At the ripe age of 19, I began my career as a graphic designer. Although I wasn’t entirely sure where I was headed, I was motivated by the prospect of “creating” for a living –– paired with the fact that, for the first time in my life, school felt like it was agreeing with me. Eight years later, I have found myself steadily enlightened by the ways in which this career trajectory has impacted me…
It Challenges Me
With a client base that spans industries, I am constantly learning and kept on my toes. In most cases I’m handed existing pain points, then challenged to craft a solution that delivers both subject matter value and visual efficacy. Beyond a robust design “toolkit”, this involves a level of subject matter understanding that I’ve grown grateful to gain with each new project.
It Provides Perspective
Design is a form of art and although it can be analyzed in measured ways, art is subjective. It requires courage to share, open-mindedness to receive feedback and a persistence to move the needle. While I initially developed these qualities through my work and client relationships, I’ve found that they have ultimately shaped my mindset and approach on a personal level.
- (Work) Courage to share = (Personal) Vulnerability with others
- (Work) Open-mindedness to receive feedback = (Personal) Approachability and a willingness to “listen”
- (Work) Persistence = (Personal) Tenacity to accomplish what I’ve set out to
If you happened to miss them, I cohosted two of ttcInnovations’ FREE design-based webinars now available on-demand: How To Design Your PowerPoint Slides Like a Pro and How to Bring Your PowerPoint Training to Life With Better Animations & Transitions.
It Generates Creative Collaboration
So often I hear people say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” I believe we are ALL creative. In fact, one of my favorite things about being a designer is the creativity that comes from collaborative conversations and feedback from clients (oftentimes, the very people who claim they are creatively inferior)! If this feels like it’s resonating with you, consider adding Creative Confidence to your next Amazon order. It’s a fabulous read (recommended by our very own Business Operations Specialist, Jessica Howell), and it is written by two leading experts in innovation who demonstrate that each and every one of us is creative. If you’d prefer a quicker read, I’ve got you covered with Graphic Design Secrets Every Instructional Designer Needs to Know.
It Affords Me Flexibility and Freedom
I have learned to love the ebbs and flows of my job as a “creative consultant”. I harness the “ebbs” as an opportunity to tackle the easily ignored, but imperative background realities of business ownership — paperwork, accounting, file storage/organization, portfolio updates, etc. And, most importantly, I use this time to reconnect with myself outside of work. On the flip side, I try my best to exude/practice/portray gratitude vs. grief when projects are in “flow” mode, knowing that it’s never just push or just pull, and trusting that balance will find its way back to me. As Instructional Design Consultant Melissa Snell mentioned in this post, “you can have a fulfilling and flexible career, but must really be willing to work hard when the work comes”. The ability to pick up and work from anywhere is a nice perk, too! I love that I can match my work environment with my disposition at any given time — if I’m seeking solitude and familiarity, I have my home office; if I’m seeking energy and activity, I take work to a local coffee shop; if I’m seeking connection and creativity, I’ll work somewhere in nature. It’s a wonderful luxury and certainly a perk I take advantage of!