Promises, promises

The last time I wrote here, I made a bunch of promises–including a promise to write about the things I promised. Well, if you thought I forgot about that, you were wrong. I’ve been busy, albeit sporadically, trying to make good on those IMG_2375[1]promises and learning lessons along the way. I’m going to break up my report into a series of posts so it’s easier to digest.

Before I dive in, let’s recap the promises.

  1. Go skiing with my son to honor his desire to spend time with me and show me what he loves.
  2. Focus on something other than myself. Look outward rather than inward.
  3. Write about the process.

That’s only three items; how hard could it be to check off that list, right?

Well, a quarter of a year has passed and I only have one definitive check mark. I’ve made progress on the other items, but as I described it in my original post, it’s more of a journey than a destination.

You have probably surmised from the photo that I made it to the ski slopes with my son. (Yay, me.) I’ve also spent a lot of time researching possibilities, evaluating opportunities, and trying some new things. My head is full of information that is begging to be mined for nuggets of wisdom.

It’s coming, my friends. Here’s what I’m going to share with you in my next several posts:

  1. There’s more than one way to conquer a mountain.
  2. Overthinking kills ambition.
  3. People who need help don’t want you to wait to get your ducks in a row. They don’t need them to be lined up; they just need ducks.
  4. My grocery cart looks a whole lot different to me now.
  5. Never, ever lose sight of the people.

Stay tuned.

Love is blind

blindfoldRule #1: Don’t fall in love with your work.

Okay, I don’t know what that’s the first rule of, but it should definitely be a rule somewhere. I learned that lesson (again) today.

A colleague and I were working on an ad, and we needed just the right image to reinforce the copy. We both started searching independently, forwarding links back and forth to photos that we thought might work. Then I found it. The perfect image. Even though I loved it, I tried to play it cool.

My colleague was less than enthused, but he did his due diligence and placed it in the ad to get a feel for it. He gave me thoughtful comments. The background was too busy; it would hamper readability. There wasn’t enough of a color pop to get attention. It didn’t lend itself to the overall design.

I didn’t argue with him, but I just knew it would work. It evoked exactly the kinds of feelings I wanted from the ad. Even so, I kept my comments to myself and kept looking, hoping he would see the light.

Eventually, we found another shot that worked well with the ad. It was completely different, but it worked. And it even addressed all of my colleague’s issues: it was simple, lent itself to readability, and offered just the right color pop. We had found a winner.

I still think my original image looked great, but I can’t argue that this one does, too–and probably more so. Yet if I had dug in my heels, I would have missed this opportunity. I would have been content the way things were rather than struggling to make them better. It’s easy to forget that often one’s best work arises from conflict, from being forced to think and rethink, from eschewing the easy and finding new solutions. When we fall in love with our own stuff, we run the risk of becoming blind to something better.

Of course, it’s no big surprise that I’ve been here before. Many moons ago, I wrote about the same challenge in Panning for gold, and later in Get over yourself. Why, oh why, does it take so many tries for me to learn the same lesson?

When you fall in love with your work, take off the blinders and fix it.