When I was a kid, not even yet 10, I would set up my families video camera and record myself cooking, chefs hat and all and create my own cooking show. After awhile, I started having my best friend run the camera. He in turn would be the on-screen talent for the commercial breaks. Even though this was all in fun, it’s a great representation of who I enjoy working with and how. I trusted John to be behind the camera, to utilize his own talents to support mine and our mutual vision. He was open to try new and different things - such as pretend to be an SNES spokesperson, even though performing wasn’t his forte.
The people I want to surround myself with today are the exact same as my 1989 self did. They’re first and foremost trustworthy - I can share my pains, struggles and wins with them without fear of those being used to my disadvantage (read THEIR advantage) in the future. They carry the same passion with them to create beautiful, and meaningful things as I do - by supporting each other in our respective roles, giving away credit rather than taking it.
I never want to feel stifled in my passionate endeavors - I want to feel supported, but more so to be a support - I’m a doer, a “performer” who wants to make sure the things I do not only are creative, but better the next person who touches it. I want to pull something out of them that surprises themselves - give them the opportunity to shine in ways they never knew they could.
Who you work for matters. I’ve learned that for sure. For those of us who work “in-house” we learn quickly that not only does the vision of the company matter, but the vision of our direct leader(s) just as much, if not more.
I was stuck in a rut in my last position. I had lost all joy for creating good work - portfolio worthy work. I found myself phoning it in - showing up and doing my best to churn out what I could, with quality yes, but passion no.
I believe that my best work comes out when the creative vision set by my leaders is clear - laden with passion and a sense of freedom. There’s nothing better than feeling free to create within a space that is full of passionate people - especially leadership.
I want people to feel and express beauty - in nature, in food, in cultures and in all beings. I am filled with an intense desire for justice amongst people who differ. I hurt, and even have deep anger, when others are treated unjustly. I want to have an impact - sometimes that impact can look different - it can open eyes to different cultures and people through imagery, food, kindness, and hospitality - not always through activism.
In the past I used to say (working in fashion) that I took pictures of things that people didn't need and sold them on it. I'm not sure that was the right attitude - I now realize that in most anything we do, we can find a way to have an impact bigger than the obvious. It may mean finding a company that has a vision beyond it's profit margin, it may mean using your talents and monies earned to give back outside of the eight-hour work day, or it may mean mentoring someone in your space and helping them grow and become a great mentor to someone else.
Work to live, don't live to work. This can sometimes be misconstrued by some to mean that work shouldn’t be a priority, or you don’t need to love what you do - but that’s not true for me. I want to love what I do for a career (I DO love it) but I also have an understanding of when to set it aside; to focus my energies and time elsewhere.
My relationships are dear to me. I have been gifted with a great sense of hospitality and I yearn to share my space and food with others. Having a small group of people in my home is extremely rewarding to me. I love to bring joy and comfort.
Living two thousand miles away from my family has made traveling for my own experiences more difficult than some. I find myself more often then not traveling back to Michigan for all the wonderful life milestones happening there. I do want to find the time to experience the world more. To learn and remember we are not an island of humanity - that there is more than just us.
I’m an extroverted introvert - so I need my personal alone time to refresh. I need to care for myself physically and mentally. You will often find me in my garden with a cup of black coffee (or red wine depending on the time of day) just sitting and being still. I enjoy looking around, seeing what has changed since the day before. You notice how quickly life can change in these still moments. Listening to my inner voice and hoping to hear His still small voice over my soul. I find great refuge here.