Get out of Bed, Get Inspired
If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has Creative Mornings, then rise early to sign up, deal with server issues at 9:04 a.m., and count your blessings. Thankfully, Louisville, Kentucky has been hosting Creative Mornings sessions for almost a year. Today, I participated in my second one and just like the first time, it left me feeling inspired.
What are Creative Mornings?
Great question! According to the Creative Mornings’ Web site, it is a free “breakfast lecture series for the creative community”. Now, if you’re not a designer, writer, photographer, sculptor, musician or visual artist of some sort, don’t let the term “creative community” discourage you from attending. Creativity is used everyday in every field. Just because your line of work doesn’t produce a tangible “piece of art” doesn’t mean it’s not creative. I sell software to the nonprofit and public sectors, but the demonstration environments I build and scripts I write take creativity. Everything requires creativity, to an extent!
Anyway, that’s for another post. Back to Creative Mornings. These a.m. lectures were started by Tina Roth Eisenberg in 2008 “out of a desire for an ongoing, accessible event in New York’s creative community.” The concept has snowballed into countries all over the world from Milan to Milwaukee to Austin to Lima. All locations provide coffee and breakfast from their respective local vendors, and the lectures are sponsored by local organizations. Every month, Creative Mornings chooses an overarching topic for all locations to discuss. Last month it was Shock. This month it was Work.
What is Work?
Today’s local speaker was Tyler Deeb, founder of Misc. Goods Co., a Louisville start-up that designs hand-made goods like flasks, wallets and playing cards. In his lecture, the overarching definition of work was “Don’t Chase Glory, Work Hard and Be Satisfied”. The first 50 people at the event received this theme as a print designed by Tyler, himself.
Through the lens of his personal story, Tyler discussed his early struggles with making a name for himself, by using his job to not only define who he was but mentally elevate himself above his peers. Even when he landed a job in the design world, he wasn’t satisfied with the place of employment and lack of prestige/originality it brought. After too much time being dissatisfied with his life even though his time away from work was worthy of happiness, his perspective changed. He started to perceive his work as a place to learn, becoming a sponge and soaking up every piece of design knowledge he could hold, learning about lettering, fonts, book publishing, logo design. When he finally put to rest that ego that had prevented him from happiness for so long, he was truly able to be satisfied, drawing a line between work and everything else. Eventually, he started a design firm, and when this business struggled, he used all of those previously learned skills to persevere. Everyday, he designed a new playing card, eventually established a Kickstarter for it, earned well over $100K his first go-round, and now owns his very own business, Misc. Goods Co.
What did I learn?
Several points Tyler made today, really hit home for me, especially (as mentioned in my last post) as I transition into my regular position at work. Here are a couple:
Work doesn’t define us. I am more than just someone who sells software. Leveraging this professional position with my graduate degree doesn’t elevate me above the rest. It is simply just me, neither better nor worse than anyone else. Further, I’m so much more than just this work, and it is necessary to allow myself time to foster those other interests like writing, cross stitching, dancing and nonprofit consulting. Who knows, maybe one day a combination of these could transform into my work. Nonetheless, getting discouraged by others’ success and feeling better than others because of my own success is wrong and unhealthy. I realized that even though I say that I don’t care what others think of me, too often my ego still rules, and I really do care.
Satisfaction must be in the now. If we aren’t jazzed to get out of bed every morning to return to the office for another day of work, that’s OK. Even work you love is going to seem tedious and frustrating sometimes. However, it is important to find contentment in at least some faucets. Maybe, like Tyler, it’s the knowledge you can gain from your position. Maybe it’s the people you can help through your work. Maybe it’s the work-life balance your position provides, opening opportunity for fulfillment in other parts of your life. It’s time to turn our gaze from the negative aspects of our work and focus on the positives. **My caveat here, is that sometimes your job is simply rotten, causing depression, anxiety and overall misery. Please don’t let choosing satisfaction keep you in a position like that. Instead, listen to your instincts and know when it’s time to move on or time to just be content.**
If anything, his lecture truly inspired me to continue writing. Whether no one or thousands read my words, it isn’t for the glory that I am motivated to write. I do this because I love it. I love the puzzle of finding the right word to complete my thought. I love telling stories. I love making people smile. So, I’ll work hard at my day job, diligently continue telling stories and be satisfied that I have the time, abilities and talents to do both. And you better believe, I’ll be up early next month signing up for Louisville’s next Creative Mornings lecture!