The Art of Listening in the Digital Age

Sunday, March 6th, 2022|

From an early age we are taught how to present and to speak better—whether it be debate classes in high school, or Toastmasters sessions as adults, there is a big emphasis in our professional world to be better communicators.

However, the art of communication indeed requires both the sending and receiving of information, and when was the last time we learned how to listen better?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, communication is defined as a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.

The importance of listening skills in our post pandemic, remote, digital world is even more important as teams are dispersed across different time zones.

Artisan Creative has been remote for 11 years— and as a remote team we continually work on becoming better communicators with one another, as well as with our clients and candidates.

In fact, Clear and Open Communication as well as Building Trusted Relationships are two of our core values. And, for us embodying listening best practices in  all forms of communication is paramount to embracing our core values.

Last month, the Artisan Creative team read the book “You Are Not Listening: What you are missing and Why it matters” by Kate Murphy. Her studies reinforce and support our efforts as a team to continue to learn, grow and improve together.  Several of our team members are members of Toastmasters to seek new ways to communicate better as well as utilize improved listening techniques and communication skills in our internal and external processes.

The author explores quite a few fascinating studies on listening. Specifically, that 55% of communication is non-verbal.  55%!  And that 38% of that nonverbal communication is communicated in our tone of voice.

What are we missing in that 55% when we can’t see or hear the recipient? What are we missing without seeing people and noticing expressions, body language and gestures? What happens when we don’t hear intonations and tone?

Digital communication has incredible benefits, there is no disputing how it has allowed for immediate connection, the ability to have remote teams, and to expand productivity and immediacy of action.

What is the potential impact of non-verbal digital communication (Slack, WhatsApp, email and social media) on culture, morale and connection?

It’s important to set parameters to determine the type of conversations we need to have and which conversations are okay via Slack; which require a phone call, and when is it best to hop on Zoom.   On our team, we avoid long-winded texts/slacks to explain something—we set up a video call, pick up the phone, send a voice memo, or better still, record a Loom video as needed.

How are you incorporating more connection and listening in your digital communication? Please comment below.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 601st a.blog.

Practicing Listening

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021|

In this age of Video interviews, Zoom team meetings, and online collaboration, one key aspect of clear communication is listening.

Having a good conversation requires mastering the art of speaking and listening. As adults, we have plenty of chances to perfect our speaking skills. We can enroll in Toastmasters groups, debate classes, drama classes, and speech lessons.

What about perfecting our listening skills? When do we practice this skill that is as important as talking when we are having a conversation? Are we listening to understand, or listening to fix? Are we listening to connect, or listening to correct?

Oscar Trimboli, in his award-winning podcast, Deep Listening, says only 2% of leaders have ever received any training on how to listen, even though they spend 64% to 83% of their day listening!

So let’s start practicing some techniques to become better listeners.  Listed below are three things we can start doing right away:

Being Present

Listening with our entire body—not just our ears.

Keeping our minds quiet and focused.

Making eye contact and giving the speaker our complete attention.

Pausing

When asking a question, we can sit back and allow the speaker to collect their thoughts. Let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable in silence. And if you are the one answering, when you’re finished, let there be silence. You don’t need to jump in with more if your answer was complete and well-prepared.

In an interview, this allows a candidate to fill that silence and give a hiring manager more insight into their personality, skills, and accomplishments.

The time to gather our thoughts and answer a question is after it’s posed if you were listening properly—not while the question was being asked. We often start planning our reply, even before the question has completely finished. When this happens, we have in fact stopped listening and moved into the reply, problem-solving, or rebuttal mode.

Too often, we make assumptions about the question, mishear the question or interpret the person’s reasoning and intentions for asking a question.

Repeat & Rephrase

Before responding, make sure we understand what has been said.

We can do this by repeating the speaker’s key points and restating them in our own words. This will give the person an opportunity to clarify or add more information. This way, we can be certain we understand the other person’s point.

Before offering a rebuttal, ask a thoughtful, open-ended question to clear up any lingering misconceptions. This can open a productive conversation and lead to an impactful conversation.

To get a better idea of your own listening type, take Trimboli’s quiz to discover your listening type.

https://www.oscartrimboli.com/listeningquiz/

What is your listener type?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 596th a.blog.

