I have a friend. His speaking voice is subtle, his karaoke voice is powerful, his writing voice is what I call ‘wise snark’.
He proposed an idea, an offer. It was not completely in line with what I do, but it was still related and it sounded interesting and I knew I’d be working with a good person so I chewed on the idea. I did the dishes and chewed. I thought about all my fingers in all these pies and chewed. And then as politely as I was able, I declined, I was afraid of spreading myself too thin.
He wrote me this email:
“…the notion of preserving creative “thickness” is one of those things successful people do. See, they like to focus/conserve their energies whenever possible. The ones who spread themselves thin are generally self-promoting hustlers, says me.”
His words have been rattling around in my brain for the past couple of weeks. His words have become my new motto. Preserve Your Thickness.
Ambitious people like myself are never satisfied with what they’ve achieved. In their efforts to do/know/be out there/accomplish more, they try to do/know/accomplish everything and be everywhere, taking on any tangentially related project. In corporate-speak, I guess they would call this “diluting the brand.”
I’m not preaching, consider this more a confession. And I am fully aware that this is a very nice “problem” to have, to have enough opportunities from which to pick and choose. I am focusing on picking projects that are about Zoe the designer who also really likes to draw, and not Zoe the jack of all trades, master of none.
It’s 11pm and I’m fielding emails regarding 5 different events spanning 2 months, 2 delicious new projects, and designing yet another competition gown. With each email, “preserve your thickness” rattles in my head again.