How to define your fashion industry success #motivationmonday
Of all words in the English language, ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ are the most ambiguous. Earlier today, I had tea with my Airbnb host here in Copenhagen. Naturally, we began to chat about London, and the differences between the UK and Denmark.
‘London is great, but everyone is very….career-driven.’ Although he was being vague, I knew exactly what he meant. Often, Londoners throw the rest of their lives (building muscle, relaxing, friendships, romance) out the window for the sake of their job – regardless of whether they enjoy it.
While I think it’s important to work hard at your career, I’ve been wondering – when can we make other parts of our lives just as important? How do we know when we’ve reached ‘success’ (and, thus, happiness)? When we miss that dinner to work late, when we begrudgingly work all night, when does it end? We tell our friends and partners that this is a transient phase, ‘If I just achieve XYZABCDEFGH, then I will be happy.’ Deep down, however, we know this is a lie –we’ll never be satisfied.
Within the realm of fashion, I have encountered two types of ‘ambitious’ Londoners:
1. Spastic Creatives: these people don’t sleep or stop. They constantly work, and cannot hangout with anyone unless they are simultaneously working. When they do take breaks, these usually involve self-medicating. Spastic Creatives achieve a lot, but appear on the verge of a momentary breakdown.
2. Sell-out Creatives: Creative people who chose a career unrelated to fashion for the sake of pleasing their mom and achieving social status (as quickly as possible). This career they despise keeps them working late, and they even have spreadsheets entitled ‘my motivation to go on.’
It’s important to note that the Spastic and Sell-out Creatives exist in their potent forms, and in varying degrees. Who hasn’t eaten cake after a stressful day at work? Who hasn’t done at least one or two things to please their parents? (I.E: studying a degree completely unrelated to your eventual career path).
After coming to this realization about spastic and sellout creatives, I began to wonder – what does success look like for either of these people? What does happiness look like? Can there be a third type of creative? A person who kills-it, but isn’t riddled with anxiety? Someone who has a solid foundation of fitness, relationships and time off?
Based on the people I know, I’ve come realize that this ‘third’ creative isn’t a static person at all. Instead, they’re a person who chooses their direction, but knows when parts of their life are falling through the cracks.
Theoretically, I believe it’s a three-step process:
1. Sell-out phase – you’re too scared to pursue your creative dreams, so they remain latent within you. Anxiety inevitably develops.
2. Spastic phase – the phase after you realize that the anxiety of selling out has eaten away at you. When giving in to your creative passion, you feel you must suddenly become John Galliano or you’re a failure at life.
3. Third phase – you’re conscious of the times you’ve sold out and the times you’ve been anxious. You prioritize. You still deal with stress and social pressure, but you know what it is when it arrives – and you deal in a way you see fit.
Every single day, I am working to become a third. To recognize that everything is always in motion, and, thus, always in progress. I know that I will sometimes sell out, or be a little too work focused. However, I like to think that awareness of this is key. Lately, I’ve been writing down things that I want to try, people I want to meet. Being in Denmark, a place I've always wanted to go, I'm happy to report that these desires are (slowly) being made a priority -- and I think that's a great start.
Thanks for reading! How do you define success? What type of creative are you? Let me know on Instagram, @fashionoriginatorspodcast, or in the comments below.
See you next Monday!
In the meantime, check out the latest episode of Fashion Originators below...