How to Hold Productive Virtual Meetings

Thursday, September 30th, 2021|

Virtual meetings continue to be the primary method of communicating with co-workers as some team members return to the office while others continue to work remotely. 

In order to have the best experience for all involved and stay connected during virtual meetings, we are sharing some best practices.

In this article, we will be discussing the following ways in which you can hold productive virtual meetings: 

  • Befriend Technology
  • Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically
  • Send an agenda
  • Start & End strong

Befriend Technology/ Turn off Notifications

Fewer distractions and more interaction lead to more productive virtual meetings, especially if some team members are together and others are on video. For members who are remote, ask participants to conduct the meetings in a designated and quiet space (if possible) use a mic, and utilize noise-canceling headphones or apps.  

Apps such as Krisp, help with noise cancellation and provide clear sound in virtual meetings. Krisp is powered by AI and works to removes background noise (i.e. dog’s barking, neighbor’s lawn moving) so that speech is much clearer.  It can remove unwanted noise and echoes on both ends of the virtual meeting and is compatible with most virtual meeting programs, such as Zoom and Google. 

For those gathered together in a conference room, either be seated in a way so the attendees on the video conference can see and hear you properly, or log in to the meeting with your own device.  You’ll have to mute yourself while not speaking so there is no interference, however, this allows the video participants to see your facial expressions and hear you properly.

Mindset: Be Present Mentally and Physically  

Virtual meetings offer a false assumption that we can multi-task.  Checking out an email, or responding to another Slack message may seem harmless to do, however, that small distraction can have an adverse effect on team connection and engagement as well as the possibility to miss out on vital information.  The best practices focus on being present, both mentally as well as physically.  

When getting ready for a virtual meeting, it’s best to turn off all notifications, reminders, and email and Slack notices.  Be present, turn your video on, look at the camera when speaking, and watch the speaker on speaker view.  Turning off your self-view on Zoom also helps with eye fatigue.

Virtual meetings will be more productive when we can see each other and when all attendees have their video on allows for connection and interaction.

Additionally, seeing others on camera leads to more fruitful communication and allows for both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions! So, when we can see who we are speaking to, we can better understand what they want to communicate. 

There are instances when having a camera on is not possible.  If someone has a personal issue with having their camera on during a portion of the meeting, it’s best to communicate this in advance and bring it to the attention of the meeting leader. Especially since work-from-home presents challenges on occasion.

Send an Agenda

Some of the world’s most productive systems, and the people that run those systems, have a simple solution to ensuring efficiency: creating a checklist. 

Now, I know what you may be thinking, “A checklist? That’s it?” But, seriously, creating a list of action items that must be completed within a certain period, ensures that those things are done, or at the very least, started. 

So, if you want to increase productivity in virtual meetings, create a checklist of items that need to be covered and send that agenda to everyone attending the meeting. For starters, having an agenda will ensure that all of the important talking points are covered and in an order that makes the most sense for everyone attending the meeting. 

Second, sending an agenda before the meeting helps attendees prepare any necessary information. Not only will everyone be ready to speak on topics that pertain to their work, but a more fruitful discussion can take place. 

Each attendee can listen and contribute because they will be more prepared to do so giving everyone a greater chance of solving problems and ideating. 

Start & End Strong

It’s important to have a strong start to the meeting to engage and connect people with one another.  Icebreakers can create team connection and engagement daily.  When it comes to virtual meetings, people feel disconnected from the team because of the physical distance and icebreakers can help bridge the gap to start your virtual meetings. 

For example, have everyone say a high point and a low point of their week. These answers can be work-related or personal, depending on your company and team culture. 

Having each person speak ensures that each member of the team is heard, and it increases engagement. In turn, attendees will be more willing to speak during virtual meetings because they are more engaged and “warmed-up” to participate. 

As you wrap up your meeting, it’s equally important to end on a strong note.  Ask each person for their takeaway value from the meeting, asking for next step commitments is another way to end on a high note.

Conclusion 

Virtual meetings have become central to remote work and it’s important to maximize our time together online.

From getting into the right mindset and creating an agenda for your meeting, to increasing engagement with technology or icebreakers, there are many ways to make your virtual meetings more productive! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 594th a.blog.

