What is an Authentic Design Career & Life?
I think we've been pretty ambiguous from this point backwards of what an authentic design career and life is. Okay, yeah, we get it, it's capitalizing on who we are, but what does that exactly mean? And I think I need to go way back to when I was an actual child. I think the thing, there are a lot of things about humans that confuse me, and always have, that I don't understand, but one of the biggest things that has confused me about humans is that we have this preconceived notion of what we're supposed to be that is pushed on everyone all the time, and I don't understand that. So, ever since I was a kid I really, really loved people's unusual qualities. I really was fascinated by people who looked unusual, who acted unusual, who had an unusual body type, or unusual facial features, or an unusual personality. And I had to learn pretty quickly that I wasn't able to comment on that to people. I wasn't able to say, wow, I love your unusual body type. People don't wanna hear that. That's n...
ot a thing that people wanna hear because people don't, and are not encouraged, to celebrate what makes them different than everyone else. People are predetermined at birth to hide those things and to be ashamed of the things that make us different, because, for some reason, we're all pressured to be this perfect mold of what a human is supposed to be, and if we, for some reason, are not fitting into that perfect mold, which none of us are, we feel bad about ourselves, we feel like we're not enough, we feel like we should be self-conscious, we feel like we should be pressing and pushing down those things about us that make us special, and what is the deal with that? I don't understand why humans don't wanna be different from one another when our differences are what make us special, they're like our super powers. So, in general, I think the nice thing about today is that it's actually really cool right now to be vulnerable, to be self-confident, to be really excited about yourself, and that is so exciting to me that this is in right now. I'm hoping this isn't a fad, I hope that next year or the following year we won't all try to be the same again. But right now it's a really, really cool thing to be yourself and to be excited about who you are, so I'm really, really amped up to teach this class now because the time is now to get people really excited about who they are and want to push that forward. So, let's talk a little bit about a few myths that I'm really curious about right now, a few things that we all believe to be true that I don't necessarily think are true, and the first one is the idea of a one size fits all career. So, this is creating an authentic design career in life, so let's talk about design careers, okay. There are so many different types of design careers, okay. I'll just glaze over these. UI Designer, UX Designer, Interior Designer, Experiential Designer, Web Designer, Logo Designer, Brand Designer, Brand Strategist, Art Director, Creative Director, there are so many job titles when it comes to design. But, what I'm interested in is the fact that we all have this sort of like slumdog millionaire cloud of experience in our lives. So maybe you grew up in one part of the country, you moved to another, you met new people, you expanded your worldview, you learned these skills at this job you used to have, you met a mentor, so you have this beautiful cloud of your experiences and your skills that follows you throughout your life and you've created your whole life, this beautiful, rich cloud of abilities and skills. It's amazing. We all have our own unique cloud. But for some reason, we find a career and we silo our little cloud into this tiny little area with these tiny little skillsets and we're only able to utilize part of our life's path, and part of the things that we know, and the skills that we have, and the things that make us special, we can only use a tiny fraction of that, because we're trying to fit in to a specific one size fits all career that's not made specifically for us. So it's a lot of our talent goes to waste, and that makes me really sad, that's such a bummer. So I'm really interested in trying to find careers and to try to build our own and make our own career that utilizes that whole beautiful cloud, so that we can take all of the things that make us and our cloud special, and actually use everything. And I think that that works, I know a lot of you might have an actually jobby job, you might have a full time career, you might love working for an employer, you might like to be employed, you don't wanna be self-employed. I get it, that doesn't mean you need to quit your job that has a certain title. All it means is that we need to find and encourage our employers to let us use the things that make us special in our current job situation. Ooh, this one is my hottest of takes I think. (laughs) I'm really not a fan of the idea of work/life balance. I think, okay, so if you have this career that drains you, you feel totally unfulfilled with your career, you go there every day and then you finish work and you go to your beautiful life and you have this beautiful life at home that you need to completely break off ties with your career at the end of the day so that you can actually relax at home, I get that you would need a very clear line right down the middle that says no, I'm done with my career right now, I'm gonna move on to life. So then you have this work/life balance that you constantly have give and take going from there, and it makes you feel really discontent and unfulfilled with your career because you feel like you need to pull yourself out of your career to enjoy your life, and that also makes me really sad. That's not necessarily a good thing. I think that if we are able to utilize all of the things that make us special into a career that's made specifically for us, say we're able to take all the things that we value, we're able to take all of our skills, all of the things that make us unique, and pull that into a career that encapsulates all of that and fulfills a greater life purpose for ourselves, it is all encompassing of work and life. So it integrates all of the things that you love most about life into your career, so that your work and your life