Recently I’ve found a lot of freedom and liberation from not locking my head in a prison of focusing on results. How many likes will this post get? How much reach will my work get? How will this piece appeal to a broader amount of people? All of these ticking questions were inhibiting my success, and evaporating any possible enjoyment from my work.
When we combine business, career and perhaps creativity with social media in a melting pot; we can quickly create much stress for ourselves if we don’t embed ourselves in the right mindset.
We see our favourite celebrities or models take off with a staggering amount of likes and followers-and if we are using social media to promote our business/venture it can be incredibly frustrating. It can often feel discouraging in the sense that “I don’t have that same platform they have so why should I bother”. We can quickly get locked into short-sightedness and think that because we may not experience these results immediately, we may not at all.
Lately, I’ve been watching a tonne of baseball and getting a massive amount of inspiration from it. The most compelling thing I find about sports is watching people solve problems live in a highly competitive environment. All the slip-ups and successes are circumstantial with a mix of preparation and opportunity. These principles have application to a lot of other factors in life.
Success is a merger of opportunity and timing. If we are well prepared for the right opportunity, we have a higher chance of creating success.
When paving our way through a creative career, it can often feel challenging to keep chipping away at something when we don’t experience the results we want. Alternatively, if the focus of the results doesn’t overwhelm us, the lack of guarantees on experiencing these results knocks us down.
Last night I caught up with a few friends, and they were asking me how my illustration pursuit was going and if I was getting “further ahead”. Now we often feel this social pressure to do our best, and previously amongst friends, I kept projecting this idea of results and successes that I wanted for myself.
I’ve found liberation recently in realising I don’t dictate the results. As much as I want certain things to happen for myself, in this creative career, I don’t dictate the results.
The only control I have is the amount of work I put in. This notion of how “prepared” I’m going to be when the right opportunities come knocking. I can’t make my work affect a wider amount of people. I can’t develop a strategy as to how people are going to love my work which will enable me to be “put ahead”.
I was telling my friends that I’ve let go of this focus on the results. I don’t have control over them. However, I can show up as frequently as possible and keep working as hard as I can. The amount of work I’m willing to put in is what I have control over.
This mindset has brought back a lot of passion and love I have for illustration and design. I'm now looking at my career as each aspect of the journey are "moments" that build up to something bigger, instead of relentlessly focusing on the destination. All I’m focusing on is showing up and attempting to “catch the wave” and do the best I can in that moment. Moreover, if this moment of “success” doesn’t happen, I can make an effort to show up again and hope I’m lucky enough the next time.
It’s easy to discredit struggle as a detrimental hindrance and to try to avoid it. Though since I’ve embraced this aspect of the journey and know that it’s an inevitability, I accept whats happening around me rather than resisting the negatives. It’s made me look at the negative aspects as part of the process I need to complete and in order to reach the greener grass.
However, I don’t get to decide when I get to go to the greener grass. The public and the people around me do. All I can focus on and accept is the aspects I do have control over. I need to do what I can to show up every day and continue building the thing I love.
Overall my creative career has been a long journey to get to this point of love and acceptance, but I can’t stress how figuring out the deeper embedded problems of your journey, comes from time and patience. In fact, a lot of it came from pain and impatience.
I want to encourage everyone out there to write out how they feel about a situation or to open up to close ones around you to get these deeper problems off your chest. It does help create a better quality of life when we choose to acknowledge the aspects of life that are dragging us down.