Sunday, April 14, 2013

Success - What It Really Looks Like!

This is for all of you who are feeling the heat as your deadlines loom.  There's nothing more difficult for a tutor than to give honest, constructive feedback on a project in the knowledge that the feedback is going to create discomfort and stress and doubt.  As a student, discovering that not everything you're doing is working yet can feel as if you're doing something wrong or losing control of your project.  It can feel as if you've made some awful, catastrophic mistake somewhere along the way.  It can encourage crises of confidence and panic.  You can lose your way.  Don't.

I saw this diagram posted on Linkedin a few days back; it gave me comfort because every creative project in which I've been involved is best characterised by it.  The road to success can feel as messy as this - as imperfect - as if we're going in circles or, for every step forwards, we take two steps back.  This process is normal, I think, unavoidable even.  The diagram is true.  

The secret of success is not beating yourself up because you've got to double back sometimes or go over old ground or return to the drawing board or because sometimes you are the recipient of difficult feedback at the eleventh hour - this is the messy reality of process.  Don't lose confidence.  Don't give in to negative thinking or let panic take the wheel or throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Instead, take a moment to look at how far you've come already.  You've already accomplished so much, right?  

Never forget: what you're trying to do is really difficult.  Not everyone can do this stuff (most people have no idea just how many plates you're spinning), which is why you're going to be special and in demand one day.

Onwards, you lot - onwards!   Best of luck and be amazing :)


  1. Thanks Phil! It's really hard to see how far you've come when you feel swamped by everything you're currently working on. I'll try to keep that diagram in mind :P

  2. Thanks, boss. I needed that today.

  3. Thank you! Same, this was well and truly needed :)

  4. Don't forget too that although your current projects all in some ways represent the end of a certain journey, there can be a long life for them afterwards if you give them care and attention now. It just means they can keep working and working for you long into the future. So make sure you polish the hell out of them! :)

  5. Just a phrase I bumped into related to this post: "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."