I remember the day I told my mom that I wanted to be in the field of design. It was a day filled with a back and forth debate of why I felt it was my calling versus the wisdom of a single mother that had been through so much.
To explain that this thing made me equally calm and excited but most importantly was a thing I could use to make a difference, was a failure of a show within itself. The only thing that could come out was, “I’m going to be a designer and we’ll see who fails”. In hindsight, that conversation could have gone better.
Sure, I was a little bitter that while my teenage friends spent their summers making memories together, I spent mine inside. What else would a homeschooled kid, raised by a strict, Caribbean single mother be doing otherwise? Certainly not “hanging” with friends.
However, designing experiences where people could connect and grow together made me feel like I had a purpose.
The Market vs Your Passion
The first lesson I learned after being so very determined was that, the market really doesn’t care much about your passion. It does however care how your passion or more specifically how your skills benefit those within the marketplace.
It wouldn’t be enough to just design cool looking graphics. They would also need to serve a purpose in the chain of communication. But above that, I would also need to be more than just a designer. Since I was a self-taught designer, I figured that learning to turn my designs into something that’s a bit more interactive couldn’t be so hard.
Not only did I underestimate the task, I also underestimated the impact underestimating a transition can have on your emotional and mental health if not done the right way.
Putting in the work is only one side of the coin. Understanding the work required is the other side that is often overlooked and underestimated.
Embrace the Obstacles
Each and every new level we experience in life, carries its own set of obstacles. Often we look at these plot twists and think that this is the end. However, the obstacles you face are more of a friend than your comfort zone will ever be.
It was the transition from the world of programming and user experience to business that taught me this lesson.
The best thing you and I can ever do along the journey of life, is to embrace the obstacles when they appear and grow.
The effort required to push through the dip and make it through the blur isn’t supposed to be easy. It will however grant gifts to your future self that can be referenced for application in regards to willpower, focus, and endurance.
Gifts given from your past self materialize themselves in the effort put forth towards accomplishing a goal. If everything was easy, there would be no reference bank to draw from to support your experience.
It’s not about things becoming easier. It’s about you, especially the inner you getting stronger and wiser.
Don’t be the person who continually destroys the possibilities of a better future because of the alternative viewpoints that have your focus stuck on the present.
Secure the Bag of Mental Health
If you feel bad for taking care of your mental and emotional health, it may be time to revisit what’s getting the priority in your life. The more we neglect this precious individual resource, the more incapable we become when it comes to handling the transitions of life.
This by far was the hardest lesson for me to learn. When all the focus goes towards an outward display of success, the inner you is more likely to be depressed or even burnt out.
In a world where everyone is an “expert”, there’s just something special about the person that just tries their best and helps others in the process. Too much focus is on being an expert and not enough on being human. The day you realize that it isn’t about the title held is the day true progress will be made.
Before an impact can be made on the world, you have to start with person zero also known as yourself.
Let your moves reflect the intentions of your goals. Meaning, don’t just do things just because. Do things because that lead to a better version of you.
Your ability to grow depends on your willingness to learn. Make the time to be better emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Your goals and dreams will thank you.
Close the roads that no longer serve your purpose of leveling up and being better. Sometimes we have to take a step back from all of the activity and the noise and realize it is easy to lose focus of what around us really matters.
The days you feel that you can’t keep going, take a moment to remember why you started and communicate to that. Too often we forget that the story of our lives is still being written. So instead of acting accordingly, we act as if it’s already done.
Above all the most important lesson I’ve learned is, sometimes the chance to be great, starts with what’s going on in your heart and mind. Life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being willing to try.
What are you willing to be intentional about in your life?