Connecting The Dots

As a child, I loved connecting the dots and then colouring in the completed image.  I tried my best to stay within the lines, going from one dot to the other with relative ease.  Each dot was numbered, so as long as I could count far enough, there was an intended and definitive path to the final dot and thus to the completed image.  However, if I took one wrong turn, the completed image became distorted or gave light to a new interpretation of the image.  I remember spending hours on weekends working on these connect the dot books my mother would purchase from me, but as an adult, I realize they have a different significance today.

In business, sometimes it can feel like we are continually connecting the dots.  The difference is we don’t have any numbers (going from dot to dot) guiding us or a full understanding of the intended path to the completed ’image’.  The most difficult can be when you don’t know where the dots are supposed to lead you or even worse, when it can be difficult going from dot to dot.  It seems that experience, education, and clarity in your craft can make connecting the dots much simpler.  We all connect the dots differently, but most of us share a similar ‘intended image or outcome’: we want to lead lives of fulfillment and personal success.

I have come to appreciate the 20/20 in my journey thus far as a creative entrepreneur.  Earlier in my career, it was difficult to understand or appreciate the ‘necessity’ of the journey and all the experience and knowledge it would bring.  It was never my aim to see ‘success’ overnight, but I definitely had trouble being patient.  Sometimes, it felt like things were not moving fast enough, the recognition was not there, or perhaps the growth of the business seemed stagnant.  It was frustrating at times because I wanted to show my clients what I could do and demonstrate my real potential as a designer.  This meant I would occasionally go the extra mile at the cost of being financially irresponsible.

Connecting the dots is also about understanding who you are as a business owner and designer.  This perhaps, is where I see the greatest imbalance personally.  I have learned some very hard lessons on why this equilibrium is essential and how easy it is to lose your way even though the ‘next dot’ is often right in front of you.  I connect the dots differently today then I did eleven years ago.  The business seems much more complex, there are more moving parts, I have increased responsibilities and am accountable to many more people.  Suddenly, I find myself ‘managing’ and ‘operating’ more than ‘designing’.  I have come to appreciate the simplicity and innocence of my business in the early years as something to cherish and take insight from.

A part of connecting the dots is also about understanding the role your business plays in your life and managing that holy grail of work/life balance.  It’s easy to love what you do when everything is going right, but the true test of your resilience is your ability to overcome when things are not looking bright.  The next dot doesn’t seem so obvious then.  I keep reminding myself that quitting or accepting defeat turns back the clock on success.  I thank some of my closest friends (one in particular) and family for reminding me of how grateful and appreciative I should be of my journey thus far.  To keep on looking ahead in search of the ’next dot’ remembering along the way all the lessons learned, challenges overcome, and triumphs celebrated.

So, here we are, in search of our next ‘dot’.  Where will it take us?  How will life ‘connect the dots’ for us?  When will the dots be complete?  What is the intended ‘image’?  Time will only tell, but in the meantime, it’s important that we take command of our own journey so that the dots connect just the way we like.

How will you connect the dots in 2014?

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Paras

Photography by WebNeel.com
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