follow your dreams clouds in hand

Chasing Dreams: 14 steps of the Corporate Creative

Dreams are worth following. So get on with it.

You’re not alone – be smart about it.

So naturally, I’m very skeptical of anybody saying anything about following your heart or following your dreams. Personally I think dreams and talents typically go together. So I don’t really believe that many people who moved to Hollywood just to get famous are necessarily talented at all. They just had enough talent to buy a plane ticket and the guts to move to California without knowing anybody. Maybe their moms told them they are talented. I’m a jerk.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and in a complete contradiction of what I described myself in the beginning, I’m extremely optimistic and opportunistic. I really feel like anybody, given enough time and effort can accomplish just about anything they want. The trick to the whole deal, is making sure that you’re not chasing the wrong dream. And as a designer, because everybody’s a designer, I feel like it’s important to be self aware enough to know what your talents are, and more importantly what they are not. Quote me on that.

It’s took me the better part of 20 years to understand I had a natural bent towards video production. Of course the problem is I don’t live in New York or Los Angeles in fact I’m nowhere near NYC or LA, I live in Dallas. But if I look back at my life and the progression of events that have occurred. I can find similarities all the way back to high school. My love of video production of movies really started with TOY STORY in 1998. Of course I made some decisions along the way to get me off track like playing college football but – I believe all things happen for a purpose. That God is in control of all things.

Many important reasons for change.

It took years of me working in a terrible corporate environment for me to realize that the fence I was looking over didn’t provide greener grass, but that the grass I was standing is was totally dead. I had taken advantage of everything I could and wasn’t progressing any longer and it didn’t take but a year to get to that point. It crushed my soul to know my dreams weren’t going to happen. I was following the wrong path to my dreams. I was looking over the wrong fence. The projects I wanted to make were NEVER going to happen in corporate America. Yet, I continued to believe they would. I held out hope that I would be able to accomplish my dreams on the dime of corporate America. How silly am I. Here was the progression I see many corporate creative go through:

The Phases of the Corporate Designer

Those with dreams at least

  1. 1. Excitement – your inspirational for reasons of new “opportunity”, a new job
  2. 2. The first project – Everyone is still excited to see what you can do. Like Etsy for crack addicts
  3. 3. Settling in – Get the hang of things. Dreams still alive. Time goes by fast. You understand the true colors of the company.
  4. 4. The first disappointment – It could be a dream project got the budget cut or the realization the job as described isn’t whats actually happening.
  5. 5. Gut check – Cut and run or put your head down. Different stages of life and personality will determine what path to follow.
  6. 6. The aftermath – If you’re still around, you’ve found reasons to follow the “dreams”, maybe there is still hope for your dreams. But deep down you understand now… you’re there for the paycheck. The dream of a budget or a promotion dwindle.
  7. 7. The second disappointment – Dreams already smashed, this one doesn’t hurt as badly but it has successfully crushed any hope of a come back. Now, there’s no return.
  8. 8. The readjustment – After you clear your head, you know can clearly see the games everyone in the office is playing. Its time to start playing yours. Play it well.
  9. 9. Game time – Possibly the most crucial step. With no more dreams to follow, you have to make everyone else believe you still care. After all you still need the paycheck. You have to deliver stuff today. It’s not as inspirational as it once was, but everyone seems to be just as pleased. So the term “good enough” becomes your motto. The option for a promotion are completely absurd now.
  10. 10. The reawakening – You realize there are some advantages to your new sense of clarity. You’re the Don Juan of keeping everyone happy and making deadlines. Nobody else cares about quality, so you pump it out like a quotes from a bad 80’s movie.
  11. 11. The refocusing – Your dreams finally reemerge. You see there is a way to still follow them and still keep the paycheck – for now. Dreams are a good thing and now you can see the way you can exist in two worlds at the same time. Eureka!
  12. 12. The decline – As you work, you realize your dreams externally can still happen. Less effort goes into keeping everyone happy because the dreams you’re achieving take time and you only have so much of it.
  13. 13. The exit – It can take a few weeks to a few years to get to this point depending on how well you can execute the side-hustle. But, its inevitable, it has to come to an end.
  14. 14. The follow – now unencumbered by the games you once played. Its time to inspire. To shop goals, make new ones and for all the reasons you had before. Follow your dreams.

Corporate America sucks for creatives with a dream. There’s a whole other article about the subject so I’m not gonna going to that again. I just put a link here. In part 2 of this article I will expand upon looking at the your dreams objectively and making sure the dream you think you want is actually the dream you want to follow.

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