4 Tips for Resignation Best Practices

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021|

Handing in your resignation may feel like a daunting task, regardless of the reason you’ve decided to leave your current position. Whether you are taking on new endeavors, your current position is no longer the right fit, or you are embarking on a sabbatical, it is important to leave respectfully and professionally, allowing your team to transition smoothly.  

No matter your reason for resigning, let’s review 4 tips of resignation best practices.

  • Speak to Your Manager 
  • Write a Two-Week Notice 
  • Answer Exit Interview Questions 
  • Maintain Professionalism 

Speak to Your Manager 

First and foremost, be sure to speak to your manager or supervisor in person vs. resigning via email or text. In this day and age of WFH, in-person may mean a Zoom or Teams meeting, so be sure to schedule a video meeting to discuss before handing in your written notice of resignation letter. 

Since you have built a relationship with your manager, you owe them more than a quick email if you decide to resign from your job and share gratitude for the opportunity they have given you. 

Additionally, be sure to tell your supervisor before you tell other members at the company or on your team. You do not want your boss finding out from someone else that you are quitting. 

It is good professional conduct to speak to your manager to ensure that you leave on good terms and share feedback necessary for uninterrupted workflow.

Write a Two-Week Notice 

As you may already know, giving your company a two-week notice before leaving your position is common courtesy and standard best practice. 

By giving a two-week notice, you allow your manager to find a suitable replacement. Don’t leave your team hanging, and provide a well-thought-out notice of your resignation, with recommendations on who on the team can take over some of your tasks.  This will give everyone some time to take over your deliverables without falling behind. 

So, you might be asking, “What is the proper way to write a two-week notice?” 

The following outlines the elements to include when writing a professional two-week notice. 

First, begin by stating that you are resigning from your position. This statement should include the name of your position and the company you work for. 

For example, “I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as XYZ Associate at Company X.” 

Next, please state the date of your last day of work, whether it is two weeks from when you are writing the letter or list a specific date.

Although you do not have to explain why you are leaving your position, you should provide a statement of gratitude. This could be a sentence or two explaining what you learned in the position, how working at the company has provided you with an opportunity to grow, or gratitude for the personal connections you have made. 

End your letter by offering any help while your company transitions. This may include recommending other employees for your position or offering to train whoever takes on the position next.

You should format your resignation letter in business letter format, with your name and contact information at the top, and maintain a positive tone overall. 

Answer Exit Interview Questions 

Your exit interview allows the company to understand why you are leaving your position and, if needed, improve other employees’ experiences in the future. Be honest and offer constructive feedback that the company can implement and grow. 

Respond to exit interview questions respectfully and objectively. Think about how your answers can improve the culture or processes rather than focusing on personal experiences that may not be relevant. 

Maintain Professionalism

Maintaining professionalism throughout your resignation process is key. It allows you to preserve the professional and personal relationships you cultivated and upholds your reputation, especially if you choose to remain in the same industry or seek references in the future.  

Keep your high work ethic until your very last day of work. In other words, work as hard as you always have and do not use your resignation as an excuse to ease off. Your team is counting on you.

Conclusion

It is up to you to take charge of your career, growth, and success. This sometimes means resigning from your current position to pursue other opportunities.

Resigning from a position that no longer serves you should not be scary. It should be empowering. Follow the tips we presented in this article to ensure that you resign in a stress-free and professional manner!

If you are looking for new opportunities, check out our open jobs page.  Wishing you the best in your next career move.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 591st a.blog.

The Art of Self-Promotion

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019|

Whether you’re looking for the perfect job, starting your own business, or building your career as a creative freelancer, your success depends on more than doing great work. Others must know you’re doing great work, which can only happen if you share your skills, accomplishments, and passions in a visible way. This means you need to promote yourself.

Many creatives are shy about self-promotion, as it feels hard to do so even when you know you’re worth promoting. Experiment with these ideas and you’ll develop habits that amplify your work, increase your presence in your community, and put you on track to seize opportunities, careers, and the life you want.

Learn the Basics of Marketing and Branding

As you build the groundwork for your promotional initiatives, you can use the same principles and strategies that guide the marketing and branding efforts of the world’s largest corporations. The basics are freely available in our brief guides to defining your personal brand and marketing yourself like a business – you just need to apply them. To start, make sure your creative portfolio represents you as well as possible. Then, test your efforts in the real world by attending networking events. If you’ve built up some resistance to self-promotion, now is the time to take some risks and raise your comfort level.

