Updated: Nov 6, 2021
Two years ago I gave a talk at Creative Mornings Rotterdam about the importance of tangible experiences. At the time I had just finished some personal design projects for a new portfolio I had been creating for a Phd fellowship application - the third one out of eventually five applications.
This week Creative Mornings contacted me because they wanted to share updates and quotes from previous female speakers with their community. They asked me to give a little insight into what I’m doing right now, design related.
Of course I said yes, I felt very honoured. While writing up a little something it suddenly hit me how much my focus has shifted since then.
Since finishing my Masters back in 2015 until mid 2020 I had been chasing a dream I thought I wanted. To me pursuing a PhD seemed like a good idea since it seemed to fit all of my ‘skills & strengths’ as a designer with an interest in research. One other big reason for chasing a PhD to me was security: the ‘security’ or certainty of always having a job within the academic world. Well, my efforts didn't seem to be working towards that dream so after five years it was time to embrace change.
And oh my, my dream has changed a lot since I started pursuing my own business. I was talking with one of my friends the other day about changing paths and how we approach our ‘careers’. We concluded it all boils down to what drives us in life.
The most interesting information I found about what drives us in life is from motivational speaker & guru Tony Robbins. He explains that every single person has the same fundamental six “human needs,” but each person places different levels of importance on them and has unique beliefs about how to satisfy those needs. These needs or driving forces are: Certainty/Security, Uncertainty/Variety, Significance, Love, Growth, and Contribution. You can do a test at his website to find out about your #1 driving force and mine is apparently: Uncertainty.
I had been chasing security for five years when pursuing a Phd fellowship position but what drives me as an individual is the opposite! By focusing only on what fits my skills and strengths as a designer and approaching my career with worry rather than wonder, I couldn’t see that what was driving me was not in line with how I approach all other things in my life. And the most interesting insight of all has been that all those skills and strengths I have built over the years are even a better fit with what I’m doing right now with Alta!
I guess the lesson learned here is that it’s not about one-size-fits-all, but what is good for you individually. Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. But most of all be honest about what drives you in life and expand on that, to be approaching things with wonder rather than worry.