Is There Room For Me?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ll be opening The Pattern Design Club, my monthly surface design membership, in a few weeks. I only open it up a few times a year to welcome students who have completed my Academy program. One of the questions I get most often is: “Isn’t the industry over saturated?” “Is there really room for me?”
My answer is a resounding YES, there is room for you!! But of course, there is work involved. Nothing truly worthwhile ever happens without effort. Here are my top five recommendations for you. I live by these and they have helped me succeed in the surface design industry and bring me joy every day.
#1: Join a Vibrant Community
One of the things that often holds people back is fear. Fear in the shape of impostor syndrome. Fear in the form of those inner voices telling you that you aren’t good enough. Fear of truly committing to something and putting yourself out there.
Joining a supportive community and creating connections with others pushes fear away. Fear doesn’t like company. It likes to prey on you when you are alone and defenseless. The positive energy in a vibrant community is contagious. And we know the saying that it takes a village because it does. A strong, engaged community with camaraderie where true bonds are formed, encourages all of us to keep moving forward.
#2: Devour Learning
Speaking of moving forward… It’s critical to keep learning all the time. A love of learning keeps us all young, more alive, and current with the changing times in which we live. Sometimes learning new things can be hard but we can do hard things. I talked about this back in January in relation to goal setting.
I’ve always loved learning because it takes me out of myself. Think about it. When you are learning something new, whether it’s a new language or a new technology, you have to focus one hundred percent on the task at hand. At my age, remember that I’m not a spring chicken anymore, I really have to focus! The satisfaction of accomplishing something new, especially when it’s really, really hard, is addicting.
#3: Create, Create and Create Some More
Lisa Congdon wrote about this in a recent Instagram post called: Everything is an Experiment. She describes how, back when she wasn’t finding as much success in her art practice, she decided to create something every day for a year around a particular theme. It wasn’t with the specific goal of filling her portfolio but rather to hone her skills and better define her style.
Finding your own unique style comes up a lot and my answer is: create, create and create some more. It’s only through doing that what you like will emerge. Creating in community with others is the best because you get added accountability to keep making every day. You also find the motivation to move forward one step at a time. The right community encourages you to show up and keep creating without judgement.
#4: Leave Judgement at the Door
When you get into the practice of creating something every day, the desire for perfection leaves pretty quickly! Your focus shifts from perfection to “what the heck am I going to sketch today”. It becomes about the discipline of making something every day. You create this wonderful new habit. You sit down at your table. You turn on a timer for 20 minutes. You see what happens. It’s a new experiment each and every day.
When I participated in the 100 Day Project last year, I became obsessed. I really, really wanted to make it through the 100 days in a row to show myself that I could do it. Some days those 20 minutes seemed like an hour. On other days the time flew by. Most of the time the sketches I made were only just “okay”. But I didn’t focus on that. And I don’t want you to either. There will be plenty of time for judgement later. In fact, taking a critical eye to your work is a totally different skill set and uses a totally different part of your brain than creating. So just focus on creating. Leave judgement at the door.
#5: Let Your Belief in Yourself Flourish
There is room for you. And I mean that in a few different ways. Being human today means making connections with others, showing up for yourself and finding the room to pursue your dreams. Courage grows with every step you take that moves you closer to your goals. Hanging out in the right rooms enables your belief in yourself to flourish.
The surface design industry is HUGE. Look around and count how many patterns fall within your immediate line of sight. People made those patterns. New patterns are needed every day. Your patterns are needed in the world because they’ll be unique, just like you are. I believe in you and I know there is room for you.
I’ve embraced these recommendations in my own life and my personal transformation from corporate career to solo entrepreneur has flourished because of them. One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of in my business is the creation of The Pattern Design Club, my monthly membership.
I’d love for you to explore my “room”: The Pattern Design Club. It’s a thriving, engaged community of creatives who support each other and feel safe sharing their work and learning together. It’s also an incredible environment for learning. I release new tutorials every month to ensure you get fresh content to dig into and expand your skills. There’s a challenge every month to showcase everyone’s work and provide that extra incentive to create without judgement. Your belief in yourself and your own capabilities will grow in leaps and bounds.
Having a room full of creatives supporting your journey is, as Joseph Campbell wrote: “… an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation.”
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.