Success is something we spend most of our time pursuing. Society as a whole has developed it’s own standards of success, but have you ever really stopped and asked yourself what it means? Not by definition, but what it really means to you. The path of any successful creative has never been an easy one. However, there are a few principals to consider that may make a difference.
1. Know Yourself
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of people who have followed a particular career path that doesn’t agree with their character. I’m sure you know of someone who hates their job, complains about it every day, yet they just keep their mouth shut, head down, and quietly do their work. The problem with this is that you should not focus on following a career path; focus on creating your own path. Stop searching far & wide for what is new, and start searching deep within for what you believe is best. People who know what they want are the ones who set trends, find new ways, and whose names are remembered. To get to know yourself a bit try questioning everything, challenge your limits, and aggressively pursue what you believe in.
2. Be Fearless
Completely overcoming fear is impossible. We can’t help it that we’re human & full of emotional flaws. However, we possess a certain ability that allows us to accomplish amazing phenomenons: free will. Meaning you have the ability to completely ignore fear & move forward regardless of any emotional barrier that fear creates. When I was 18 I dropped out of art school. When I was 19 I moved 3000 miles away from home to Los Angeles with 2 suitcases & $600. I left behind the life I had spent my entire existence building. I was scared as hell, but chose to no longer let fear hold me back. This is a choice that you can make as well. I challenge you to embrace fear, allow it to inspire you & show the world what you’re made of.
“Liberate yourself from your own Fear then your presence automatically liberates others.”
3. Never Settle for Less
Getting started in any creative field is hell. You’re young & inexperienced, the industry is saturated with people just as ambitious & talented as you, and if you’re lucky you’re going to start off working for a very well known agency/brand for a pathetic salary. None of that is true. However, if you don’t fully believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to? When I started working at one of the largest agencies in Hollywood making A-list movie posters I’ll admit I had stars in my eyes. I thought my hard work had finally landed me my dream job, but all it did was make me realize how completely wrong the “career evolution of advertising” is. I believed I was worth more, so I quit and set out to accomplish more, instead of being held back by industry’s hierarchy. Since then things haven’t been easy, but I’ve been able to live & learn the way I want to, which is priceless. If you want to make more money as a freelancer, charge more. If you’re not happy at your day job for whatever reason, quit. If a client isn’t worth the trouble, don’t work for them. You & only you can determine your value.
4. Say No
One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is that saying “no” creates value. At first thought this may not make sense, but if you’re crazy enough to believe, then you will notice the results. Think about how expensive food & beverages are at sporting events. You would never pay $20 for a beer & hotdog at a corner store, but wouldn’t expect to pay anything less than that at a football game. Since you’re not allowed to have any outside food, you’re willing to pay the price. That is the magic of “no” determining value. Starting off as a creative professional you’re hungry for whatever work you can find. When times get tough that hunger becomes a more desperate thirst. A thirsty creative turns no job down, takes whatever they can get, and ends up working for small businesses with small budgets to get by. If you want to be taken seriously as a creative professional you need to learn how to say “no” to projects you have no interest in. This will allow you to focus & get good at what kind of design you’re passionate about. At the beginning you may lose clients & money, but in the long run your integrity will benefit you with being able to work on what you want at a rate that allows you to live how you want.
These principals have helped me understand why I do what I do & not just what I do / how I do it. Once you are able to determine what success means to you, you will realize the importance of your journey and take the necessary, fearless action to reach it.