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Own Your Process

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Ownership Sparks Creativity in Art & Work & Life

One key differentiator between working for the man (every night and day) and working for yourself is ownership. Working for yourself you own the beginning, the middle, and the outcome.

Especially the outcome.

Some of my favorite colleagues over the years—the very ones who advanced in whatever they worked at—found ways to own the process. These were the ones not content to follow orders. Instead they made the work their own, found their own way, employed their skill and imagination. I’ll argue that owning the work sparked their creativity to accomplish the task. And I’ll argue that ownership looked like responsibility for the outcome. So despite working for the man, they took ownership, made their own meaning and became, well, the man.

Over at Dumb Sketch Daily I’ve been producing a dumb sketch every day for the last 39 days. I was sorta proud of this dumb sketch:



Then a commenter suggested abstracting it, which I tried, given my limited art understanding and abilities (here):



You can see the result is…simple. But it is my own (not that anyone is lining up to take credit). The commenter’s comment helped me continue my odyssey toward learning to see.

My only point is that developing new skills requires a certain elasticity. We try new stuff and get it wrong again and again and again. And we keep failing until maybe, one fine day, it turns out sorta OK.

A lot happens when we take ownership for developing our own skills. And a lot of good can come from taking responsibility for our client/boss/friend’s desired outcome.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston


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