I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my career, which I’m guessing is a common affliction of people in their 40s.
I spent the first years of my career as a production artist. So naturally, the first question that jumped into my head about most projects was “what are we making”. The most important thing to me was the physical or electronic requirements I needed to fulfill with whatever the work was going to be.
But before my production artist years, I was raised by a teacher and a coach, and the two most important messages I received as a child were “Learn as much as you can” and “Always show up ready to give everything.” That has translated into my natural inclination today to ask “why?” followed by “now what?”.
It’s becoming clear to me that this is not a bad combination of characteristics. It has led me through the journey of production artist > designer > electronic marketing director > art director > creative director of this small, intense little agency, and continues to motivate me as I lead us to the intersection of matching the things we are driven by and the things we get paid to do.
Because that vision is going to require us all to believe we’re capable, the process must begin with internal messaging around our own strengths and finding a way to frame our approach as a point-of-view that has great relevance and value to our potential clients. And maybe, most importantly, ensuring I model confidence every moment of the day.
This is not the easiest task for someone with massive imposter syndrome who’s been living with major depressive disorder since the age of 12 and has just recently gotten that whole thing under control.
I wonder then, how does a person like me convince a group of talented, smart people who (like most of us who work in a commercial creative endeavor) have been battered and bruised by the last couple of years, that they are indeed talented, smart, and great at what they do?
Turns out it’s the thing we’ve been doing for our clients all along—learn as much as I can about the audience by learning what their drivers and values are; dig into the core of that information and use it to find a message they’ll hear through all the noise because it speaks directly to them; and decide what to make.
And then? Keep showing up ready to give everything.