This week marks my first year workiversary at a creative agency. I am fortunate to be surrounded by creative minds and passionate souls everyday at the office. Here are some habits and attitudes that have rubbed off on how I approach my work:
Fall in love with the (creative) process.
Beautiful products don’t just happen overnight. It takes ideation, beating up said ideas, trying out a few rough prototypes, sometimes starting over… The truth is, it takes time to reach even the first decent looking, somewhat functional preliminary version of a product. You can’t cut corners to achieve excellence. Persistence, discipline, and ultimately trusting the process–your process, whatever that entails–yields good results.
Care about the little details.
The things I have found to be most creative aren’t always ‘big’ things. Sometimes, it’s the littlest of details that go a long way to delight me as a consumer/end-user. Paying attention to the little things speaks volumes about the amount of thought, care, and creative integrity a maker has.
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
I’ve discovered that when my co-workers aren’t busy pushing pixels and building pretty websites, they indulge in hobbies and passion projects: playing music, brewing their own kombucha, tinkering with cool animations, wood craftsmanship, to name a few. They’re not afraid to dive right in and get their hands dirty. While imperfections and failures are inevitable along the way, what’s important is having the courage to start and the discipline to keep practicing. Go for it; lead with your passions and instincts, practice the craft, and have a good time doing it.
Two heads are better than one.
Let’s face it, we are our own toughest critics. Having your blinders on and being stuck in the weeds while striving for perfection can often be more detrimental than helpful. Sometimes, all you need to get you out of that rut is a fresh pair of eyes. Creativity is more fun when shared and compounded upon. Next time you’re feeling stuck on a creative endeavour, consult a peer. Maybe ask someone you wouldn’t normally ask. The outcome, more often than not, will be positive.
Do you have a backlog full of unpublished, quick and dirty drafts? Guilty as charged. Whatever it is you’re working on, get it out in the wild now, and worry about iterating and evolving it later. Don’t be too precious with your work. If you’re not the least bit nervous or embarrassed by sharing your work, you waited too long. Just ship it already!
Do work you are proud of.
At the end of the day, if you aren’t doing work that you yourself are truly proud of, much of your time, effort, and value that you spent investing depreciates. Make time to take a step back and appreciate what you’ve created. So you made a thing? Dude, pat yourself on the back! Share it with the world! That is awesome, you are awesome, and that’s something to not be modest about.
How have your peers influenced or inspired the way you approach your work, be it personal or professional?