There’s nothing that inspires me more than a young, successful woman, mostly because of my desire to become one myself. I want to create what I love for a living and be the master of my own destiny. However, these dreams often feel out of reach – especially when role models are thousands of miles away, and exist (for the most part) as handles on Instagram.
The internet has made seeing the success of others so accessible, and it’s very easy to get bogged down by the overwhelming number of people wanting to do the same thing as you. But when you take a look at the young creatives around you following their dreams and doing well, it makes me think that doing what I love for a living is possible. I can relate to these individuals because their success gives me self-confidence and the belief that I can succeed too.
But the sentiment “her success is not my failure” was not always something I believed in. I used to be very competitive in college, and thrived on the failures of others because I thought it made my work look better — it would make the path to success easier for me. What I didn’t realize is that the last thing you want when you’re a creative is easy. Just like competition, collaboration creates challenge, challenge allows you to learn, and learning makes you better.
My first job as a graphic designer has made me think about all the other young designers from my college class. I am required to work “creatively”, but according to deadlines, and with several constraints in place. Sometimes, I feel like I’m trapped; do any of my classmates feel a little trapped in their jobs too? I’d like to think that if I left the 9-5 lifestyle that there would be people willing to support me and help me live a more creatively fulfilled life.
However, I don’t think many people consciously think about supporting local creatives. Growing up, I went to malls, shopped at big name brands, and didn’t take a second look at the ones I’d never heard of. Not to mention, for many shopping locally is a luxury — only those with the access to funds able to support them. Our capitalist society teaches us to support large corporations at the benefit of individually owned businesses. All over the world big corporations steal from young designers to cut the costs, with access to endless amounts of funds allocated to legal fees and lawsuits — all without repercussion. But, overtime we can make such a difference by spreading the word about local work we love.
Last year I started taking photography more seriously than I ever had before. I was an unheard of photographer, with almost no portfolio and very little credibility and relied heavily on other young local creatives to get clothes, makeup, and assistance with styling. In this way, collaboration allowed me to form a network and gave me a sense of community. I support the other women in my community and I feel proud when their work is recognized. It’s a community in which individuals are willing to help one another, and view others’ success as success as a whole. We are taught that success is singular — and the only way to thrive is through the failure of others. Ive realized that yes, competition helps you learn, but so does supporting those around you.