The importance of getting out of your own way to accomplish what you need is probably one of the most important skills to develop. You'll be amazed at how much further you get ahead once the main underlying issues are resolved. Here's what I've learned through the years, if you have your own tips please feel free to share in the comments below.
1-EVERYTHING I've achieved I've had to go out and earn, no opportunity has fallen in my lap. In fact, you could say that from day one all cards were stacked against me. I came to the US at the age of 5, not knowing a single word of English. My parents worked very hard to make sure I had the bare necessities, but not much more. If I had told anyone at that age that I wanted to be a designer they would have laughed. Somehow, I decided not to let anyone's opinion of me get in the way. I never looked very "fashion" short, a little overweight, and always insecure about my skin. In a superficial industry, I had to work harder to prove my talent and that I was worthy of the future I dreamed of. I could have come up with a million reasons why this little girl from Costa Rica was not going to make it, but I never let those thoughts of doubt enter my head. Certainly there are days when we doubt our path, but instead of spending my time doubting I just focused on improving my skills. Going to museums, art and costume history, looking at constructions details, collecting mood board images, and of course sketching, one of the hardest, but most important skills to be able to communicate my vision. I transformed my insecurity to push me further and further, until one day I looked up and realized that all my efforts were paying off. Next time you catch yourself in doubt, acknowledge that feeling and transform it into the energy you need to take you further. Mastering this one key ability to transform your emotions into positive actions will change your life. Everyone has challenges along the way, but your ability to mentally "bounce back" will prove to make you unstoppable.
2-GEEK OUT PROUD! What do Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada, Karl Lagerfeld, and the great Alexander McQueen have in common? Besides the obvious fact that they are among the leading fashion designers of this century, they totally geek out over fashion. And no I don't mean reading the latest mag or what was on the recent runway, they geek out over the respect of the craft and it's history. It is through this level of understanding that provides them with the confidence to embody a truly fearless approach in their design. As per this quote"Much of what set Prada apart from the rest of the fashion world is her seeming disregard for the fashion industry. Prada has always blazed her own trail and demonstrated a fearlessness in trying new styles." Marc Jacobs was notoriously fired from Perry Ellis for presenting his infamous "Grunge" collection. Besides walking to the beat of their own drum, they are each in their own right, walking fashion history databases. The subtle references in their collections can only be caught if you too have some understanding of fashion throughout the eras and it's impact on culture and vice versa. I urge you to discover an era whose aesthetic speaks to yours. Is it the elegance of the 20's or the rock and roll looks from the 70's. As designers we must understand what inspires us and use our points of reference with direction and clarity. Do we love nostalgia or oppose it? Like it or not these underlying messages are the communication and expression that your audience will specifically seek your brand out for. Wether or not you are a designer or hope to be one in the future. Know your point of reference, and also know that being fearless in fashion, just means being you. The truest version of you that the world is waiting to meet.
3-Look at your life HONESTLY, take full responsibility for where you are today, and know that what you don't do today will result in your tomorrow. One of the most difficult moments in my life was when I truly saw myself and took responsibility for every major action AND inaction of my life. This is not about beating ourselves up, it's about acknowledging the truth the we are the creators of our life. Make a commitment to figure out your one next important step and take action. No matter how small that first step, it's better than inaction. And if its a "wrong" first step you're only closer to the right one. Successful people look for opportunities, not excuses, or who to blame. Focusing on the negative is only going to attract other negative people and while busy complaining together, both will be blind to the opportunities right in front of them. What does this have to do with fashion? Like in any competitive field, everything. It's simply too easy to make up stories in our mind of rejection, we won't make a follow-up call after an interview or to a buyer, or take part in a school design competition. Before we've even given ourselves an honest shot, we've already rejected ourselves. Entering competitions was crucial in my career, but you know he truth, far fewer people ever entered than you'd think. The "unspoken" first challenge in many competitions is just entering, 90% of the competition was eliminated by their simple choice not to enter! I learned this pretty early on, and since then always keep my eyes out for new ways to challenge myself. Next time you see an opportunity. remind yourself that most people will do nothing, so I truly encourage you to go for whatever direction your gut is trying to lead you in. Remember that human beings are wired to keep the status quo, and feel comfort in decisions that are "safe". Diving into the unknown is an uncomfortable feeling because our brains are wired for survival. We are fortunate enough to live in a time where that primitive "survival" instinct is not necessary and in fact, now that we don't have to fear being eaten alive by a wild animal, we are free to pursue those passions that we know in our hearts will elevate our lives. What's your next step? What's holding you back. I don' t have illusions like my blog post will change your life, but I can tell you I was right where you are now, and that eventually I did make it through. I encourage everyone to give their dream a shot. You never know until you try, no one knows what is next, the one thing we can be sure of is that we're not the ones standing in our way.
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