Every week we sit down with one studio resident or visitor for a five minute free-for-all on the topic du-jour. This week we have founder, CEO and fearless-leader Michelle Houp on the dreaded m-word: MOTIVATION
[m] How do I motivate? How do I stay motivated? Where do you want to start?
[ct] What keeps you going?
[m] Can I do it better and do it better than everyone else? I ask myself all the time. In being an entrepreneur, there’s something you see in the industry that’s wrong, not up to par. I can shape that. I don’t have to follow someone else’s rules, so I can mold, develop, create and tell that story in a unique and better way. And make a change.
[ct] So is control a part of motivation?
[m] Yes and no. There is something about your mark on the world. Like, you did it. No one told you to. You’re making an impression, good or bad – my goal is to make you stop, make you think, have a reaction, feel an emotion. Love it or hate it, it doesn’t matter. But I made you stop.
Back to the original question, how do I motivate myself to do that? Always trying to top myself. Always trying to get ahead of the next big thing. Being fearless. Not afraid of failing as something beautiful may come out of it.
[ct] Which leads to opportunity being a key component in finding and maintaining motivation.
[m] Creating something, or having the ability to create something no one else has ever done before, that’s the spark. I don’t want to do something that everyone else is doing. Why be in this industry if you can’t do something exciting, if you can’t do something magical, if you can’t create something that’s challenging, smart and effective – not to mention smoking hot! Put a piece of you in the brand. Invest your energy. Surprising yourself is the reward.
And as soon as it’s over, then it’s on to the next. How we can make it better. How can we make that process more streamlined. How can we make that moment magical again.
[ct] It’s very temporary, our industry, in a way many people don’t understand or deal with. If you’re an architect, you design a building, it’s there…
[m] Like, forever. And it takes 4, 5 years to actually do it. So, if you really want to know what motivates me – change. I get bored. When I get bored, I tend to learn something new, which typically puts me in an uncomfortable place. I’m OK with that feeling. Once you feel comfortable, you probably are – so do something that pushes you to a new place.
We have a lot of capabilities here at CT and there’s a reason for the madness. What I’ve found is that if we don’t change and morph to what our clients brands need, we aren’t giving it our best. Everyone here at the studio has this mindset. There’s no tomorrow – keep pushing forward. Don’t look back.
[ct] So make the most of your opportunity.
[m] I like the “make your mark”. Your legacy, what are you leaving behind. Do something you’re really proud of, do something you can share. It may wow somebody, it may not. Just make sure whatever you do gets a reaction.
If you’re designing a white paper, it may seem boring or just a task to check off. Wrong! Make it the best white paper you’ve ever designed. Look for that one little glimpse of happiness or sparkle, make that page composition shine, do a really cool infographic, do something that actually makes it worth your time and your energy. Don’t just do. That’s where mediocre comes in. Mediocre – step and repeat, step and repeat. Goodbye, goodnight.
No brand goes without having smaller tactical items like white papers. Brochures. Social assets. It drives me crazy when I see something that’s just slapped down, sloppy, not considered. All these elements are part of the greater story. It needs to be considered. Refined. A designer’s job is to make somebody be excited to read it, to stop, to pick it up. To make it special. If it’s mediocre, it’s on you.
That goes for brands too. Make it special. It’s true. Because otherwise, why bother.