Lockdowns suck. That’s undeniable but luckily there are always good things that come from the bad. As communities and organisations have turned in person events into online offerings it has opened up the access for people like me in Regional Victoria to attend events that I otherwise would have struggled to get to (a round trip into Melbourne, while fun, is a good 2.5hours travel, plus time at the event!)
Last night I attended the Creative Women’s Circle Masterclass: What do you do? It was a fascinating conversation about how to find your ‘onlyness’. Your ‘onlyness’, by the way, is what sets you apart from others, what is your unique offering to the world. The presentation was hosted by Carol Mackay from Business Design Council and while the focus was on designers finding their ‘onlyness’ I believe anyone would benefit from the exercise that was presented. Especially anyone who is thinking about a career change or needing some insight into what actually brings them joy.
It all starts with creating a journey map (I obviously made one for you to download because I can!). I have spent a few hours this morning putting mine together for the sake of this example, I will definitely be doing this in a more detailed session over the weekend. I hope you’ll feel compelled to do the same. Right, slight disclaimer, I watched this webinar, whilst having a few beers in the Tinyoffice, while eating my favorite snack: original rice cracks with sriracha hummus from Aldi. This is a pretty loose overview but I hope you’ll find it helpful regardless.
Right, the journey map. You start with three horizontal rows, labelled doing, thinking and feeling.
‘Doing’ is a timeline of actual events that have happened in your life. It really is up to you, the creator, on how deep you go and even the timeframe you want to focus on. I’m going to start from when I arrived in Australia because that is when my professional life started.
Once you have a loose timeline it's time to reflect back on the thoughts you had around those events. Why did you leave that job? What happened to create that change? These are objective statements that might help explain the transitions in the ‘doing’ row if that helps.
The final row is feelings. How did you feel when these things were happening? Draw a horizontal line and have negative emotions below the line and positive ones above the line. I hope my example will make this clearer!
So the objective here is to get everything out. Very rarely do we stand back and take a birds eye view of our life’s journey. The next step is to highlight common themes or words that keep popping up. From this journey map we want to create a pro’s and con’s list. What am I good at and what do I want to avoid. The more honest and vulnerable you make your journey map the more you’ll be able to draw from it.
This is a really good opportunity to share your journey map with someone else. It can be incredibly helpful to have an objective opinion when creating the pro’s and con’s list. Others might see something that you don’t.
The next step is to filter those key ideas into some statements in order to find your DVP “Design Value Proposition” or CVP “Core Value Proposition” or just what makes you, you.
I understand that power comes from listening to others. I like to lead using my ears rather than my mouth. I understand that confidence comes from being able to deliver an expected result.
I can help others realise a version of themselves that they weren’t aware of. I do this through meaningful collaboration with my clients and using my stylescape process. I’m actively learning new ways to improve the systems I use.
The proof is that I have helped individuals develop personal branding that is beyond their expectation of themselves.
What you're doing here is taking your journey map and squeezing it down to a few short sentences that express the uniqueness that is you. As a designer I might flow some of these ideas through my website copy, LinkedIn profile and Instagram messaging. If you're looking at applying for a new job or even updating your Linkedin profile, then these are the statements you should be leaning into.
I’ve always found it really hard to talk about myself and what I do. There are so many more amazing graphic designers and brand strategists out in the world that I often feel like my offerings are pale in comparison. That's why this exercise is so wonderful. No two journeys are the same and therefore no two DVP’s or CVP’s are the same either. We are a culmination of experiences, ideas, thoughts and knowledge. No two people are the same and once you discover what your superpower is then you can embrace and celebrate it.