Always do the things you are afraid to do

When I first started work I was extremely shy and the thought of speaking in front of people scared the living daylights out of me. When I was forced to present a few times I turned into a sweaty mess. In fact one time I got so nervous that I ended up having a coughing fit in the middle of a presentation forcing the client to leave the room in order to get me a glass of water. Once I had stopped coughing and choking all over the client I stood red-faced, sweat coming through not only my shirt but also my suit jacket! I could see my boss and colleagues sat wide-eyed wondering if I was going to keel over or finish the presentation.

I looked at the client and just said, ‘See, you have to hire us because we are even prepared to die to get your business!’ The client laughed, nervously, and we eventually won the business.

The only thing I could do at that stage was make a joke out of this surreal experience. But this taught me very quickly that if I can recover from what I was always in fear of experiencing, why did I get myself into this mess?

The truth is presenting to a client can be intimidating and sometimes the stakes are high if you do not win the business. I have gone to presentations knowing if we don’t win the business people in the agency will lose their jobs, that’s pressure! But I pushed myself to present at every opportunity because I knew it was a challenge that I had to get over, not because I enjoy talking in front of people but because it was a fear entrenched in my psyche that stemmed from being afraid of making a mistake.

I have had bad presentations since then, not quite like the first one but they didn’t go well. But the more I did it the more I realised there was nothing to be afraid of. In fact I have gone on to present at conferences around the world with thousands of people and I really do enjoy it. I found a passion that allows me to reach and connect with people all over the world, exchanging ideas, helping people with things I have learned or am passionate about.

I found joy in something because I did something that terrified me and I didn’t allow it to beat me. I faced my fear and it was not that I overcame anything, in truth there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place other than what I had built up in my head. Fear can be paralysing and I am not saying it is easy, it’s not. But I guarantee if I can do it, anyone can.

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Comic Sans walks into a bar and the barman says, “We don’t serve your type here.”

This made me chuckle and I often think laughter can be just as powerful as an inspirational quote. In todays collection I am in love with the painting (fourth row on the left) I think it is because within all the chaos and power that each strikes obviously provides this piece of art but there is serenity in the face of the girl which makes for a captivating contrast. The minimal color palette is also something that appeals to me. I really do like this painting!

The Harvey Nichols ad is not by my agency Y&R but rather DDB in London. It is really nice with the women being depicted as a lightbulb and the men are ‘moths to the flame!’ is a wonderful insight. The other ad in this campaign was the women being a very sharp pin and the men balloons. Have a creative day.

All forms of creativity inspire me

I love design for being able to make you smile. The dinosaur packaging below is a wonderful example of this. A simple line on the label of GRRR! Just says it all, fantastic! I also love in today’s collection the vampire weekend poster for New York. Two buildings perfectly placed on a red background leaves you clearly understanding what it’s for.

I have a couple more arabic calligraphy examples from Wassim Shawkat, (Check out the environmental section on his website) who really has created some beautiful images with his use of arabic type. Hope this inspires you today. Have a creative day.

Show the world what your made of

I used to find it almost a curse that I loved so many different disciplines of art. Let me explain, I enjoy creating so much that I would be so confused as to what medium to use that I would end up doing nothing or be distracted when doing one thing, like a painting, that I could be doing something else. Fortunately as I have grown older I see it as a blessing and can really focus on one thing. Also it gives me a great opportunity to combine all different types of things. I hope todays collection sparks you into doing something creative. Feel free to share it on my gmail (alanfirmin@gmail.com) and I will include it here.

I find todays collection interesting because it shows how powerful a good portrait can be. When I looked at the preview of this post the picture literally just jumped out and demanded attention. Incredible when you consider the colours and designs that are surrounding it. I love it. Have a creative day.

A DAILY DOSE OF INSPIRATION 21/9/10

Today’s quote, “Hope is the dream of a waking man.” What a great way to start the day! Have a creative day.

A DAILY DOSE OF INSPIRATION 19/9/10

Around the world inspiration to hopefully spark the creative spirit that resides in us all.

“There are no people that are not creative. There are just people who do.”

A DAILY DOSE OF INSPIRATION 12/9/10

A daily dose of inspiration to get anyones day off to a great start. I hope this selection inspires you the way it has me today. Have a creative day.

Typography on film: The art of bringing type to life