I’ve always been a perfectionist. I always loved to take care of every little detail of the project I’ve been involved in and to make sure every thing runs smoothly and functions great. When I couldn’t do that on my own – I delegated other members of the team i was in, to do that for me. But one thing that was always on my mind was this: nothing is perfect.
And that thought led me – two years ago in the eve of my 24th birthday – to begin a process of self-discovery and self-development. I used to think working on my professional skills is the absolute everything in life. I used to think that doing my job perfectly (and the extra-mile) would lead me that ideal of perfection. That made me stay in the office until late hours daily and postpone my dreams to “someday”. Until that one day when I realized… it never stops. As long as we live we have something new to learn – of course – if we are opened to it. Even though it’s something little… it can change your life a bit. Even if it’s not directly related to your work it can help you in ways you could never imagine. There is no point in waiting, because the future begins NOW. The point is unleashing its full potential.
In the middle of an explosion of blogs and websites who claim to offer the ultimate “recipe for success” the last thing I want is to sound like yet another smart-ass. All I can relate to is my personal experience. And I’ve learned that developing in the direction that YOU want is the most beneficial thing you can do. It’s hard and confusing in the beginning. You’re like a rocket with no direction. You don’t know who (what) to listen to. But… “when in doubt, trust what your gut is telling you“. I cannot tell you how to be the next Picasso or the next Mozart or the next Coco Chanel, but from my journey so far on this Earth I’ve noticed a few things that do matter.
The first is… be a good communicator. Whether you are a designer, a vocalist or a record label manager, the key is to be able to communicate your ideas in an efficient manner. Number one sentence on my self-development “to do” list was “Become a better communicator”.
Recognizing your flaws never comes easy. I knew I suck at presenting things at a “face to face” meeting. But I knew I can organize my ideas well in writing (especially when I have to make a pitch). That’s why I focused on growing my business in the online medium – where I can WRITE. I don’t do long phone calls, I don’t carry around business cards everywhere I go and I do not present myself as a “networking guru”. As a matter a fact, even after a Skype conference call I feel like I’ve just been out of a boxing match. Some of you might feel offended by what I just said and I am sorry if you feel this way. I know it’s in the manual of what you “should” do. Yes, it works just great for some. But what about the rest who are just struggling and crying their eyes out trying to figure it out what are they doing wrong that they’re not so successful?
The thing is… work on what YOU think and feel is right for you at a time. Don’t force it. Until the field is ready, there won’t be any significant crop. Find that one communication skill that you are good at and sky-rocket it. The others will follow in time… when you’re prepared.
I had the privilege to work (for a short period of time) in an advertising company that was doing just that. Forcing. There weren’t any sales representatives, any sales managers, nobody between the client and the creation team. Each person had to communicate directly with the client, expose their concepts, ideas and solutions and also to hear directly the needs and the feedback of the client. All good so far. EXCEPT… nobody told us how to do that. Nobody invested the time to find out how each individual of the team expresses itself best. The idea is noble, but without a former preparation, what supposed to be a business meeting was turned into a throwing straight into the lion’s cage.
So this experience taught me to learn HOW to express my visions and concept to the client in order to be perceived in an understandable light by all the parties involved in the equation. Because nobody is in your head to really know what you can do for them. Unless you communicate that. In every way possible.
Another point on my self-development list was “Manifesting my goals in reality. No more dreaming, start living!”. After a few sessions of tests and brainstorming i realized that what was preventing me for actually doing what i would love to do was the FEAR of failure and the ILLUSION of stability. Of course, it’s easy to fall into what the people around you are telling you… “You’ll never make it!”, “That thing is not for you!”, “If you don’t follow these exact rules you’ll never going to do it!”, “You’re not worth it!” and so on. Or to buy into the self talk like “Yeah but i have a good thing going on here…”, “It’s not exactly what i want but it’s better than nothing…”, “I won’t find something better than this…” etc. And yes, you do risk a lot! You risk failure, you risk some people not liking you as “the new you”, you risk stepping on some people’s toes. But not trying to do what you want, denying your desires and denying your talents is risking not to EVER experience knowledge and never have a taste of your dreams. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of work and maybe some sacrifices. And working on yourself is maybe the hardest work ever, but it is a process. A never-ending process… A beautiful journey filled with rewards and joys and genuine moments.
Another one on my list was “Finding my inner voice”. I knew there were a lot of things that were making me unique, but i was afraid that bringing that out will lead me to not being accepted. And yes, it is a great thing to be accepted – not saying you should go out on the streets in your underwear and trashing down corner-shops! What i mean is bring out those shades of your personality that you think in your head they might cause disagreements. Like for example admitting you are truly passionate about painting when your family wants you to be an economist.
It was hard carving my way in the design world, especially because i had my fair share of opposition – starting from the ones closest to me and ending with suspicious workmates – but it worth it every second. And even now, when i am running my own business, it’s not always easy to hold on to my ideals and values. Some competitors pretend to do the fastest work, some pretend to have the lowest prices. I could claim all that, i could claim i do magic, but this isn’t who i really am.
I encourage you to find your voice and i can help you craft it! I encourage you to try to be the best that you can be, and not for me, and not for them or for the world… But for you and all the amazing things you have to offer and discover in yourself.