Design your adventure

Creative people often have a story to tell about the adventurous path they took from where they started to where they ended up. I love hearing them describe their unique adventure, with its ups, downs, and surprises.

Finding your creative calling and matching it to a sustainable career is a complex design challenge, and its process is never linear. It often starts with a naive student studying a traditional vocation, living in a coma of convention. One day they serendipitously stumble into a rabbit hole that opens their eyes to a new world of creative possibilities. Or it’s someone who kicks off their intended career and finds they can’t stand the drudges of a corporation. Either way, it takes some self discovery, trial and error, and a lucky break, before they find a new perspective on what they want for themselves. Of course it takes hard work to get there, but soon they are living their creative calling and sharing their talent with the world. Sometime this journey is a gently flowing course, but often its full of surprising cliffs, big boulders, and dead ends.

You’ve heard these stories. A mechanical engineer reconfigured into a design strategist. A librarian reclassified as information architect. An english lit grad writing personas for product research. Teachers who turned a hobby into a crafty startup. An architect who dreams up worlds built in VR instead of concrete.

What is it about creativity that is so easily overlooked when careers are prescribed? Is it the cultural impression of starving artists, or the perceived comfort of the proven path to ‘success’ that keep us from exploring a different calling? It’s probably many things. But even if we try to avoid it, creativity often finds its way out of us. Suddenly we’re jumping off the well worn path and trying something new. We see where this goes, up, down, around the corner, we just follow it. Eventually, it leads to a creative output that makes our calling complete.  Are you there yet? If not, keep chasing your calling. Once you find it, stop and look back. That jagged, winding path behind you is a great adventure story, designed by you.

Update: Check out Elle Luna’s book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. It fits this article’s point perfectly.