If you have spent at least five minutes with me then you’ve heard me say “I’m a words of affirmation person.” If I haven’t said it to you yet, just give me another five minutes.
You see, I’m very big on personality assessments and understanding myself better so I can better understand others. So it was a revelation for me when I took the Love Languages test and discovered that the number one way I receive affirmation is through words. I crave sincere words of gratitude, praise, or affirmation. This doesn’t mean I beg for compliments. It just means that I am motivated and feel loved when people verbally affirm me.
This is great in a lot of ways because I am easily motivated by notes of encouragement and little things like being told by a teacher that they think I’m smart or the “chips” affirmation program at my office. But it is also a big reason that I am a Pathological People Pleaser.
People Pleasing is basically constructing your life around what others think. Although I am very independent and don’t really care what people think about my personality, I can care so much about what others think of my competence, intelligence, achievements, or niceness that I am often paralyzed by even the possibility of receiving negative words – or no words at all. But I want to change that. And I know where to start.
Last year, I had moderate success with my Daily Doodle. I got lots of compliments and “likes” and requests. So I began to shape my doodles around what I thought people would like to see. Obviously, the words of affirmation I received grew. That isn’t inherently bad. It’s a smart way to generate content. But now I’m working on my 2014 project: a 365-sentence story created by writing one sentence a day for a year. And you know what? It’s not always the most interesting to read. It can be slow for people who are used to constant information – or who like to read stories more than a sentence at a time. I’ve also discovered that a sentence isn’t as fun to look at as a doodle. Am I right?
So for the past five months I have struggled with contributing to a project with almost no words of affirmation accompanying it (Note: I am truly thankful for my friends who are following along!). But then I realized something important. Like this blog, I didn’t start this project to get attention or get famous or have people hang on my every word. I started it because I wanted to stretch myself as a writer. I wanted to see if I could create a full story with living characters while being shackled with intense time and creative restrictions. I wanted to test my patience.
I’ve decided to stop caring about what people think. My story could be the worst story in the history of stories, but as long as I complete it I will consider it a success. I’m doing it for me, and that’s all that should matter.
As I mentioned in my last post, 2013 was the first year I ever made any New Year’s resolutions. After having sworn against doing “silly resolutions” for most of my life, a friend of mine encouraged me to do some, just because. This simple challenge became a yearlong project I like to call The Daily Doodle. For 365 days I drew a doodle a day. Subjects varied from what I did that day to random things in my head, and ranged from goofy to obscure. I posted these doodles on a Tumblr and shared through social media.
Little did I know how big my little project would become. Over the course of the year I received hundreds of likes and reposts on Tumblr, 83 Tumblr followers, a Tumblr “Featured Artist” tag, hundreds of likes on Instagram, comments galore on Facebook, and multiple favorites on Twitter. I even got requests from friends and family for custom doodles. But, most importantly, people told me that they looked forward to my doodles every day. Suddenly, something I had never expected happened: my personal project became a social community – purely because people were able to interact and engage with my doodle process.
So, what did I take away from this year? I’ve learned that people like to be involved. They like to engage, interact, approve, “like,” critique, and share. I’ve learned that people like watching other people achieve something. By acting as an audience, they feel a part of it. I learned that 365 unique doodles are hard to come up with, no matter how creative you think you are. And I’ve learned that I like challenging my creativity every day, even if it’s a little thing like a doodle.
With the year ending and a new one beginning, some people have asked what will happen to my daily doodles. Do I keep going? Do I extend the project? Although my compulsive doodling will never end, I’ve decided to end this project as planned. But that means it’s time to start a new one. On January 4th, I will begin my new adventure: a 365-sentence story.Follow along.
Tomorrow afternoon I’m driving to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival. Many of you already know this because I either haven’t stopped talking about it or you stalk me on Twitter. Or both.
For those who don’t know what SXSW is, here is a brief synopsis: it’s awesome. But in all seriousness, it’s one of the largest festivals of its kind. Spanning several weeks, SXSW is broken up into several sections, namely Music, Film, and Interactive. Most people are familiar with the music and film aspect, but I will be attending the Interactive portion of the festival.
SXSW Interactive focuses on interactive media and emerging technology. The website explains further that “the event features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology.” Cool, huh?
So why am I going? My agency is sending me and four others to the festival in order to learn more about upcoming media and new technology that so that we can gain a better understanding of where our industry is going and the opportunities for where we could take it in the future. So, over the next 5 days I’ll basically be in creative nerd-land listening to some of the brightest minds in the media world. And that is just the place for a young advertiser.
In classic Haley-style, I considered blogging my trip just like I have my other travels in the past (see: Scotland and London). However, I also realized that I’m going to be crazy busy and people may not necessarily be interested in my day-to-day laundry list of activities. Thus, I’ll mostly be logging my trip through my Twitter account. If you’re interested in following my adventure, you can get live coverage by clicking here.
Other than seminars and workshops, I’ll also be getting a lot of free swag, enjoying free parties and food, meeting some cool, like-minded people, and catching up with several old friends who will be attending as well.
Here are some flyers I helped make for our office Halloween party. Simple and sweet. Shout out to Leigh for her awesome art-directing skills.
Side note: I am mad that my team lost at Pictionary. If my team could guess “werewolf” from cat ears and “phantom” from a stick-figure wearing a mask, then we deserved to win. There were cheaters. We were wronged.