I was in a conversation with a young creative the other day. In the midst of our conversation there was much discussion about work dissatisfaction, frustration with his inability to find creative expression, and relational tension. He expressed a desire to launch a new venture or do something to change his current situation.
My advice was a simple question: are you running from something, or running to something?
There is a significant difference between the two. When you spend your life running from dissatisfaction, it will follow you everywhere. It reminds me of one of my favorite Benjamin Franklin quotes:
The discontented man finds no easy chair.
Running from discomfort is not a life strategy. It is not a career plan. It’s not even a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We need to make certain that we’re making our choices based upon what we’re moving toward rather than what we’re moving away from.
The same applies to our creative process. Defining creative direction by declaring what we’re not isn’t a strategy. This doesn’t motivate people on the team to do their best work. There must be a clear definition of what we are, where we are headed, and some rails that help us stay aligned and moving in the right direction.
In whatever work you’re doing right now, or whatever you’re charged with, do you know where you’re going, or are you driving by looking in the rear view mirror? You need to make sure you’re running toward, not running away from.
(Photo by Vincepal)