Permission To Be Yourself In Business

I remember interviewing Directors for the first film that I wrote and produced. One in particular argued with such certainty that he knew what my film was about and that it couldn't work without his bigchanges to the father character, that I almost forgot that I’d written it. Another wanted me to change the relationship between the sisters because she didn’t get why they got along so well. Yet another, didn’t get why I chose not to explain the interracial marriage that I’d set back in time.

Although my knees were weak as I navigated all of these players, what I came to say, at first cautiously and then with confidence was, that’s not what my film is about.  My film is not about the father or the sister or why two people fell in love.  My film is about how a 10-year-old girl feels when she finds out her father is having an affair.

Despite all the things that were wrong with it according to everybody else, The Best Girl went on to screen at over a dozen festivals in Canada and the United States, including the Palm Springs International Festival and was licensed by BRAVO! and by Canada’s largest broadcaster, CBC. That’s because the Director I did hire heard what I was saying and understood what I was doing.  His getting it gave me permission to express my voice and tell my story my way.

Permission Granted

The business of design is an emotional one so taking the emotion out of designing your business vision and strategy seems counterintuitive to me.  Yes, you have to have your accounting, legal and passive income ducks in a row but those aren’t the only pieces in your business puzzle.

Have you surrounded yourself with a supportive team who understands your aesthetic, vision and process?  Is the work you’re doing challenging you artistically? As Gay Hendricks says, are you in your zone of genius?  Is your marketing meaningful and authentic?  Are you being paid for the full value of what you do?  Do you like your clients?  But most importantly, are you doing things your way — the way that makes complete emotional sense to you?

So much of the work I do is about giving designers permission to ask for what they really, really want in business and then helping them to set up the structures to support them receiving it.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get. 

Listen To The Tiny Voice

I know.  I know.  Some well-meaning people will tell you why it can’t be done; this is how THEY (other design firms that are bigger than you) did it; and this is what they’ve seen other people, who think just like them, do.

Now that’s just fine if you want to tow their line but if you want to create a model to attract the level of success that you know you can have (even if the voice inside telling you that is a tiny one), forgive them.  People often give advice from the perspective of what they would do if they were in your situation but the thing is, they’re not you.  They didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t do it that way.  You can.  People will always say it can’t be done until somebody goes out and does it.  So find people who support you in growing the vision that is rocking your soul.

Your way is the heart of your brand.  That’s why you stand out, because you’re designing spaces and taking care of clients in the way that only you can.  You. Are. Allowed.  That's why it's your business.

List one thing you need to give yourself permission to do, TODAY.