04 August 2014

HOW DO YOU DO: ON MANTRA

I've spent a lot of time this Summer thinking about MANTRA and MISSION STATEMENTS and my own little personal BELIEVIES – mostly in terms of Panda Head, and re: creative projects, in general. As my own creative business and brand has grown over the last three years (and as I've seen an explosion of change in creative DC, and in the lifestyle blogosphere as a whole), there are tenets I've held near and dear that, as my own personal mantra, have allowed my career to grow and evolve while keeping me honest/keeping my nose to that grindstone. These are them:

KEEP LEARNING. My running to-do list is updated fourteen million times a day, but the number one item is always "GET BETTER." Being multi-disciplinary works for me, and I feel lucky to have a number of projects going on during any given day – whether I'm working on Panda Head Blog content, product styling, or hashing out plans with my creative consulting clients, I'm always looking for ways to have one project inform another. There are a million lessons to be learned and applied between two seemingly disparate things, and for me, personally, being completely specialized just wouldn't fit my skill set. That said, I put a LOT of time aside to work on my individual skills. Whether that means signing up to take a photography class or a social media workshop, buying a graphic designer friend coffee in exchange for the lowdown on what's COOL with FONTS these days, or just finally sitting down to spend a few hours catching up on Fast Company or BIZ LADIES, I've tried to make education a priority, in whatever shape or form it comes in.

KEEP AN EYE OUT...  In that same LEARNING vein, some of the most valuable lessons I've come across, especially recently, have come from just paying attention to what other people are doing and how they do it. It's easy to get laser-focused on your own projects, but you're not doing yourself any favors by NOT keeping up with what your peers are doing. There's huge value in seeing their success and oftentimes it's of even more value to get to the bottom of why you're not particularly digging on something that someone's putting out. A critical eye is an INCREDIBLY valuable tool – but you gotta come at it from a place of respect.

...BUT WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF. "Worry about Morgan" is a direct quote from my Dad; when my sister and I were growing up, any attempts at tattletale-ing were axed immediately with that line. In ADULT-LIFE, it's got two applications: one - there's zero benefit to having that aforementioned critical eye if you're not turning it on your own work, and two – there's zero productivity in sweating the number of followers that somebody else has, or in feeling like somebody may have swiped your steez, or in worrying about any of the million other little things that you don't have any control over. It's not moving you forward, and it's energy better spent elsewhere.

AND KEEP IT LO SWANK. My goal with Panda Head Blog is to present a creative lifestyle as something that's attainable and accessible. Your life can and should look however you'd like it to - the vision just needs to be yours and yours alone, and you need to roll your sleeves up and get to work to make it happen. LO SWANK means not a lot of fuss, not taking things too seriously, not being overly TAKEN with what you're doing and what you're putting out. It's looking towards the future while learning from the past. It's a rough + tumble, stick to your guns, messy-haired kind of aesthetic; it's splinters and sweat and dishes in the sink; early alarm clocks and finding the beauty in what's undone and worn-in and maybe even a little crooked. And it's about being GRATEFUL – for what you've got, and for what other people have to give. I'm incredibly lucky for this blog's readership, and for the opportunity to get to share these personal/career posts – I know you're all people with your own projects and creative bents and inclinations, and it means a lot to me that you stop by.


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4 Comments:

Blogger by BUN said...

I was confused when I saw your IG photo with that phrase...but now that you've broken it down - I'm LOVING the concept of 'lo swank'. so so good.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

<3 <3 <3 A great read. Thank you! I needed that.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Panda Head said...

thank you BOTH, so much! really, really glad you dug it.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Britany said...

Found your IG/Blog yesterday. Love what you're doing! Very inspiring.

1:57 AM  

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