Before deciding to pursue a career in designing experiences, I partook and still partake in a variety of experiences myself.
Below are just a few of my experiences that have helped given me all sorts of perspective on the world and the people that live in it.
I first started training jiu-jitsu in 2014 at Richmond BJJ. Now I'm not the biggest or fastest or even the most competitive person out there, but I really appreciate the honesty of it all .
Once on the mats, you can't fake it.
- It's going to be uncomfortable and you'll learn how to be comfortable in those uncomfortable situations.
- You only get out of it as much as you put in. It's as simple as showing up and putting the time and work in.
- Paying attention to the details. If I don't or if I'm just too lazy to then bad things happen.
These learnings have translated well into my design work. Not only that, but I've met so many people here from so many different backgrounds and it keeps leading me to all sorts of places. I started grad school after hearing about Brandcenter here, I met my girlfriend through someone I train with, I started pushing out of my comfort zone all from just showing up and talking to people.
I started taking improv classes at Coalition Theater in the summer of 2017 with the hopes of getting rid of my nerves when being up on a stage, under the spotlight, and with an audience giving me their full attention.
That didn't work. I still get plenty nervous, maybe less so now, when performing on a stage, presenting in front of others, or when sitting across someone at a table in an interview setting.
But I'm still there taking classes because its taught me how to really listen, focus outward, and heighten what's already out there.
Getting out of my own head and seeing the pattern that's already laid out and then following it has helped with my design work because I don't go into a project knowing the answer, I first really understand the nature of the problem and take it from there.
My girlfriend Ann and I, both being broke grad students, knew it would be irresponsible to adopt a kitty for ourselves. Vet bills, food, litter, it all adds up.
Instead, we volunteered our time, our home, and a bit of our sanity to Richardson's Rescue and now we get all the kitties we could ever want along with free vet visits, food and litter. Fostering allows us to rescue not just 1 kitty, but we've rescued over 10 already.
It's a little bittersweet to see them leave for their forever homes, but it's been a very rewarding experience. These little guys have shown me that change is scary but can also be exciting, just welcome it and keep doing what you're doing.
Being around smart, driven, supportive people really does make all the difference.
I found that while at Brandcenter, and it's something I've always stumbled into without even realizing it in all my other experiences. I've learned a lot of other useful, marketable skills during my time here, but this is the one thing that I know I'll always take with me.
I now know what to look for when it comes to looking for a place to work at. Or doing anything really.