The Art of Letting Go
As a growing design and branding firm, we spend every day refining and applying our “Clarity By Design” process in the service of our clients and their brands. But there are those times in the creative process when clarity can be hard to come by. We’ve all experienced the exhilaration of stumbling upon what seems like the perfect concept or solution to a particular puzzle. We’re jazzed, and we can’t wait to implement it. Fast forward a few hours, and we’re still wrestling with that brilliant idea, just trying to make it work. That jazzy feel has devolved into a dirge. “But it has to work. It’s great, and I’ve invested so much time going down this road! Ugh! I’m getting nowhere!”
With time and discipline, I’ve gotten better at letting go and moving on. While I try not to give up on an idea before it’s had time to fully evolve, I have learned to better recognize that tipping point when my perfect solution becomes the brick wall that’s holding me back. I’ve put a statute of limitations on these inspirations. If it’s slowing down the show, it has to go. As a designer and as a business owner, I’ve learned that no single “big idea” of mine is bigger or more important than the project – and the deadline – at hand.
In his book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” author Greg McKeown reflects on the benefits of applying that kind of cut-and-run efficiency to your work and into every area of your life.
“What is the obstacle that is keeping you back from achieving what really matters to you?” McKeown asks. “By systematically identifying and removing this ‘constraint’ you’ll be able to significantly reduce the friction keeping you from executing what is essential.”
Letting go of that big idea can quite often be the thing that brings the clarity back, creating space that allows the right idea to appear. And that original flash of brilliance? Stash it away somewhere. It’ll be perfect for a project down the road. As frustrating as these stumbling blocks can be, they’re an integral part of the creative process, just stones in the winding road that gets you to that final destination.