This posting has been fermenting inside me for a few weeks now. It lacked the urgency of my last about poor Riley but comes from as deeply felt, although admittedly far more selfish, thoughts and emotions.
It’s a new year. It’s competition season. A time to reflect on the best work of last year and to fret about how to keep growing creatively. Filthy lucre is never far from the self-employed’s mind but I do my best to focus on what I want to do and trust destiny and serendipity will fill in the gaps.
So why so anxious about this year?Partly, I am just forgetting i get my knickers in a twist like this every year at this time. It also matters that ENP Inc is about to turn 10 in May – about time to feel like a grownup in corporation-years. And it’s the nature of the fusion of creativity, pride and ambition that it’s much easier to obsess on what you want but don’t yet have than to be at peace with what you’ve achieved (or maybe that’s just me).
More or less two years ago I flew out to Toronto to meet with Heather Morton! desperately seeking sage advice on how to elevate my brand and my game. I got a thorough, sage arse-kicking and the resulting visual identity, website and focus on people have served me well. Coincidentally I have also fallen in love with video over this time and the results have been remarkable.
So here I am now headed to Toronto, again seeking validation of my work, looking this time for clients. I “conquered” my fear of marketing calls by hiring a sales rep and will spend the next three days enthusiastically and publicly evangelizing while shitting myself. I don’t think that constitutes a dichotomy but it is definitely an uncomfortable condition. There’s a lot at stake; it’s all so personal.
So why go through all this? In this business standing still simply isn’t an option. I left behind the corporate oil and gas world where plenty of people profitably exploit the two essential qualities of having a pulse and a calgary postal code. I still don’t totally get why I couldn’t bring myself to stay but it is a clear fact that I had to go.
I want to do great work: work I love, work that people see, work I am paid well for. I am passionate about my work, at its best it truly feeds my soul ; in turn that emotional kinetic energy is what’s needed to sustain the crazy pursuit of Next. It’s a form of existential perpetual motion for those with a sound appetite for self-flagellation and manic angst.
Truth is that history shows most overnight successes were a long time coming. In ten years my creative growth has been extraordinary. Three years ago i openly scorned video. Last year my business was about to have its best year ever. Perhaps like my friend Benjamin i should have “hold fast” tattooed boldly where i can see it every day? I have learned that life deliberately led following one’s passion has a simplicity (but not an easiness) that is beyond compare. There’s a stars and moon quote lurking in the recesses of my memory that puts it well in perspective but the bottom line is that whether I score a big ad client, annual report or competition win in the next few weeks I will go to bed each night knowing i’m 100% committed to the game. Not that that’s always a cure for insomnia but it sure as hell beats lurking in a cubicle wondering about what might have been.
My mantra, attributed to Goethe:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
For boldness has genius and magic to it.
Amen. Go forth and begin,you genii and magicians!