Since I was let go from my all-consuming nonprofit “day” job, I have been examining my decisions and my lifestyle. As one of the founders, I sacrificed quite a bit to ensure the success of this nonprofit—time with my family, my career as a designer, incredible design projects, a book project, friendships, my home (it was run out of my home until the day they “let me go”). Without warning or cause, I was told the board was moving on without me immediately* and did not need or want my guidance or input any longer.
*This was quite the shock, as the board and I had discussed my succession plan many times in the previous months. I had wanted to allow an easier transition for the nonprofit and also allow time to rebuild my design career, but the board decided to take a different direction.
I was devastated. Really devastated. This nonprofit had become my identity. Who would I be without it? Why didn’t I matter anymore? Would anyone care about me without my nonprofit connection? What would happen to the nonprofit?
As I sorted through the self-doubt, I realized that my life had been lacking inspiration. I had been battling a bit of burnout for a while (and attempting to recover from two concussions within just a few months of each other) and had sacrificed most of my typical creative exercises as I struggled to meet the nonprofit’s goals. While I had occasionally maintained my Saturday morning design inspiration hunts, I had stopped creating. Sure, I had some fun side-jobs once in a while, but I wasn’t doing enough to refuel my creativity.
I thought about bringing back my owl-a-day project, but that would be too easy…and the truth is, I don’t really like owls that much. I thought about joining a Creative Sprint, but I really wanted something illustration or drawing based. That’s when I learned about #The100DayProject and decided to join in. I wanted to do something with sea life and creativity—an odd combination, but that will make sense in June—and came up with my “Sea Different” project.
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