The day started out so innocent, so focused, so “right on track.” After all, I was about to have lunch with one of my favorite design legends of all time. Then, I started speaking from my heart and it all came out wrong.
You see, I had all good intentions of helping a fellow professional, specifically an author whose past work I admired, but whose current work seemed to miss the mark on visual marketing and branding. Now, normally I wouldn’t reach out directly to an author and comment on his choice of cover design, but this self prescribed marketer is very outspoken in his beliefs and encourages others to be equally “authentic” (kinda over that word to be honest but it seems to fit this case). We had also had also already exchanged a few personal messages via Twitter and email so we weren’t strangers. So I reached out with love for his message and but questioned his choice for the face he placed on it. I invited him to have a conversation about it and went on to say that if was happy with his cover and chose not to discuss it I would respect that and it would have no effect on my belief in his message. Let’s just say speaking from my heart and belief in the quality of his words not being equaled by the choice of book cover didn’t go over well. In spite of him preaching authenticity, listening and respecting your audience he didn’t appreciate a little heart felt criticism even in a private email. His “authentic” ego responded and my belief in his message quickly faded.
Act 2 of the day, a fantastic conversation over lunch with one of the most revered and respected graphic design professionals totally charged me back up. We connected on many levels including our personal interest in education, family and the fine art of hand lettering. I asked him what inspired him expecting him to mention literature, classic lettering designers, even his talented students. His answer? He pointed to his chest, his heart really and said “It’s all in here” he said. “WOW,” I thought, “pay attention to that!” Perhaps if I spent as much time looking within for inspiration as I do seeking outside of myself I wouldn’t be so taken aback by experiences such as the morning. A very dear friend of mine said recently “everything you need is right inside you already.” Thanks for continuing to remind me of that my love!
I mentioned a couple days ago I was finishing up a book review on Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine. I was so proud of i because it’s far more than a book review. The review was simply the impetus to jet me off into the topic of creativity. So I had tied a nice little ribbon around the message wrapped and began working with my assistant to prep it for the company blog…you know last minute fact checking, proofing html coding, adding appropriate links etc, then the floor dropped from beneath us. Earlier today it was announced that Lehrer had not only misquoted Bob Dylan in the book, but he lied about it to sources and, worst of all, his publishers. He then immediately resigned from his position with The New Yorker. His misquote, the lie to cover it up and the ensuing scrutiny that follows will not only damage his reputation but may ultimately tarnish the full content of his work and the references made within. So much for my book review. Regardless of the fact that I had shifted the review to be more of a personal perspective of the creative process and how in some cases it connects with Lehrer’s work, there was simply no way I would allow my words would now be connected to his.
So where does all this “inauthenticity” in authorship leave me today? I used to be a believer in two brands, two author brands touted themselves as creative and marketing leaders. They’re supposed to know their shit. Speak it. Live it. Own it. But when their filters were down and they were called on to answer for their actions, they sacrificed their integrity and lost a relationship with at least one believer.
I‘ve been thinking a lot lately about this feeling called belief. It‘s what drives us, what nourishes us, what gives us peace in times of crisis. We want to believe we do the best for our families. We want to believe our financial assets will mature over time, that our homes will be a safe haven for our families, that we have job security, honest partners, and that honesty and integrity will always prevail. Belief gives us hope that all the hard work, sleepless nights and exhausted bodies are for purpose and meaning. Belief charges us forward towards the next goal post, and rewards us once we arrive.
Today, when I examined why my heart took such a shudder over the “inauthenticity” of two authors I realized my sense of belief was what was really under attack. When my belief in the experts, leading brands and artists in my field can become so easily shaken I remind myself of the words from my dear friends to look inside my own heart for belief, wisdom and authenticity.
So today’s creation comes from seeking an even deeper, more aligned relationship with self. I am constant, committed, loyal, genuine and I believe in what is in my heart and what it has to say!