This weekend was very busy, but it may also have been one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. It was a weekend with a lot of realization. As some of you know I am speaking in September at Circles Conference in Dallas. I did a giveaway for tickets a while back and shared about the conference. I honestly have gone through some pretty serious stage fright as I am thinking about this talk. I have not wanted to share my fears about it with you all because I have been fearful to be so transparent and appearing weak in some way. I know that sounds silly, but it is the truth.
I have done some speaking in the past, so I don’t believe that has been my the reasons for my fears and insecurities, but I have not really spoke to other designers before. I believe a lot of it has been about standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people who I honestly believe are just as qualified as me to stand in my place. It’s the truth. I have always viewed myself as someone who legitimately just does the ordinary. I design brands and I love the people we get to work with, I love them a lot, and then I share my life here in this space. It is natural and instinctual and so to me it is nothing new or different. But I also know how I run my business and view our work and clients is pretty a-typical. Which any time you don’t feel “normal” there is a natural sense of insecurity in it, as I am well aware. I am sure some people would look at our business and be like, gosh they are off their rockers over there at Wild Measure, which may be true, but we know it is what we want to do, but that still leaves some level of insecurity in me. That idea of faking it till you make it sometimes feels like pretty solid advice.
Circles is a designer conference so I tried to figure out what I could bring to the table and share with people who are not only older than me, but also have far more experience(s) than I do. Back in May, I literally had an emotional breakdown about this talk, and I really want to be open about that experience. I remember realizing the conference was not that far away and in my mind I was panicking about what I was going to say, and wear, and if anything I had to say was legitimate enough for people to feel it was a good talk. It was frightening and possibly one of the most humbling moments in my career thus far. I felt so small in many ways. To think about standing in front of 500-600 people on a stage made me want to vomit and give up. I remember being pretty emotionally locked up for a good week or so trying to find the courage and confidence to start planning the talk. I went on a walk with Mike one afternoon because he knew I was struggling with it… I ended up sobbing out of complete fear and insecurity. I am not good at being weak and in fact I never want people to think I am, but the truth is sometimes you have to say that you are failing before you can find the strength to move forward. This was one of those moments.
Mike has always been my greatest cheerleader since the day I met him. He knows me far better than I know myself and always knows how to build strength and confidence in me, because honestly he may believe in me more than I believe in myself. Once I calmed down during the walk he reminded me of what we are building, why we do what we do, and what we are so passionate about. He reminded me of the things I believe in as a designer, business owner, and as a human. He reminded me of all the successes as well as the failures that have brought me to where I am. In that moment it was very comforting but it did not solve everything instantaneously. It was still weeks of internal struggle before I felt some sort of confidence again to think about writing anything.
Soon something struck and I began jotting notes down while I was working and things would come to me or Mike and I would chat about something while we were driving to a meeting. I began to finally write down all those instinctual thoughts and beliefs about our business and about how I view the world of being a blogger, graphic designer and creative entrepreneur. Yeah, all these things were great for beginning to develop the talk, but it also helped me realize who I am in this world and helped me feel more confident about my beliefs. For the first time I wrote down the things that I had really believed in. More than anything, it taught me that sometimes we have to break to be built back up. In fact it may be more than sometimes, it may be the only way we can become stronger.
I now have pages of notes that I plan to collect and pull in to points for my talk in over a month. Those pages of notes feel pretty special now, as they have built a comfortable amount of confidence in me that I will lean on as I step up to that stage and stand in front of so many people I admire.
I am sharing this because there are moments as a creative entrepreneur that are knee-buckling hard. Whether it is a tough client you should never have taken, a friend who copies your work, or feeling as if you cannot climb over the next mountain to get where you want to go. These moments can be debilitating in ways you never expect when you say yes. There are many moments instagram can never make look pretty and perfect in what we do…no for real nothing could have made that sobbing ugly cry look good…for reals it took me a couple days to not have puffy eyes. We are all human and we have serious moments of feeling like a failure, but it is how we choose to handle those moments that define where we will go in this world. This has been a frightening time in my career, but I find every step I take I feel better and I find more strength in myself than I thought I had. Great things don’t just happen, they take serious emotional strength and a willingness to grow, they take hard work… damn hard work, and they take a group of amazing people around you to help you see things that you cannot. We have been making many hard decisions over the last few months and I have been slowly understanding the place I hold in this creative world. It’s a hard journey, but it is rewarding.
Now I am still slightly fearful of the stage but I am becoming more and more excited to step up there and talk about my creative journey and the beliefs we have in obtaining the clients you want, living the life you want, and how hard work and intense passion can make all the difference. Greatness does not come over night it is developed slowly, painfully, and with humility.
Over the next month or so I will be sharing more about what I am talking on with you all, but for now I wanted to really open up about the struggle that I have gone through with getting to even this point. I thought I would never have the strength to write something this honest or so deeply personal, but I finally felt it was time. I am frightened to share these real parts of me and let people in behind the veil, but I also know we all need more honesty in this world.
Happy Monday to you all!