Choosing An Attitude of Gratitude
One positive aspect of being home for our graphic design team is the gift of time to concept, to do some bigger thinking about what our direction should or could take in the fall. The opportunity to create and brand Channel J was exciting for us to take on.
But for some reason, I felt blocked right away. I couldn’t get past it, and the harder I tried, the bigger the block became. Was it the news? Was it the uncertainty? Was I too worried about my family and friends? I was overwhelmed and felt frozen, creatively.
I started looking for inspiration and tried to relax. While taking long walks with my dog, I listened to podcasts and looked at artwork in people’s windows. I practiced yoga. I tried to bake challah. I even worked on a diamond paint by number, (a low point for a creative person.)
Working at home was so different than in the marketing department “quads.” In my life before JCC Chicago, that’s all I used to do. I was an invitation small business owner and graphic design freelancer. Now I feel like I’ve returned to my old life, (except now my husband has taken over my old office space.) The only “drive-bys,” (what we call it in marketing when people stop and talk to us,) in my dining room office are my husband, kids and dog.
I eventually worked myself out of the creative block but couldn’t put my finger on how it happened. This past weekend, it finally hit me. My husband, Michael, asked me to clean out my office and finally hang pictures so his Zoom calls had more flair. I found some thank you letters I kept from old clients. I remember feeling so much appreciation for their heartfelt note and that they valued my effort, which is why I kept them in the first place.
I’ve also been reading letters of encouragement that have been sent from my co-workers. And without making the conscious decision, I started responding to them. I started telling people how their words affected me and that I enjoy working with them. Working in semi-isolation and hearing their thoughts made me appreciate their efforts more and more.
So, when you read a note from a co-worker that speaks to you, respond to them directly and sincerely. It’s hard to put yourself out there creatively and emotionally, but that’s when we learn and grow. Gratitude works somewhat like karma. When you express it, you get it in return. And to my colleagues, I am grateful to work with you and look forward to your drive by when we return to the office!
– Kim Preston
Manager, Creative Services