You know what the weirdest thing to me is? The separation on the stance ” you can do anything you put your mind to.” You hear some parents tell their children that, you hear other parents tell their children to be “realistic.” Which one is really true? I had t really thought about this until one of my college professors took an extremely strong stance on the side of “you are born to be something. It is not really up to you. You are born with a set of skills and you must utilize that set of skills.” Now this is really when I got thinking. Is it that black and white? Or is there more to it?
That was four years ago, and I have had some time to really evaluate where I stand on it. And in all honesty, you can literally accomplish just about anything that you put your mind to, but not without the upmost hard work and devotion. And believe me, it will come more natural to some than it will others, but that makes it that much more rewarding when you accomplish it.
I actually dealt with this exact scenario myself. I’ve never been good at drawing or even looked at artistically, but I decided I wanted to do graphic design. So I set out on a voyage. Every day for 2 years, in between classes, I would head to my university’s library and start watching YouTube tutorials for programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illuatrator. I had taken one class in high school but that was about the extent of my graphic design knowledge. So for my junior year of school, I started creating hypothetical businesses and creating marketing and promotional pieces for them. This allowed me to put myself in real world situations and come up with something tangible people could actually see. After a serious 4 month learning curve of doing this hypothetical businesses, I finally started to see true progression. I started to actually understand design and become confident in what I brought to the table.
Come Junior year summer, I set out to find a graphic design internship, and ended up landing one at an electric company, which I would definitely recommend! Especially if it’s just for a summer, because the more change and variation you have, the more you will learn and grow!
So I complete my internship and go to school for my senior year and continue my hypothetical businesses and start actually doing work for people, through referrals, reaching out on social media, and just having conversations with classmates. This allowed me to actually have graphic design discussions and get a feel for what it was like to work with a client.
I finally graduated and moved up to Chicago from St Louis to start doing freelance design work. I made a decision that I would at least have a discussion with any potential client, no matter what the opportunity was. This landed me in 2 amazing opportunities…my first opportunity was to be a design coach at chicago’s startup weekend, where a bunch of entrepreneurial minded individuals come together and created a hypothetical business and minimal viable product in a weekend. My job was to coach these individuals on the design of their product and business, and through this startup weekend, I got the opportunity to make some marketing pieces for a big company…
The work was challenging as all hell, and working with big client was unlike anything I had ever done, but I thrived off of the pressure. When it was all said and done, a marketing piece I made ended up on the side of a building in downtown Chicago…
This was so surreal…it was the moment I truly realized you could accomplish anything with the right devotion and drive…you just have to keep laying the groundwork and believe in yourself. Who knows where life will take you…
Keep grinding and do not become discouraged. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are those who give up when things get tough. You’ve got to be tough on yourself, and work smart, not hard. But that’s for another blog post!
I hope y’all enjoyed reading this, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!
Now go out and get it!!