Tag Debbie Millman

2 Great Women, 2 Great Online Courses –> Debbie Millman on Creating Visual Narratives & Brené Brown on the Power of Vulnerability …*


An Online Skillshare Class by Debbie Millman

Knowmads delight * here are two super exciting courses from some mighty intelligent and inspirational women.

Debbie Millman has a new course on SkillshareThe Art of the Story: Creating Visual Narratives, aimed at anyone with “a love of language, a passion for art, and a desire to bring them together.”

Join one of design’s most beloved advocates for a class exploring visual stories. Debbie Millman is world-renowned as the host of Design Matters, co-founder of SVA’s Masters in Branding program, president of the consultant group Sterling Brands, and an award-winning author and artist.

Learn how to craft a narrative, edit your writing, find inspiration in history, and experiment with materials. Plus, this class features an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Debbie’s personal collection of favorite visual stories, books, art objects, and more.

This class is ideal for designers, writers, and everyone with a story to tell. 

. . . *

Meanwhile on Udemy, Brené Brown is offering a course on the Power of Vulnerability aimed at “anyone interested in learning more about vulnerability and how to live wholeheartedly.”

By the end of the course, you will be able to 1) Explain how to cultivate shame resilience—the key to developing a sense of worth and belonging, 2) Discuss vulnerability as the origin point for innovation, adaptability, accountability, and visionary leadership, 3) Discuss emotional armory—how to avoid feeling vulnerable; myths of vulnerability—common misconceptions about weakness, trust, and self-sufficiency; and vulnerability triggers—recognizing what makes us shut down, and how we can change, 4) Summarize the 10 guideposts of wholehearted living—essential skills for becoming fully engaged in life.

I think these two courses would complement one another extremely well. The need for courage in creativity, and the ways in which shame and fear of failure harm the creative process are all topics that Debbie has addressed from her perspective as an artist on numerous occasions. In fact just last week, I featured Debbie (and Brené!) talking about wholeheartedness and courage. So why not learn how to harness your vulnerability as you learn to create visual narratives?

I’m enrolling this instant. Join me?

“The Etymology of Courage Relates to Wholeheartedness” …*

Here’s another lovely short interview with Debbie Millman (whom I’ve previously featured on rethinked * here, here and here). I love how honest and open she is about some of the deepest darkest fears that we often wrestle with in the solitude of private moments. I think it takes an admirable degree of courage, perhaps not coincidentally one of Debbie’s favorite themes, to open up publicly about one’s fears and insecurities, which she always seems to do with great insight and generosity.

In the video below, Debbie shares her views on design; branding; aspiring to overcome her fear of failure; and her admiration of Maira Kalman. Yet, what really caught my attention is an intriguing point about the difference between aiming to cultivate courage versus confidence, which Debbie makes while answering what living a good life means to her:

“Well, I’m going to spew all sorts of things now that are things that I aspire to, they’re not necessarily things that I can tell you, with my whole heart, I do. I just know that I’d like to do them more. And that is, to try to live without fear of failure. And so I like to think, I like to aspire to a place in my life where I wasn’t acting out of fear, I was only acting out of personal power. But that’s an aspiration, I am by far not doing that. I’d like to be able to live without feeling that it’s the last time I’m ever going to get an opportunity, because then that also creates a lot more insecurity—and you have to do this and you have to do that, and you have to do that because it’s never going to come your way again. I would have said a couple of months ago, I’d like to live with more confidence but I was talking to dani Shapiro, a great great writer; and Danni said that she actually doesn’t really think confidence is the key, that overly confident people or people with a lot of confidence tend to be really obnoxious and annoying. And that what’s more important is courage. So I’m sort of saying that, that I’d like to live with a sense of courage as opposed to fear. So those are the big things that I think about when I think about leading a full life.” – Debbie Millman

At this point in the conversation, one of the people at the table interjects, “Yeah, I was going to say that the etymology of courage it relates to wholeheartedness, so doing things wholeheartedly.” 

I loved this notion of courage and wholeheartedness stemming from the same root. I did a quick Google search to see for myself and one of the top results was this quote from Brene Brown, published in her bookI Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

 . . . *

Debbie Millman on why design matters from Dumbo Feather on Vimeo.

[hat tip: Maira Kalman Lives From Courage via Explore]

Humble Pied: Inspiring Makers Sharing One Piece of Advice, All Over Video Chat …*

Awesome resource alert: Mig Reyes‘ Humble Pied–a series of video chat interviews, each featuring an inspiring maker sharing one piece of advice.

