Why you can’t answer a simple question

It suggests a lack of clarity and might be hurting you as a creative

Sarah Healy
Oct 14 · 3 min read
Why can’t you answer a simple question? (Illustration by Sarah Healy)

So what do you do?

I dislike this question, for many reasons.

Even though it is a simple question.

As a creative, I feel that I do many different things yet always want to do even more.

Therefore I dislike having to compress all that I do so it neatly fits under one label.

I feel resistance when I do this.

While uncomfortable, I now see why it is important.

Why is it important to articulate what it is that you do?

1. It demonstrates that you are an effective communicator

Which is a desirable skill as a creative?

Being able to communicate effectively is important as a human and especially as a creative.

To be able to clearly show your initial ideas to clients and teammates at the beginning of a project makes you an invaluable team member.

This then extends to being able to clearly say what you do. It does not create the best impression if you struggle to do this.

It displays confusion.

2. It impacts on finding a job or getting hired

When finding a job you be reading job descriptions to determine if you and your skills are a good fit for the role.

Similarly, the recruiter or employer will review your website to determine if you are a good fit.

If they are not clear what it is that you do chances are that they will not progress with your application.

3. It reveals clarity or a lack of clarity

If you cannot succinctly say what it is that you do it demonstrates a lack of clarity.

It reveals confusion.

That you do not have a good understanding of yourself.

I write more in-depth about this topic here.

If you do not fully understand yourself how can you expect someone else to?

4. You are unclear where you are going

If you cannot defining what you are now how can you figure out what you wish to become?

You may want to do many different things.

That is ok.

I am constantly attracted to the new and shiny things.

This can be problematic, as I lose focus.

You need to start small.

Start with one thing and progress from there.

The inability to articulate what you do is a small thing, but it reveals a lot about you as a creative and a person.

The ability to define yourself or loosely identify with a category is the first step in creating your launchpad.

From here you can establish yourself and leap to other levels and platforms.

I like to think of it as a game.

It removes the seriousness with which we often treat the topic.

It changes how we think about labels.

They do not need to be these heavy things that weigh us down.

The labels don't matter.

What matters is that we are constantly learning, progressing and evolving.

When we are constantly changing, so too are the labels.

To choose to constantly challenge and redefine ourselves is what is important.

Sarah Healy is a designer, writer and adventuress, focused on motion design and visual storytelling. She authors content over on Design Digest and Happy Human.

Follow her on Twitter, Dribble, Behance or her website.

Design Digest

Design Digest publishes curated stories weekly on creativity, design and why it matters.

Sarah Healy

Written by

A multidisciplinary designer, storyteller, and adventuress with a penchant for endurance feats and exploring blank spots on the map. sarahhealy.net/

Design Digest

Design Digest publishes curated stories weekly on creativity, design and why it matters.

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