Drift Happens

Drift Happens

Judy here. As 2019 draws to a close, I have a lot to celebrate. Honestly, every year of self-employment feels like a huge victory. I beat the odds and survived another year. It’s no small thing!

But this year was different. In some ways, it was the best year so far. I worked hard, worked a lot, blasted through my revenue goals and took a few weeks off in August. We welcomed new organizations to our client roster and expanded our relationships with current clients. We also started a monthly email newsletter. (Are you on the list? Sign up here.)

And yet, looking back on the projects I completed this year, I am hit with a somewhat unsettling realization. Despite the growth, this year has been the least creative. Ouch. 

Some of this is due to the type of projects that have been coming my way—projects that require a high level of skill but don’t bring deep creative challenges. 

In some ways, it’s both a sign of success and a pitfall of longevity. I’m fortunate to have been in business for over ten years (and self-employed for even longer). Being an independent designer is one of the great gifts of my life. Without exception, I like my clients and I’m happy to do the work, whatever it is. But the longer I’m in business, the more I tend to play it safe. Keep the machine running. Don’t rock the boat.

In the quest for security and stability, I find myself in a bit of mission drift. 

But I have a lot more to offer. 

As I close the studio for the holiday break, I have a lot to ponder. What is the work that I’m most passionate about doing? How can I put that work front and center? What is the balance of creativity and stability and how much risk am I comfortable with? What scares me the most and can I be more brave? 

Expect to see more personal projects in the coming year as I dig into my creative well so I can bring my very best to my client work.

Read Me

What could possibly go wrong?!

What could possibly go wrong?!

Sometimes it’s good to change up your technique.

In a couple of weeks we’ll talk about 5 questions to answer before getting started on a project. This week we’re taking the same idea of strategic planning, and coming at it from a different (potentially more playful) direction.

We’ve all heard of, and possibly done, a post mortem — discussion after a project of what went wrong and what could go better.

As opposed to a post-mortem, which is conducted after the fact, a premortem attempts to determine what could go wrong (and why) before it happens.

How to do a premortem  

  1. Assume that your project has launched and that it did not go well.
  2. Brainstorm all the factors that could have contributed to the poor outcome.
  3. Come up with ways you could have prevented the bad outcome.

Keep an eye out for any crises that could have been averted or obstacles that you had not considered.

Incorporate this new information into your planning and strategy. If this focus on negative outcomes sounds pessimistic to you, I assure you that it’s not. It’s so easy to overlook warning signs.

By imagining what could go wrong, we anticipate possible pitfalls and create an opportunity to change course.  

This process helps you uncover weaknesses so you can address them and launch with more confidence.

Read Me

Restoring the American Dream

Restoring the American Dream

I was recently commissioned by Education Post to develop a piece of editorial art for an article by Peter Cunningham about the state of the American Dream. It was a fun creative challenge for me and an honor to work with such a thoughtful writer.

Head over the Education Post to read the article.

Read Me