I have watched Project Runway since it began, and it’s not my love for clothes that keeps bringing me back every season, it’s Tim Gunn. First of all, he has the best vocabulary of anyone on television, a trait I find irresistible. He says what he has to say with great style.
Like this, there are many ways you can establish your own path. The reason I love my catch phrase, ‘Make it work,’ is because it is not just about what is happening in the workroom, it is about life. Taking the existing conditions, the things we have available to us, and rallying them to ascend to a place of success.(New York Times Style Section – Sunday October 13, 20013 )
I’m going to print this out in big bold letters and commit it to memory. I constantly find myself saying “When I only have the ___________[ insert: money, time, confidence other conditions here) I will _______[insert dazzling triumphant goal here].” Only the thing is that moment of having whatever it is never arrives. There are always plenty of reasons to delay making something happen, but when you take it them out and look at them none of them are really very good. The essence of creativity is being able to take what you have right here in this moment and turn it into something wonderful.
It does me no good to look at someone else’s life or career and think of what I would do if I had what they had. I don’t and in all probability won’t. It’s all about what I have to bring to the table. How much time have I wasted looking at someone else’s career and comparing my own? Tim Gunn’s words about establishing your own path reminded me of Livingston Taylor’s comment …your career is unique to you. It doesn’t matter how Elvis, Billy Joel or U2 did it. You can be influenced by, emulate and admire them, but don’t compare yourself to them. Understand that their careers are not yours, and that trying to design your career after watching them or anyone you admire…is like trying to build a house after looking at a light bulb.
It’s a scary proposition that faces me every day as I set to work. How do I chart my own unique course using only the skills and resources that I have in the present moment? What does that “place of success” look like to me, and how do I refrain from comparing it to someone else’s place? Some days the effort makes me want to run screaming back to my bed where I can burrow under the covers and contemplate careers that won’t make me think so hard that smoke comes pouring out of my ears. But sometimes the fog clears and the answer presents itself, and I realize that making it work isn’t a momentary thing, but a challenge that presents itself every day, and every day there is a new way to try and in the trying comes the reward.