letting things fall through the cracks.

Scars from partnerships gone bad, relationships soured, and trust broken.

Scars from losing a lawsuit over your intellectual property and seeing your labor of love awarded to someone else.

Scars from an unexpected, prolonged slow season that resulted in laying off talented people.

Scars from the gossip of competitors who refused to discipline themselves to do the work that results in positive change.

Scars are a reminder that not everything in business is instaperfect or #bosslifegoals, but the most important thing to remember about scars is that they are only created by wounds that are allowed to heal.

Do what you need to to stop the bleeding, stitch yourself up, and keep moving forward. Don’t expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don’t allow that to make you cynical.


Originally published December 2014

How To Be Inspired By Social Media (Instead of Drained)


It’s been said we’re the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. This can be transferred to who we "hang out" with online, as well.

It's easy (and trendy) to blame social media for our problems, but that blame is misplaced. Social media is like money in that it's amoral. It can be used for good or evil (or just to further lazy complacency), depending on how we choose to use it.

If you "learn nothing" from social media, that's on you. Take stock of who and what you allow to shape your thoughts, and raise the bar where necessary. 

If you listen to podcasts or watch educational videos, listen to ones hosted by people who talk about ideas from a point of both expertise and curiosity and who bring a thoughtful perspective to the table. I love On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett. The Stanford Graduate School of Business also puts many of their guest lectures and interviews on YouTube, as do other business schools. On the occasion I listen to podcasts from a business consultant, it is by consultants that I would hire for myself.

If you’re taking an online course, consider taking a free one through MIT, Harvard, Columbia, etc through EdX. They have over a thousand free classes covering multiple areas of interest, including first-rate business courses ranging from Business 101 to marketing to finance to supply chains. 

Follow artists on Instagram who have nothing to do with your field so that you can train yourself to see inspiration everywhere and learn from someone else's very different creative process. 

The purpose of Twitter is mindshare, which is why it is the preferred social media platform for so many leaders. Follow people who talk about things that cause you to think about topics from a different angle. Twitter has evolved, so if you haven't been on it in a few years, treat it as a listening tool for a while so you can learn how it's used differently now than it was in the past. 

Social and online media is a great way to gain exposure to new people and ideas that sharpen you, force you to examine long-held beliefs you may have never questioned, and spark your creativity. This is especially true if you work from home and don't have the same in-person interactions that a standard corporate office has.

If you leave social media feeling more drained than inspired, change who you follow. You are the sum of who you surround yourself with, online and off. 
 


Originally published March 2017

On Being an Original in the Wedding Industry

When up-and-comers decide to do things differently than how the industry has always done them they get labeled as arrogant and naive. Then, when their methods work, they get labeled as lucky.

When people with established businesses decide to change course and try a different tack, they get labeled as desperate.

Everyone wants to be known as an original and a pioneer. No one wants to talk about the fact that pioneers have scars. Many of those scars come from the gossip of people who refuse to discipline themselves to do the work that results in positive change.

Don’t expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don’t allow that to make you cynical.


Originally published December 2014