is just one thing, and that will leave you from feeling burnt out at the end of a few years, it'll leave you feeling really excited to go to work every day and to do your job. So that's what I'm really excited about with this class, is creating a career just for you, made just for your own special self. And I think, it's taken me a while specifically to do this for myself, and now that I've gotten here and have done this it feels so good to have a career that was made just for me, and I'm really very excited to just do it for everyone else now, I really wanna help everyone else have the same thing that I have. And I talk a lot about my own journey online and everywhere else, and since this class is really about you I don't wanna talk about that too much, but as we go through the challenges and the questions that I'll be asking all of you I will give my own answers as examples so that we can have sort of a baseline to go off of. Think of me as your lab rat. All right, so you're always growing, you're always changing, and this is something else that I'm really interested in when you're creating a career and life just for you. So, say for example you have that career that you've siloed your cloud into. What happens in your personal life, over here you've got your personal life and you're growing, you're changing, you move, you may expand your worldview, you might start a family, you might get pets, you might all of a sudden have a infatuation with canning fruits and vegetables, who knows what changes in your life, but over here your career stays the same because you're siloed into that specific job title. So what I'm really interested in is having a career that can grow along with you so that, say you get really passionate about canning fruits and vegetables, maybe you can actually tailor your job to move in that direction with you, and maybe you can have a career that's made just for you and that has enough room for you to naturally grow and expand. All right, so in this class what we're gonna do exactly is first of all, my favorite, is you're gonna start feeling really confident about who you are and what makes you special. So I think that I'm so tired of us all suppressing all the things that make us actually different than everyone else, and I'm really interested in finding the things that make us different and being excited about them, for once. I spent 28 years of my life hiding all of the things about myself that made me different, because I was afraid to be different, and once I was able to actually start enjoying those things and pushing those things up and celebrating them, it changed everything in my personal life and in my career, it changed my body image, it changed everything for me when I was able to just be really excited about what makes me special. So, I wanna do that for you as well. All right, we're gonna dial your personality up to 100, 'cause what makes us special is also our personalities. Everyone's personality is different, and that is so cool to me, I love how we all have different tastes, we all have things that make us laugh, we all have things that, for example, a weird quirk about my personality is that for some reason mimes make me cry. So everyone in my life knows to never show me an image of a mime, because I will just lose control of my face. Sometimes people will surprise me with like a mime gift or something, and it just, it's so embarrassing for me because I just can't even control what's happening to myself, because my body just, I can't, I crumble to the floor and just sobbing because mimes make me cry. Who knows why, I don't know, but that's part of my personality, and I love it, and now I've learned to love the fact that this weird quirk of mimes making me cry is actually a wonderful thing. And this year it's my 30th birthday and I'm going to Paris for my 30th birthday, and just yesterday I realized that I'm probably gonna see a mime for the first time in real life on my 30th birthday, and I'm gonna stop talking about it 'cause it's gonna make me cry, so let's move on. (laughs) We're gonna learn to better define ourselves. So a lot of you, I'm sure, when somebody says, tell me about yourself, or what do you do, or you know, what's your story? You have no idea what to say to them. I still struggle on this one myself, because you're like oh my gosh, where do I start? I do so much. Because we all do a lot of things, we're all very interesting, very culturally rich, beautiful people who have a huge story, so it's hard to narrow down all the things that make us unique, all of the things that we love about our career into one little package that we tell people, so we're gonna work on that a little bit too. We are going to, this is the hardest task, whew, create a purpose for living. So, a lot of us don't have a life's purpose, a thing that drives all of our decisions. We're actually gonna create one of those in this class for us, and it's gonna be fantastic, I'm so excited to find out what yours are. Okay, we're also going to learn how to unabashedly be ourselves online and offline. This is important to do in both places. It's important to be ourselves in real life, in personal interactions, but it's also really important to be 100% ourselves online, too, a place where we feel really vulnerable easily and can often make a few mistakes. And lastly, we're just gonna embrace who we are and actually flaunt it, so we're gonna be more self-confident, we're gonna learn how to do that. We're gonna learn how to actually like ourselves and show that off to the world so that the world can be really inspired by us loving ourselves and flaunting who we are. If you are a little apprehensive about doing these steps and doing all of these things because you're afraid of what might happen to you internally (laughs) it's a scary thing. Think about it like this, if you are doing all of these things for yourself, you're gonna show that to the rest of the world and you're gonna inspire other people to also be themselves. 'Cause the more that we're trying to subscribe to this mold of a human and be someone that we're not, the more we're just kind of pushing that narrative on the world, so if we can actually be ourselves and be excited about it, it's going to get the rest of the world pumped up about doing that too.