Make a Brag Document

To promote yourself effectively, you should be keenly aware of your body of work, what you love, where you excel, and your larger career trajectory. Of course, when you’re immersed in creative work, it can be easy to lose track of how much you’ve accomplished. To keep track of where you’ve been and find clues about where to go next, maintain a “brag document,” an inventory of what you’ve done and a key to analyzing how it all fits together. Julia Evans explains the purpose and substance of a brag document and provides an easy-to-use template so you can create your own. This can help you prepare to get recognized, negotiate, back up your claims, and angle for promotions and new opportunities.

Defend Your Ideas

One of the most useful tools of self-promotion is also an essential skill in giving effective presentations: the power to defend your ideas. To do this, you should understand your own work better than anyone else. You should be prepared to explain your decisions and to field questions, comments, objections, and criticisms in a way that preserves the integrity of your work while allowing healthy space for improvement. This is easier said than done, and Mike Monterio can help. As the author Design Is a Job and You’re My Favorite Client, he’s one of the go-to sources of insight on how to get tough and give your ideas the robust defense they deserve. In this fierce and funny keynote presentation, while geared toward graphic designers, can help anyone dramatically improve their mindset around explaining themselves and their work, which is a key to effective self-promotion.

Beware the Negativity Bias

According to the science of evolutionary psychology, our brains have evolved to help us merely survive; if we’re going to thrive, we have to do it ourselves, with intent. Historically, negative information was more important to our survival than positive information – a tiger chasing you deserves more attention than a sweet-smelling daffodil beside the trail – so we’re wired to prioritize the negative over the positive. In the modern world, our natural negativity bias can hold us back if we fixate on risks and weaknesses and don’t focus enough attention on the rewards we want and the strengths that can help us achieve them. To cultivate a winning mindset, it’s important to bolster ourselves with positive information. This means choosing our relationships carefully, being mindful of our self-talk, and learning the basics of positive psychology. After all, our strongest self-promotion comes from within.

At Artisan Creative, we love to showcase your talents and promote your skills to our clients. When you’re ready to take your business or your career to the next level, let’s get in touch!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 540th issue of the a.blog.

A Guide To Creating Mood Boards

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019|

For designers, digital storytellers, project managers, or anyone in the business of creating, mood boards are a useful way to brainstorm, showcase specific design concepts, or communicate the bigger ideas around a project.

Never made a mood board? Give it a go! Even if you don’t consider yourself a designer – you may find that honing your ability to organize images enhances your power as a communicator. If you’ve hit a stuck point at work, or need a jolt of aesthetic inspiration, making a mood board is an inspiring way to drill down to basics, rediscover what matters, and shake out some new ideas.

When creating a mood board, keep this advice in mind.

Think Like a Collector

Whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed or taking a walk in your city, take in your environment through the lens of an image curator. Smartphone cameras, bookmarking tools, and screen capturing software make it so easy to create ad hoc scrapbooks of the colors, patterns, and other sights that catch your fancy as you go about your daily travels.

Center One Big Idea

To make your mood board more cohesive, start with one large image, place it near the middle (or in some way that indicates its prominence), and arrange other images around it. Some of the best mood boards also function as visually rich mind maps.

Be Obvious

If your mood board is for your eyes only (such as a vision board to help you set personal goals), it’s not so important that it be easy for others to understand. However, if you’re sharing your mood board with colleagues, collaborators, or especially clients, be ready to answer any questions they might have before they have them. That means it’s okay to use well-known “classic” images, or even use text to drive home important ideas.

Go For Emotional Resonance

Be cognizant of color theory, Gestalt theory, and best practices around typefaces and other design decisions. Make sure your smaller choices are in service to the larger emotional sweep of your mood board. The goal is to create an emotional response to give your ideas the power of strong feelings.

Experiment With Different Sorts of Images

As long as your mood board makes sense as a whole, there’s no reason to limit yourself to photographs, illustrations, and other common images. Experiment with text, maps, diagrams to create striking visual metaphors, and anything else that may help you get your points across.

Experiment With Formats

There is power in the unexpected. Tools such as Pinterest now make it wonderfully easy for almost anyone to generate a mood board. That means that, if you want to go offline, break out your glue sticks, and do some old-fashioned collaging, you can make an even bigger splash at presentation time.

