What drives you to be a designer? Do you feel burned out because you don’t get to contribute your ideas in Marketing meetings and are micro managed to push pixels? We’ve all been there when someone in Marketing decides to have a brilliant idea, and you know deep in your gut that you could make the idea more effective (or that the idea isn’t valid), but weren’t sure on how to do it. Or maybe you’re just tired of arguing back at Marketing and just say “yes” to whatever they insist, but it doesn’t spark your design mojo and you feel numb inside. Your designs are bland now and you’re in a creative rut. Does this sound like you?
The big breakthrough to realize is that you are making something that is going to be experienced by others. You aren’t just pushing pixels, making the next label and moving on. The label will go to production and eventually be used on a product. It does matter what you are making.
You’ve got to figure out what it means to feel passion. When you’ve got passion, the wheels turn and creativity flows onto paper, into our designs and more:
“Perhaps your challenge isn’t finding a better project or a better boss. Perhaps you need to get in touch with what it means to feel passionate. People with passion look for ways to make things happen.” — Seth Godin
We’re going to rekindle the creative fire in you so you’ll be able to create, feel inspired, and generate ideas whenever you work on a project. To do this, let’s find the Why Factor.
The Why Factor
You’ve got to figure out the Why Factor for the product, service, or company you’re creating or working for. Ask yourself always why does this matter? Does this solution build relationships?
Simon Sinek, known for speaking on the Golden Circle in his Ted Talk Start With Why, focuses specifically on inspiring people and organizations to be authentic by finding their true purpose in order for success to prosper in an ever-changing world.
Why Factors are what solve problems. They are solution oriented.
Oprah articulated this clearly in her speech to graduating class of Stanford University:
“Your real work is to figure out where your power base is and to work on that alignment of your personality, your gifts you have to give, with the real reason why you are here,” she said. “Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.”
The Why Factor can applied to an organization, a person, a promotion, or even a specific advertisement.
Before you define the Why Factor for the next project or for your company that you work for, start by defining your why factor for your career.
An example of applying the Why Factor to a business
Here’s an example for a company that sells solar power panels:
Why? Why are you in this business?
We want to keep the environment thriving for future generations.
How? How are you going to empower people to accomplish their goals?
By providing energy efficiency solutions.
What? What is it that you actually make or sell, in regards to product or service?
A solar power panel company creates and sells solar panels.
Some tips on finding your Why Factor
This Why Factor and golden circle may seem pretty abstract to you right now. Here are some tips that will help you define and find your why factor. Some people may figure this out right away, others may take longer to figure it out.
Be authentic and have courage
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most respected, loved and successful woman in our time, said that she based her success on being herself. She never tried to be anyone else or go into “reporter mode.” When you operate from a place of authenticity whether you’re in the office or at home, you are able to tap into your power. That power generates impulsion, which drives you forward.
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
If you believe in a project that you’re working on, it will have meaning to you. That’s huge when putting energy towards something. Especially in the creative field.
As Seth Godin states in his book Linchpin, “art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”
What we do as designers is ride that fine line between creating beautiful “art” and creating meaningful experiences. We’re crafters and we want to be proud of our work. It’s on display in the world. We want our work to be good, not only for ourselves, but to benefit our communities and the clients we work for. That takes courage to expose our work to the world.
Once you figure out your Why Factor (your true purpose), you can then figure out your “what” and “how.”
Tools to Learn Your Why Factor
Go to the following website to figure out your Why Factor:
Simon Sinek beautifully articulates the Why factor in this TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA