It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy — Lucille Ball
There’s something about picking up, moving, and starting this new journey in Cleveland that has me a tiny bit paralyzed. It’s less about where I am physically and more about where I am intrinsically. Moving here marked my first big step into career-land, which was my top goal and priority since before I can remember—yes, really. Now that I’ve made this leap, I’m taking some time to sit and simmer and decide on my next big goals professionally. What this short time of reflection has done is that it’s jogged my crazy forward-future-production-oriented-thinking brain into thinking less about next steps. What has been able to seep in is that I’ve been thinking more about what makes me truly happy and how I can bring more of that into my life in the future. Shhhhh, I know that’s next steps too! One thing I’ve been noticing is how my phases of happy-having interact with others. It gets me all crazy and happy on the inside when I can sit down with a friend and really help them identify what they want out of a certain experience, or to help them sort out next steps in life. I think this might be why I love design so much — working with my clients to help them sort out the vision of their brands is such an endorphin kick. It makes my heart so full to play even a tiny part in helping people along their journeys, in whatever way possible. It’s a unique thing when people reach out for help, and your specific talents align to create something wonderful. I recently heard from a friend who’s résumé I helped design after she was laid off at work, and she told me how many compliments she got on it even after she was employed in her field (!!!). Being able to help others with something that you love doing might just be at the core of this happiness-finding. Getting all gushy over here, please don’t mind me.
The other day I was browsing online, and one link lead to another, and all of a sudden I was reading more in to happiness and how to find it through your career. This article kind of punched me in the face. What struck me the most was the simple tid-bit on how happiness and ‘getting in the flow’ correlate. To get in the flow, and really experience a heightened form of happiness, the activities you’re engaging in must align with your talents and be working towards a personal goal. I started recollecting times when I really get in the flow of doing something and decided to dissect what I did, and what intrinsic goals they were working towards. I thought of the flow as the times when I lost track of time, and simply was happy and working towards a certain something.
Light/clean cooking—I’m drawn to the challenge of creating my favorite (fatty) foods in clean, healthy, alternative ways. It’s my own weirdo belief that almost anyone can create something that is out of control awesome, but it takes hard work and dedication to create something that is just as great tasting, but healthy. Sarah and Caitlin are pretty much my heroines in this regard.
Rowing—While is is a little bit past tense, and kind of still present tense (bear with me here), there was something about competitive rowing that completely cleared my brain. I got in the flow so much so that during junior nationals in 2009 I almost herniated three of my lower discs and ended up being sent to the hospital by ambulance directly after the race (we did win gold though!). I didn’t even realize I couldn’t move my back until I hit the finish line and my brain finally caught up with the duress my body was in. Being the best I could possibly be at rowing was my goal all-throughout high school. Experiencing the flow out on the water was what made it all kind of worth it. While I lost the passion for rowing early in my college career, I’m glad I was able to focus on other passions and really start the journey that lead me to where I am today. Recently, I’ve joined the rowing club in Cleveland, and I’m happily rowing once a week. I’m meeting new people, getting to experience Cleveland from the water, and have fun doing something I know I’m passionate about—without the competitive edge.
Lettering—Now I find myself getting lost while I letter. Seeing a uniquely formed L can get me fake scribbling on my desk with my finger in no time, and then I find myself an hour later having filled up pages in my sketchbook with new formations of words and letters. Lettering really is my happy place, and I know I have a long way to go still and that very journey is what keeps me practicing.
Getting in the flow is hard for me. I don’t know about you, but how often do you make excuses to not do the things you know you enjoy? Because flow-inducing activities inherently coexist with goals, they’re paired with actual work, and there’s something about taking that initiative that just doesn’t always happen. I know I love lettering, but sometimes all I want to do is melt into my couch and order a pizza at the end of the day (negative double points for the flow) instead of sitting at my drawing table and playing around with pens and inks. Getting in the flow takes energy! About a month ago, I started working on a project that really got my flow back after work. All I can say at the moment is wow, and thank you. When you put yourself out there a little bit, and work hard and keep that flow happening, things really do come to you at all the right moments. With this client, I have been able to push myself in so many regards and do something that involves a lot of lettering. There is a whole lot of happy that has filled my insides being able to work on this, and that’s something I’ll start to take note of as I take on more freelance and build my future career.
After this search for the flow—who am I talking like this, really?!—I realized that these activities are the foundation to passion-finding. The next time you feel the flow, take note. These could be the very activities that can help propel your career, and more importantly, help you truly find happiness. Have you thought about the things that get you in this state of mind before? I’d love to hear what flow-inducing activities you get yourself into — it’s kind of a like a tiny little peek into someone’s core self in a way. It’s in the flow that you can possibly find out what you are meant to do and be — that’s pretty crazy and amazing.