In the creative world, the word passion comes up frequently in group discussions.
“I’m just not passionate about my work anymore.”
“How do you keep the passion alive in your work?”
“What inspires you?”
All common questions.
For me, I tend to approach things from a child’s point of view. I love to learn. I’m a sponge when it comes to education. I enjoy any opportunity to learn about something new. I try to refrain from making judgments about a client or industry until I’ve had an opportunity to let them educate me about their business. When I’m in a room with an inspired CEO, I can easily become interested, excited, and even passionate about a subject that, to many people, might be quite mundane. My task as a design strategist, is to take that inspiration and run with it.
Usually, if I’m sitting in a client meeting discussing a project with a new client it’s because someone has referred me. The basic element of trust is already there, to some extent. This immediately affords me the creative license and necessary space I need to learn about their company, their mission, their goals, their objectives. When a client trusts me, and understands the value of what I do, I can move mountains. Having said that, if, halfway through an initial meeting, I am not inspired, or convinced that their project is something I could be passionate about, I am honest with the client and let them know that I’m probably not the right fit for their project.
Have I worked on projects I’m not passionate about? Yes. Would I do it again? No.
I am there to serve my client. How does one truly serve a client? Well, if I don’t connect with their business and care about their project, I can only serve them by being upfront and letting them know that I am not the right fit for their project. I will also be the first to tell them if I feel they are going down the wrong path. Again, from a service point of view, if I don’t believe the particular project is something they need, I tell them. My clients know this about me. They trust my expertise and are willing to explore the possibilities.
There are plenty of clients to go around. Design is needed everywhere, in everything. I would be doing both the client and myself a disservice if I went ahead and worked on a project that I had no connection with. Having said that, do I know before a meeting if the client is a good fit or if the project is an appropriate next step? Sometimes, but sometimes not.
How do I stay inspired? I look for inspired leaders. Inspired leaders are easy to follow and for me, they keep me passionate about design. It’s a win-win situation. Great leaders move and inspire people, the same as great designs do. A CEO with a strong vision can move mountains, just look at Apple. Steve Jobs was a man of passion and a true inspiration no matter what the industry. He is the perfect example of an inspired leader who understood the value of great design.