Presentation Is Everything

Whenever possible, always present your mood boards in person. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your work as you want it to be understood, to clear up any confusion, to receive feedback (an opportunity to improve and clarify your work), and to transmit the personality and flavor behind your mood board. Presentation skills are important, so whatever you do, seek as many opportunities as you can get to become a more agile and effective presenter.

For practice, try communicating your personal brand through the medium of a mood board, and then present it to a sympathetic colleague or your creative recruiter.

Mood boards are just one of our favorite techniques for honing ideas and building a brand, a company, or a creative career you will love.

Contact us today to discover many more and see what Artisan Creative’s knowledge, experience, and inspiration can do for you.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 510th a.blog.

 

14 Apps We Love

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019|

Your phone is what you make of it. With the right apps installed, it can be a trusted colleague and collaborator, a tool for boosting your productivity, enhancing your creativity, and making your life more interesting.

It’s a good idea to, every so often, go through your apps, delete the ones that don’t spark curiosity, creativity, or productivity and replace them with new ones that help you crush your commute and get more juice from your screen time.

As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, here’s a bouquet of apps that focus us at work, help us relax at home, and generally delight us. Try a new one and let us know what you think!

Notebook [ iOS | Android]

The right note-taking app helps you to, in the words of business guru Tiago Forte, “build a second brain.” We love Zoho’s Notebook for its attractive interface and intuitive card-based system of organization.

Otter [iOS | Android]

For those of us who love to think out loud, Otter’s well-organized voice recorder is essential for catching elusive ideas, immortalizing snippets of rambling conversations, or launching when you wake up to make sure you remember that breakthrough idea you had in a dream last night.

Hopper [iOS | Android]

Travel indubitably broadens the mind, and its logistics can take their toll on one’s patience. With this brilliant flight-booking app, you can save your extra heartbeats for all the new vistas you’ll explore.

Buddhify [iOS | Android]

There’s a gold rush in meditation and mindfulness apps. This one stands out by virtue of its grounding in Rohan Gunatillake’s mindful design principles. Buddhify is flat-out beautiful, with a rich and playful UX that makes it ideal for beginners or anyone who feels a bit lost in establishing a practice.

VSCO [iOS | Android]

VSCO is for anyone who loves the creative side of photography and image manipulation, especially those who want to take their Instagram feeds to the next level. Its filtering tools can help almost anyone post high-quality digital images. Professional designers and photogs swear by it.

Snapseed [iOS | Android]

Here’s another essential image-editing tool for anyone who wants to keep alive the aesthetic principles of great photography in the era of social media. If you wonder how your favorite influencers always make their lemon wedges look so juicy and crisp, this might be your answer.

Chess – Play and Learn [iOS | Android]

Make a playdate with your inner strategist. Whether you’re a beginner or a master, the sleek design of this app makes it easy to love this timeless game of intellect.

Pocket [iOS | Android]

From long reads to listicles, Pocket makes it easy to stay caught up with all the great written content you may find around the web. Robust tagging enables you to organize your library, and the vastly improved text-to-speech capabilities mean you can catch up on your “reading” while you commute, work out, or do the dishes.

Stoop [iOS | Android]

Email newsletter subscriptions are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in niche subjects or to get informed on a broad range of current events. With Stoop, you can now organize and keep up with all your favorite newsletters without overwhelming your inbox.

Zoom [iOS | Android]

Zoom is one of the most innovative video meeting and conference-room apps. It gets a special mention here for its addition of “driving mode,” which may actually save on car repair bills.

Pocket Casts [iOS | Android]

Podcasting keeps getting better. Take advantage of the booming audio renaissance with this robust platform for podcasts. It has one of the most user-friendly interfaces for an app of its kind, allowing for better discovery and a more engaging listening experience.

Brain.fm [iOS | Android]

If you use music as a tool to relax, to focus, or to get things done, this unusual audio app may be the one you’ve been waiting for. With settings for “deep work,” meditation, sleep, and more, it lets you choose the state of mind you want and selects music tracks to match. It began as a cult favorite among coders, and now the secret is out.

7 Cups [iOS | Android]

In a time of increasing awareness of the tolls of depression, anxiety, and mental illness, not everyone has easy access to therapy. This revolutionary self-help app connects users with trained “listeners,” along with motivational exercises and a supportive community. 7 Cups may be a big clue to what the future of therapy may look like.

