What I learned from Raf Simons in "Dior and I"
"For me, creativity is all about exploring new ideas and taking risks." – Raf Simons
Last week I watched "Dior and I", a captivating documentary that follows the journey of Raf Simons as he takes on the role of Creative Director for Dior in 2014. The film covers Raf’s first haute couture collection for the brand, no small feat. We get a glimpse into the pressure he felt given Dior’s legacy. The iterations his designs went through. The doubt he experienced. The team effort it was. The stress experienced by all. And the push to do what hadn’t been done before.
We don’t often see resistance – the doubt, fear and stress other designers experience in the creative process. We see the beautiful final product, often assuming it was an effortless and linear path to get there. But stress is real. The imposter syndrome is real. The creative doubt and fear felt is real. So let’s talk about resistance a bit.
Whether you’re trying to make something beautiful or solve a problem, whatever it may be… there will be fears of failure, pressure to succeed, and anxiety over the unknown, as each pop up in the creative process.
I’ll always remember my first critique. I was a freshman in college and the assignment was a self-portrait using charcoal, a material that was pretty new for me. That critique was nerve wracking to say the least. I felt vulnerable as I pinned my work up and faced the possibility of negative feedback. But that feedback, good or bad, is what I needed to keep growing and getting better. I could hide from it or I could embrace it and ride the waves. It is through action, charcoal to paper that the full potential of my idea is found. That mastery slowly happens. Michelangelo said it well, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
When working out we know resistance to be good. We add weight when the exercise becomes easy. No matter how far I get into my career as a UX designer, I experience times of doubt and stress as “more weight” is being added. I’m taking on more responsibilities, facing new design challenges, and learning new technologies. The fear and doubt I experience along the way is a beautiful thing. It’s a sign that I’m not playing it safe but getting out of my comfort zone and growing.
My favorite quotes on resistance:
“Resistance is normal. Whenever you try to introduce something new, you will get resistance. Just as a salesperson meets and overcomes objections, so also must the successful creative person learn to turn their creativity to overcoming the resistance to new ideas. Nevertheless, it is still really annoying.” ― Anonymous
“Imposter syndrome isn’t something that only you are suffering from. It’s something we can all relate to. We all know that feeling, whether it’s with you all the time or just in certain situations. It’s the feeling you experience when you start a new job, when you get a promotion or when you are accepted on to a course. It simply means you care about what you’re doing, that you want to do a good job, but that you’re worried you’re not up to it.” ― Dr. Jessamy Hibberd
“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.’” ― Steven Pressfield
Here’s to embracing the resistance today and doing the work. As Julia Cameron put it, “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.”
Done is better than perfect.
Have a great Monday!
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