2017 hasn’t come fully into focus yet, but already feels like a breath of fresh air. I haven’t really gotten back into the swing of my daily routine(s) yet, but I already feel like the baggage of 2016 has finally slipped free. The road ahead is foggy but highlights are starting to poke through the haze, drawing me forward with curiosity and intent.
I decided to not kid myself this year with the usual New Year’s resolutions. Instead I’m just sticking to the basics, with the goal of leaving this year stronger than I began it. And by doing so, hopefully find the road ahead to more productive paths for personal and professional growth.
2016 was a full year of “dealing with”.
It was a year of learning what I was made of, finding my boundaries, but not pushing them. 2017 feels different. More like a huge empty canvas with just a few vaguely-pencilled guide lines on it. Big goals are in mind, but I’m not rushing their progress or overthinking their details yet.
My job has been a blessing, a huge rock of support when I needed it the most. I really like what I do at Lynda/LinkedIn/Microsoft and they like me doing it. I’m eternally grateful for my job and inspired to do better. Which brings me to my own direction, and more difficult realizations.
I’m great at technical stuff. Seems like it’s been really good to me from a career perspective, too. But I prefer working with creative people and projects, plain and simple. I’m finding that I enjoy putting structure to creativity more than I do bringing creativity to structure. Though all my prior years were amazing, they also taught me hard lessons I needed for the road ahead.
How to break down monstrously huge problems into small steps I can crush with a finger.
Leading a huge, multi-national team with passion and drive.
Hearing tons of conflicting opinions but still finding middle ground that everyone can get behind.
Building a $160M business, marketing, and promoting it – all under intense scrutiny.
But it’s not all upside.
I saw sides of myself that weren’t as positive.
How to swallow my pride and become an agent of compromise, not change.
Ways in which I can ignore my creative side for the greater good of my peers, my employers, even my family. All at my own sacrifice.
I learned how one can grow a company, but not necessarily a career. Or a life.
The lessons of my past are the foundation upon which I’m building my future. I don’t reject or scorn them- I’ll acknowledge them as lessons learned. Not former glories to be someday revered upon a lonely gravestone. Or regrets to brush under the carpet.
So here’s what’s next.
My job at LinkedIn is awesome and lets me help people improve their lives. I’m grateful for their support and inspiration as I relight my own creative fires. It’ll take work.
I won’t be taking usual graphic design/branding/web site gigs on the side anymore. They aren’t where my passions truly lie. I’ll do the collateral work for my own projects, of course. But otherwise, I’ll now focus on areas where I want to create.
I’m playing in some bands right now but will be rethinking where I spend my musical energy. This year I need to get back to building something new, something of my own. Something drastically personal that I can’t hide behind layers of responsibility and self-doubt. I’ve got decades worth of notes, poems, songs, and melodies I’d long ago relegated to distant memory. And that’s a start. Lots of songs to sing and play for you that need to be brought to light.
I also need to share.
I’m starting to teach music again privately. All you’ll need is a zippy internet connection near your instrument of choice, and a webcam. Ping me via Instagram DM (I’m @sfegette) and we can arrange either a one-off lesson or a regular weekly slot covering:
- Bass, Guitar, Drums, Cello, Mandolin, Vocals
- Musical Performance & Production with Ableton Live (& Push), Logic Pro, Cycling ’74 MAX
- Beginner to Advanced Music Theory, Harmony, and Improvisation
- Performance and Career Counseling
- Any/all musical styles
(lesson material/homework in your preferred style(s), as well)
- 30 or 60 minute weekly slots available
- Available in person in the Santa Barbara/Ventura CA area
I’ll also still take on the occasional recording project too, so don’t be a stranger if you need tracks.
Making time for art.
I’ve also started getting back into my regular photography/art habits, too. I’ve put out pens, pencils and pads again at home (although I’m even rustier there). My phone posts regularly to Instagram as I document my road ahead with lenses. I’m working on a general recasting of myself and my personal business. The design aspects are absolutely thrilling to me.
Healthier choices in how I live, exercise and eat are proving critical. I’d always let these variables slide in the past based on work and curiosity. I’ve made them a priority in my road ahead – and the dividends in my health and attitude are obvious.
Writing these words down is helping me move forward as well. I feel like a younger version of me lately, viewing the world with anticipation and not regret. The road ahead is clear and extends beyond my line of sight. The sun is breaking.
And it feels so fucking good.