Faith Over Fear

Faith Over Fear

I had a motivating conversation over coffee with a friend and fellow creative. We were talking about success and fear and how sometimes we are are own worst enemies. Sometimes…we are afraid to succeed.

Let’s admit one thing: there will always be fear. Maybe you’re afraid of doing a good job on a project. Or maybe you’re afraid of talking about some concerns with a friend. It’s how you deal with that fear that shapes the outcome.

We all have a fear voice and a faith voice. Your fear voice tells you, ‘You’re not good enough; this is going to take time; you’re going to have to learn something new. Just do the bare minimum.’  Your faith voice tells you, ‘You can totally do this. You want a happy client, right? Do the work, give them a little more than they asked for, and make them love you.’

If you change your way of thinking, the good stuff you’re looking for will drive you to succeed. Listen to the faith voice. Focus on the faith voice.

Take Time to Play.



Melissa Carlson Creative illustration with filters

This morning, I took some advice. Instead of jumping right into work, I played for about ten minutes. I opened up my illustration program and found some filters I didn’t know existed. The results were varied: some subtle, some wild. And even though none of the stuff I created is going to show up in my next project, I now know those filters are there to use. Right now, I don’t even know what I’d use them for, but I could imagine creating an interesting background or pattern.

I have a couple subscriptions to online skill sites. You can learn how to build a website, sew a pillowcase, hand-letter a headline. It’s amazing what’s out there. These skill sites come in handy when you need to know how to do something in quick order. Some of the tutorials are better than others; you can tell the folks who took time to practice and have the presentation packaged neatly. I wish I took more time to do these things, but it’s like anything else. You have paying work that has to get done. You have last-minute requests from clients, bills to pay, a house to clean, etc. Play gets put on the back burner. It’s just very refreshing to learn something new.

Take time to play. It’s fun, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s only ten minutes.


Simple vs. Piece of Cake



piece of cake


‘Simple’ by definition

I was having a glass of wine with my friend, Carolyn, the other night, and we were discussing each other’s work. I said that I’m enjoying creating simple websites. Being an animated person, Carolyn’s face was nothing short of hearing fingernails on a chalk board. ‘Not simple‘, she said. And she immediately looked up the word in her thesaurus app. ‘Clean, uncomplicated, piece of cake’, were several of the more appealing suggestions. Her point: simple can also mean ‘unstudied, vanilla, bare…’, hardly words I would want used to describe my projects!

good ‘Simple’

Just the other day, our college-age daughter needed some money in her account to cover her rent. Usually, I would grumble and drive to her bank and deposit cash. Now, my bank allows me to “send” money to her phone. She receives a text and follows the instructions to direct this electronic deposit into her checking account. This is ‘good simple’.

Email and cloud-based computing mean it isn’t always necessary to send a physical package. It used to be you’d have to set up a meeting with the client every time you wanted to show them something. Now you can create a pdf and send it in an email. Or you share a link to the cloud. I always try to get face-to-face with my clients to nurture the relationship, or to help a project along, but it is wonderful when you can get some quick feedback on an edit. (Clients like it, too.)

All of it this is great. But I’m afraid, from a creative standpoint, expecting things quickly is getting in the way of doing things right.

What people think they need isn’t always what they really need.

I’ve had a few companies say, ‘all we need is a simple website’. What they mean is they need a clean, uncomplicated website, and even with these clean, uncomplicated sites, we also need to brainstorm all the possible functions early, before we start building.

Taking time to step way back and think through a project is important:
– what inspired this project?
– what do you need it to do?
– who will make updates, contribute content?

Take the time to do things right.

Computers have made many parts of our work faster, but the heart and soul of any project depends on investing time early to think things through. Piece of cake, right? All kidding aside, we could all benefit from just slowing things down and doing them right.