2017…wow what a year! I don’t know about you but for me 2017 was a year of renewing and connecting with some of the people that I love most in this life. I thoroughly enjoyed almost every part of the year.
As I look back over it as most people do this time of year, natural things start coming to mind as highlights and some lowlights as well. The most intriguing part is tracing my way back by the creative projects I have done. These are things that I made or were a part of making this year and included but not limited to…
- A corporate promotional video — one of my very first paid video gigs
- Public speaking at a leadership event
- Started my very own YouTube channel
- Several videos for non-profit agencies around the Las Vegas area
- Designed my very first book cover — Go Dominique
- Completed my very first international travel VLOG series to Israel
For me that list represents a lot of time, energy, creativity, and communitcation that had to take place in order for the projects to be put out into the world.
Now before this post begins to sound like a humble-brag, let me try to share a few things with you about the lessons I learned this year while doing all of these things.
Starting is more important than perfection
I cannot tell you how many times there was an idea swirling around in my head for a video, design, or blog post that I kept second guessing myself about whether or not I should do it. There would be voices in my head saying things like…
“This has already been done; why does the world need another one of these?”
Or the ever popular
“People don’t care about you, you are an insignificant nobody who was homeschooled and lives in Las Vegas, why would people listen to you?”
And finally one of my favorites
“You don’t have enough gear or the right gear to do that, it won’t look right and your project will suck!”
But eventually I heard enough people and read enough books that had a reoccurring theme that perfection is always the enemy of progress. I could either make a project that is perfect and maybe never actually get it out into the world, or I could do the absolute best that I could with the time that I have in this moment and then let the people be the judge. Simple as that.
Creativity is not only a form of art; it is a gift
I don’t consider myself super hipster, yuppy, or tree-hugger-ish, however I do enjoy thinking about this concept when I am creating something. By creating something, you are quite literally putting something into the world that did not exist before, and thus if done in the right way with the right intentions is a gift! If you are a creative out there who is struggling with your purpose or meaning in the creative process, at least consider the concept that you are making a gift for people everywhere to enjoy which in a way that is magical.
Communication can make or break a project
Ok so here is where I get completely transparent and honest with all of you. I had some projects this year that went really well and I was even surprised by how well the client relationship was. Then there were other projects that went horribly wrong, I wasted a lot of time on, and at the end of the day they are still unfinished. So why the difference? Why did some projects go so well and some go so terribly wrong? I will boil it all down to one word…communication. Learning the lessons I did this year, going forward I will absolutely be focusing on what the communication looks like before I start and commit to a project. I need to ask more questions like…
What is the overall purpose of this project?
What is your absolute turn-around time look like?
What are your top three priorities for this project?
Is this something that has to be done right now or can it be postponed a few weeks so we can prepare more?
Why are you doing this project?
These are all questions that I wish I had asked up front before committing to a project and pouring hours of my life into something that didn’t turn out great. Because remember, once you commit, you need to see the project through until the end; that’s character.
Help the causes you love, and people will notice
There are several causes (non-profit and religious) that I frequently donate my time to because I care about the work itself or the person who is leading the work. By me trying to be a good steward of my time and being generous with it, people have taken notice. My first paid video gig was all a result of them noticing the job I was doing and wanted to hire me for my talents. There are many ways in this world now that you can acquire clients and thus make money. I am realizing, though, more and more that if you do the best you can with what you have where you are at, people are going to notice.
Innovation takes place inside the box
This last one is a hard one for me. We have often heard it’s not about the tools but rather the person using the tools. I thoroughly believe if LeBron James were in a pair of flip-flops, he could still beat me in a game of basketball, even if I was wearing a pair of $500 sneakers. It’s about the artist, not the tool. Well in the creative realm, especially when it comes to video, there is often this constant pursuit to acquire the latest and greatest new toy that comes along. Somebody has coined the term GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) which is the constant pursuit of the newest thing. As an creative person I must always remind myself that innovation takes place inside the box. If we have a limitation put upon us, it is that limitation that makes us think about a more innovative way to accomplish the task at hand. At the end of the day, we have to stop making excuses for why we can’t do something, bite the bullet, and get to work.
So that’s just some of the lessons I’ve learned this year when it comes to living a creative life, how about you? Have you got stuck on any projects this year? How did you get past obstacles you faced? What causes are you looking forward to helping in 2018?
Please comment below I’d love to hear from you.