If I learned one thing at the HOW Conference in Austin…

…it’s this:

Lack of fear leads to creativity.

When I heard this, it made me realize just how fear-based my daily routine is. I wake up some, if not most, mornings fearing I’ll miss a deadline. I fear that I won’t find the solution for the design problem that’s next on my plate. I fear the client won’t like what I’ve done. I fear that one day, one of my designs will end up on one of those website/blogs that poke fun at how badly it’s designed. I fear of losing my design mojo. I fear looking silly among my peers. I fear there won’t be enough time for everything I want to do. And, regarding that last point, I tend to do none of it because I feel overwhelmed.

So, after a few days back and, unfortunately, deeply re-rooted into my old routine of not making enough time, I find that I’m growing tired of being afraid. Mostly because I think it breeds this necessity to always be stressed out and not let myself have enough fun. I mean, c’mon, most of the time I handle deadlines pretty well. And, let’s face it, there’s never just one design solution to every problem, there are several. And, chances are, unless I totally don’t listen to the client, I’ll get to at least one of them…eventually.

You know, I left Austin thinking, “I’m going to change. I’m going to finally do what that guy said his friend does where he doesn’t open his email until, like, 10am and uses all of that morning time to do creative stuff that he really WANTS to do. I’m going to be that girl. Sketch everyday. Be carefree. Etc. Etc.” But, you see, I’m not that girl. And, a few days away from it, I see how impractical some of those practices could be in my life.

I think the moral is this: be happy with what and how you do things. Especially if it works for you at least 80% of the time. Sometimes that’s the best we can hope for. I think I spend too much time wishing I could adapt this into my workflow and start designing in that style or lay out my office in this way, when the way I do things is, well, just fine.

But, I’d really like to be less afraid. I think that could be a good thing. I also think these tips that I brought home could help me with creativity, as well as with life in general:

  • Don’t get in a rut. Do something different every week. When you aren’t experiencing new stimuli, you stop growing.
  • Be honest, not brutally honest. (if I could put this one in all caps in the largest font possible, I would. Trust me on this one.)
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself. If someone is handing you a steaming pile of frustration, make it a challenge and see where it takes you.
  • Write down your thoughts. Everyday. More than once a day. Get your ideas out of your head and make sure you have a way to reference them. Not only does it get them out of your head, it gets them logged and available for you to revisit and see which ones are great and which ones aren’t so great.
Explore posts in the same categories: Inspiration

2 Comments on “If I learned one thing at the HOW Conference in Austin…”

  1. nikkole! Says:

    love this post!

    you know my motto….
    be brave and be kind

    it helps keep everything in perspective

  2. Lydia Says:

    This is great! All very, very, good things to keep in mind. And things that sometimes are difficult to do. I know what you mean. Thanks for sharing!

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