Have a plan, even if it changes.
It’s been almost two years since I walked into my art teacher’s classroom and said, “I want to be a graphic designer.” I grabbed an Expo marker and started outlining my plan on the board:
- Learn. Read books about graphic design history and theory.
- Practice. Draw. Design. Do art.
- Projects. My idea was to do mock branding projects to build a small portfolio.
In the next year, I made crazy amounts of progress. I’m not even close to being a world-class designer, but I’m much better than I was. It all came from a plan on a whiteboard.
Planning requires you to guess. Saying, “I want to be a graphic designer,” at 17 years old is a guess, even if you’ve accounted for many different factors. In the next ten years, I might end up in business development or operations rather than design. It might be for a variety of reasons. Since there are so many possibilities, guessing feels unnatural, so people stare at the future with bewilderment and avoid planning anything.
That’s a great way to do absolutely nothing.
Following my original plan (or guess, if you’d like to call it) has taught me more about life than about graphic design—and that’s a good thing. I’ll go north, even if my destination is in the south; I won’t get anywhere if I stay still.
James Victore says: (in his book Feck Perfuction)
A plan is your true North. It keeps you from wandering aimlessly through life. You now have a quest. It helps define what is and isn’t you. It gives you parameters of what you will and will not do, jobs you will or will not take.
More than anything, your plan is a vision of who you can be and an acceptance of the idea that you are worthy of a beautiful and meaningful life.
Have a plan.
Even if you have no idea what to plan.