When I was younger, it angered me that I couldn’t draw. Even when I was introduced to impressionism, dadaism, and other less realistic forms of art, I still got angry that I couldn’t use a pencil and make the best space shuttle in class. I even checked out books from the library on how to sketch various pop culture characters in the hopes of “training myself” to be a better artist. I thought the best drawings would get me chicks, I guess.
That’s why I threw myself into photography in college. If my fellow arts majors could out do me with charcoal in their hands, I would run circles around them in the darkroom. It was a craft I would teach myself and allow me the pride to call my work “art”. Anything I created, of course, probably was just as much art as my peers’ work, but I couldn’t see that truth back then.
Fast forward 15 years, and I still get caught up in the same comparison game when I look around my office.
There is an unbelievable amount of magic being created at Bottle Rocket, and hundreds of other offices just like that today. Many of us have collectively agreed to look at every detail of our work in painstaking detail and turn them into true experiences. Artists, UX designers, strategists, developers and testers come together with a singular focus: find the magic and show the world.
Problem is, that’s not my job, or so I sometimes think.
PMs, biz devs, and other organizers get to be there from day one helping the project along. When I first started in this role as an “organizer”, it was satisfying for many reasons. We fly out for client meetings, gesture at Keynote presentations, and take important people out for meals. For people pleasers like me, however, it can sometimes lead to a little bit of creation envy.
Fortunately, the truth couldn’t be further from this idea. I just needed to see the art in my work.
Corny as that sounds, if there wasn’t any art in my role as a leader I would be the most replaceable person at my company. At Bottle Rocket, nobody is replaceable because we are all the best at what we do. We may execute it differently than our office mates, which is why there is truly art in all of our work.
Anyone that watches my wife interact with my son and daughter can see the art in her work because every day with those munchkins is different. Same goes for the people that build my car, sew my jeans, read my posts, direct my company and a million of other things that happen all around me daily. I just had trouble seeing it because product backlogs and retrospective rundowns aren’t hung at the Met in NYC.
If you don’t see the art in your work, chances are you struggle with the same thing I do every day: perception and expectations. Nobody made a commercial touting the genius of my conference calls, but I have been told before that I handle those well at times. Managing people and products gets eyeballs when you something really great or incredibly wrong, but otherwise I’m lost in the shuffle. Now that I’m starting to get older, I’m fine with that.
I see the art in my work because the true nature of my role is to enable others’ art. If they are getting the praise they ultimately deserve, I can sleep well at night. Your artwork may require you to deflect praise to others as well, or just train yourself to wait for the right opportunity then bolt through the crack in the door boldly.
Either way, your art is there to be seen. Go find it, then tell me what it is. I would love to show you how amazing it is!