Career sunriseI just celebrated my fourth year as the Graphic Design Coordinator at Nossi College of Art. Looking back, there are times that include confusion and confidence with my decision to accept this position. In all, I’m thankful today that I can reflect in both cases with a humble heart and consider how I have grown.

My creative passion as an art director and creative director are still as intense today as when I started my career nineteen years ago. As a young designer at my first ad agency, I couldn’t wait to achieve it all. Fifteen years later and reaching my goal as a creative director for my fifth ad agency, I realized that there had to be something more for me, I just didn’t know what–after all, reaching a creative director position was the pinnacle of my career. When I left my last agency, I thought running my own business was the answer, but God had already opened another door.

It’s funny the way God works in my life. He’s already many steps ahead of me and his path is usually something I can’t see when I go looking on my own. If you would have asked me ten years ago if my career would eventually lead to a coordinator and teaching position at an Art College, I would have laughed. I mean, “those who can’t, teach.” After four years of being part of this college, I’ve learned that cliche’ is totally a farce. Try standing in front of  a room full of college students for four hours at a time and see what I mean. Not only does it challenge everything I know, but being able to teach it to others successfully depends on my very success as a professional. Add to that the ability to mentor these young people in how to mature as an adult and understand what it’s like to be a creative individual in life and I’ve got the biggest challenge in my entire career. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn’t do any of this without still being active as creative professional? And why wouldn’t I include this, my passion is still for art direction and creative direction.

I still run Care To Create and I’m always working with new clients on projects that involve both of my creative passions. Being a creative professional is less of a career than it is a lifestyle. I can’t just turn it off. If you know someone who can, I’ll argue whether that are really successful at what they do. The only difference for me is that I don’t have to fill fifty hours a week doing it. I now have the freedom to work with people and projects that inspire me. Without knowing it, I walked through the door God opened for me. Because he knows me best. All I did was have the willingness to walk though it. The rest was a four year experience that I would never give back.

Today, I can reflect back on my ad agency and teaching carer with both good and bad experiences. All of it has humbled me and God has blessed me with this understanding. I’m very grateful. Thank you all who congratulated me and who have endured both my successes and failures through it all. I look forward to the doors God will open for me next. Amen!

 

 

 

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After 17 years in the advertising agency business I’ve realized a vital key aspect of success. I have to give up my own ideas for the opportunity of a better one. Beyond my own self delusional compulsion to “do it right” lies a possible idea at the edge of darkness ready to be birthed. There’s only one thing stopping it. Me.

Yes, I still believe that I’m good at what I do. Yes I am a perfectionist. And no I don’t think that an idea should set sail just to give some irrelevant ignorant conception a chance. However, the opportunity should exist within a creative process that allows for new thoughts and challenges to exist. True collaboration starts with no one owning anything.

To the extent of how this process can be done effectively is the slight difference between obligation and responsibility. Obligation is the commonality shared by those who are devoted to the PROCESS to solve the creative challenge. Responsibility is the ego centric bologna that has ruined the conservative agency model and any other creative educational methodology since. Surrendering the ownership of both obligation and responsibility is how you win.

In fact, this is exactly how crowdsourcing done correctly can be successful. I’ve completed many of these events as a Creative Director and to this day am involved with non profit crowdsourcing projects with 30 plus talented people each time. All within a 30 hour timespan from start to finish. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do.

Today I’m an educator. I’m obligated to the process of putting the right teachers in classrooms and to the curriculums that are relevant to the creative industries we send our students out to conquer. Does this make me, our teachers and our students immune to the conundrum of the fore mentioned plague? Of course not. Why because there still exists the ego. Do I still suffer from it? Yes. The truth is in the fact that I want the reward of claiming the responsibility of the idea so I can claim the acceptance of others in a world littered with finger pointing.

Here’s the real truth. In order to be accepted by others, to claim respect, integrity and honor, I have to give up being responsible for it all. I have to surrender the burden of taking it all on myself. When I share the obligation AND the responsibility with others then we all win. We’re all moving together in the same direction. And that also means we all share in the reward together.

This effort takes real commitment by everyone. Those involved can’t just “do their part” and expect the results to be successful. It takes dedication, trust and…passion. Yes passion. Because without giving a shit, there’s no real effort. In the end the weakest links pull apart the strongest chain. However, those that are crazy enough to say it can be done, are usually the ones that get it done.

You might say, that sounds like utopia. And you might be right. But utopia might just be the idea on the edge of darkness, just waiting to be birthed.

Bruce Stanley is a Creative Director and the Graphic Design Coordinator at Nossi College of Art. His belief in the ability to control your creative destiny is why he enjoys sharing his expertise and experiences with others. You can reach him though his blog, caretocreate.com, twitter, @bsimage or at bruce@nossi.edu.