Moment [iOS | Android]

If you’re worried you may be spending too much time on your phone, or you want to encourage your kids to learn to better manage their screen time, the “gentle and compassionate” Moment app can help regain some digital agency. It gives you an inventory of how you engage with your device throughout the day and, if you don’t like the results, provides coaching to help you take more mindful charge of your eyeballs.

At Artisan Creative, we believe life and work are interrelated and we take a holistic approach to help teams and careers exceed expectations. Contact us today to start the conversation.

 

Practicing Design Thinking

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018|

Whenever dealing with difficult challenges, applying design thinking concepts can achieve interesting results.

The ideas, strategies, and methods associated with design thinking are not exclusive to the field of design. They’re continuously being used to tackle crucial issues throughout society, from urban planning, to voter turnout, to climate change. Engineers, educators, and activists all make use of design thinking concepts and principles in their work, especially when they encounter problems for which older modes of thought have proven inadequate.

Here is a quick guide to some key concepts that foster design thinking. This should give your team what it needs to get started using design thinking to gain fresh perspectives on new or established challenges.

Observe the Core Principles

As laid out by Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Program, the driving principles are:

The Human Rule: All meaningful activity is a social activity. Always center on the humans.

The Ambiguity Rule: Test the limits of your own knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to see things differently. Fall in love with the questions.

The Redesign Rule: There is nothing new under the sun, yet the context is ever-shifting. You’re always using existing resources to address unchanged human needs in ways that are appropriate for new technologies, capabilities, and situations.

The Tangibility Rule: To facilitate better communication, make your ideas tangible, rendered in pictures, sounds, feelings, and working prototypes.

Respect the Process

Rikke Dam and Teo Siang of the Interaction Design Foundation break down the design thinking process into five steps. The steps often repeat themselves, sometimes overlap, and do not always occur in sequence. What they do, is serve as a rough guide.

Empathize: Design thinking is human-centered thinking, and always starts with the real needs and behaviors of the user.

Define: When you’ve usefully defined and formatted your problem, you’ve gone a great distance toward solving it.

Ideate: Generate ideas through collaborative brainstorming. Adopt the attitude that, if you eliminate creative blocks and properly value ideas, you’ll never run out of them.

Prototype: Create a working model. Put your idea out in the world where users can interact with it in a tangible form.

Test: Let experts and non-experts evaluate and use your idea. Collect your results, organize them in a useful and actionable way, and use what you’ve learned to make your idea stronger.

Focus on Solutions

Design thinking frames problems as creative challenges and concerns itself with generating fresh, sometimes novel, always useful and compassionate solutions. It calls for respecting your users, collaborators, and stakeholders, and a willingness to entertain notions that may beckon you outside your comfort zone. It values criticism as long as it’s constructive and encourages positive, optimistic engagement with the world as it is, with a vision of how it can enable people to work and live more effectively together.

Whatever you’re doing, give design thinking a try, and let us know what you discover through experimenting with this new mindset.

We have decades of experience in helping people work together. Contact Artisan today to share our tools, surpass your goals, and work smarter.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 498th issue of our a.blog.

 

 

Find Your Passion

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018|

#ArtisanAdvice -Find Your Passion 

Joni is a self-taught designer with a natural curiosity and gung-ho attitude toward picking up new hobbies and monetizing passions. In several years shehas launched a food blog, a granola company, became a certified holistic health coach, and launched a baked goods and flower collective. We spoke to herto find out how she went from public health and art major to successful designer without any formal design training.

Joni began playing around with the idea of a design career after graduating from Berkeley. She studied design tutorials via CDs (remember those days?) and YouTube. She loved learning and figured she had a good shot of doing design full-time. This is when Craigslist was a hotbed of job postings for kickstarting careers and Joni landed a full-time role at a design studio where she cut her teeth on the whole gamut of the design process. So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? And where should you even begin?

With literally thousands of hobbies out there it can be tough to know where to even begin to find your passion. Try to be curious about everything around you and find things to do outside of work. Joni likes to be active and pack in as many activities as she can. “When you get to a certain point [in your career] there’s always a way to make it more legitimate. I tried to monetize a lot of hobbies and quickly realized some should always stay as exactly that — just hobbies.” When it comes to design, Adobe is great about providing free tutorials. And remember, you don’t have to be the best but as long as you’re scratching the itch that’s all that matters at the start.

