Never in my life did I think that these words would fit together in such a way that would impact my life.
I need to hustle.
For most of my life, I have waited for someone to recognize my talents and set me up with a swanky new life of luxury. (And I mean swanky, with a full mansion and a pool or something). The reality? Nobody is going to pay attention to someone who is not putting themselves in a position to be seen.
I have to work harder. I need to take more photos. I need to create more designs. Better photos, better designs. The more I work, the more I learn. I sometimes fail, so I stand back up. I practice more and more, striving to be better.
I need to hustle.
Through #PBandJterm, I’ve been connecting with more influential people in my field on Twitter. I’ve been reading what they post, trying to learn from the greats. As I continue to grow, I want to find a mentor in my field that has my best interest in mind. I need someone who can guide me through the really difficult parts of my field and help cultivate my designs and photos into something extraordinary.
I have never been good about asking questions. I always want to “figure it out” myself. But, I know now that because I do not know everything, I may not always know how to figure it out. I need to ask questions to people that know the answers to gain the information I need. Once I did not know what a bleed was in my designs (I know how terrible that sounds for all of my designer friends). Once I got over the embarrassment of having to ask such a question, my Desktop Publishing teacher explained it to me in such a great way. Now I know what a bleed is, and it has made my life much easier while designing. Who would have thought it would be that easy?
Honestly, I hate sharing my work. I have always been self-critical and I constantly worry that people are going to hate the work I share.
What if I am not good enough? What if I did not get the lighting just right? What if I chose the wrong color? Is that the right font? Oh poop, that photo makes them look weird.
Yet, I share my work anyway. People need to see it, for better or worse. If I never show my work, then nobody will see it. Then, I have nowhere to go. So, I share it in the hopes that someone, somewhere will see it and find it good. Maybe I can inspire someone else with my work. I think my greatest hope is that one of the greats in my industry will see my work and give some advice on how to become even greater.
“Don’t lose your fire.”
Repetition does not mean failure. The reality is that repetition allows us to review the skills we have, and learn how to correct the mistakes we made. When I want to learn something, I sit down and repeat it over and over.
I sketch the same design 10 times to make sure it is perfect. Every time, I notice something that is off, and fix it during the next sketch.
I memorize camera settings that I use every time I take photos in the gazebo on old campus. It took about 20 different photo shoots in that building before I knew the correct settings to use.
I usually write a draft for a paper or article, and then read it three times. Once for grammar and spelling. Another time for sentence structure. Then a third time for overall cohesion and flow.
Repetition allows me to see the mistakes I have made and fix them. It also shows that I have some skills under my belt already, and I can refine them.
As for building my personal brand, I need to repeat constantly. I need to hustle and work to be seen. I need to connect to people that matter. I need to share my work. If that does not work, then I repeat. I hustle to create new work that is even better. I connect with different people that matter. I share new work to new people. If that still does not work, then I repeat. New work, new connections, and new shares.
Creating a brand is not easy, and nobody ever said that it was. We have to work for it [HUSTLE]. We need to meet new people and let them help us [CONNECT]. We need to spread our work around for others to see [SHARE].