Give Yourself a Creative Outlet

Joni worked hard at giving herself a broad skill-set, “You don’t want to be one dimensional when you work in the creative industry. It’s important to have additional places to be creative outside of your job.” In Joni’s case, she loves interacting with people and learning about new topics and industries– be it a blog or sketchbook, find a creative avenue and see where it takes you.

Nurture Relationships

So you’ve reached the point where you’ve found your passion, you’ve got the skills so now what? Work won’t find its way to you without you putting yourself out there. “I’ve always been successful with word-of-mouth business. Friends’ businesses or friends of friends are referred to me and as long as your social network knows what you do and what you’re interested in, people will come to you.” No doubt there will be times when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and here’s when you have to fake it until you make it. It’s a cliché term, but when it comes to gaining confidence it truly works. And what if you’re nervous about putting your work out there? Don’t be, Joni reassures, “The moment you get over your shyness about showing work it opens so many doors. Take your ego out of criticism and people will come to you to seek your services.”

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 495th issue of our a.blog.

 

How to Find a Mentor

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018|

 

Finding the right coach or mentor can take your creative or business career to the next level. In work and in life, no matter what stage you may find yourself in, you can always gain tremendous value by seeking guidance, wisdom, and aid from masters, teachers, or anyone with a unique perspective on your field.

It’s important to always be seeking the help of mentors and coaches. The biggest question is how do you find them? Lots of people are willing and able to help the right mentee – you just have to locate and approach them in ways that will show them the benefit of mentoring you, and the difference you’re going to make once you are committed to learning from them.

When looking for new coaches and mentors, or strengthening connections with those who have enriched your mind and soul in the past, it pays to keep these key principles in mind.

Bring Value

Before you seek out a mentor or coach, be able to show them what you can accomplish on your own. As much as people may believe in your potential, once you give them solid proof that you’re on your way and you’re willing to work toward your goals, you make it easier for them to support you.

Build your portfolio and resume. Do projects you love (even if they don’t come with high pay or a high profile). When you encounter a possible mentor, your body of work is your best introduction. Have something you’re proud to show.

Build Your Community

To receive support from others, constantly looking for new ways to support yourself and those around you. Building strong networks and communities is its own reward. The more you put yourself out there as a helpful, collaborative spirit, the more others will want to be part of your cause, including those who can provide valuable coaching and mentorship.

To gain mentorship, be a mentor to others. “Your legacy is not what you do,” says writer and investor James Altucher. “It’s what the people you teach do.” When you give more than you expect to get, the rewards can be far greater than you ever dared to anticipate.

Seek Out a Variety of Mentors

Intelligence and strength come in a rainbow of flavors. Julia Fawal lists five distinct types of mentors with whom you should cultivate close relationships. It includes not just masters and higher-ups, it also includes friends and coworkers you see every day.

Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle. Your most valuable mentorship may not come from a glamorous boss or a wizened shaman on a mountaintop, it may simply come from someone who sits next to you on mass transit.

Be Resilient

“The best mentorships I’ve had have taken a lot of time to cement,” says Altucher. While some of your best coaching may come from a three-hour class, you must also have the patience, and put in the time, to build relationships with mentors that stay strong for years and decades.

This requires staying in touch, providing continuous value, and developing the relationship over time. Be adaptable to change when you want to keep relationships going through challenging times and circumstances and be willing to walk away from those that have run their course.

Be Humble

“A mind is like a parachute,” said the musician Frank Zappa. “It doesn’t work if it isn’t open.” Socrates, one of the wisest philosophers who ever lived said, “All I know is that I know nothing.”

The most important rule in receiving help from the world is always to make yourself available for it. This requires questioning your judgments and assumptions. Know that wisdom is infinite, and the more you experience, the more you will realize you still have to learn.

Challenge yourself. Live on the outer edges of your comfort zone. Take a Socratic approach to work, life, and your own self-concept. When you make yourself open to new information, you make it easy for those with more wisdom and expertise to guide you into new ways of knowing.

At Artisan Creative, we pride ourselves on the guidance, connections, and stewardship we provide to creative professionals at all stages of their careers and their lives. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 494th issue of our a.blog.