This project originated as a presentation for a design conference I was asked to speak at. Being 22 at the time, I didn’t have much sage advice to give. I did–and still do–have plenty of smart and talented friends, colleagues and former bosses who have shaped my career. Deciding to share the advice they gave me, I started recording video interviews and built this site to house all of their captured words of wisdom.

Each interview, which lasts an average of three minutes, has Mig asking his guests to introduce themselves and then asks them: If you had just one piece of advice that you would share with someone who is looking to start their creative career or looking for just general advice, what would that one piece of advice be? Unfortunately, Mig hasn’t added any more interviews in the past couple of years, but if, like me, you’re only just discovering this platform, you will find plenty to browse and delight with the wonderful list of interviewees that Mig has curated–from Nicholas Felton, Jason Fried to Jason Santa Maria. Here are three of Mig’s interviews with some rethinked  …* favorites.

discover & rethink …*

JOHN MAEDA

Humble Pied: John Maeda from Mig Reyes on Vimeo.

“I think it’s to come in contact with the fact that as artist and designers you’re trained to be a great individual–someone that can do things by yourself, your way and to look for opportunities to do things with others. To find how your idea of artistic integrity, of the individual, can be broadened. Find a group integrity, find a peaceful place with that. Because the world is changing so much, you really can’t do it alone anymore. And to work together.”

DEBBIE MILLMAN 

Humble Pied: Debbie Millman from Mig Reyes on Vimeo.

“Try not to compromise. So many people don’t do what they really want in their hearts because they feel like they’re not good enough or they’re not smart enough, or they’re not talented enough or they’re not beautiful enough or thin enough–anything, anything. And that doesn’t matter. In order for you to live a remarkable life, in order for you to live a life that is fulfilling, you need to be able to go after  what you really want. And if you don’t, you’re not ever going to achieve it, ever. But if you do try, then the odds are, if you work really really hard, you can get there. It might take a long time but you will get there. And my sort of sidebar piece of advice to that piece of advice, is to try not to take no for an answer. I can’t begin to tell you how many things I have been told no in my first go around at trying but by the third or the fourth that no turns into a maybe and then that maybe turns into a yes. I’ve had one pattern in my life that I’ve recognized, is that the first time I’ve tried to do something, I’ve often been rejected. And even the second time I’ve tried to do something, I’ve often been rejected. What I’ve realized and what I’ve seen now in my research on being able to achieve something, is that eighty percent of people give up after the second try. So that means that if you try a third time you have a much smaller pool of people that you’re competing with. And so, I would recommend not taking no for an answer until you don’t want it anymore. If you keep wanting it, keep trying for it.”

TINA ROTH EISENBERG 

Humble Pied: Swiss Miss from Mig Reyes on Vimeo.

“Okay, there’s one piece of advice that I would give anyone that is starting a career–it’s actually a rule I live by–and that is that if an opportunity comes your way that scares you, you have to take it. And I remember the first time I was invited to speak at a fairly well-known conference, and I’ve never had any speaking experience before. I was scared in my initial reaction and that’s when I realized, you know what, this scares me for a reason because actually I’m going to grow with this and this is important for my career and I just have to, you know, work through it. And I did–I prepared, I had someone help me learn about presenting and all that. And afterwards, coming out of it, even though I was so scared, in the moment of, when I did it and everything, I was very proud of myself, I felt like I learned a lot, I made a huge leap forward in my career just with that and hence I got more speaking engagements out of it. So this is just a general rule that I live by.”

*

Debbie Millman on Taking Risks, Chance Encounters, Failure, Design & Avoiding Compulsively Making Things Worse…*

This past Tuesday, the online journal The Great Discontent published a deeply inspiring interview with the great Debbie Millman. Millman, a Renaissance-woman if ever there was one, is President Emeritus of AIGA, a contributing editor at Print Magazine, and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She also hosts the fantastic (seriously, check it out) podcast, Design Matters, the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet and has authored five books on design, including Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design (HOW Books, 2009). Below are some of my favorite insights from the interview, which I strongly urge you to read in its entirety over on The Great Discontent.

Enjoy & rethink…*

“My first ten years after college were experiments in rejection and despair. I knew that I wanted to do something special but, frankly, I didn’t have the guts to do anything special. When I graduated, I didn’t feel confident enough, optimistic enough, or hopeful enough to believe that I could get what I really wanted. I wasn’t living what I would consider to be my highest self—in fact, I was probably living my most fearful self.”

{…}

“My whole life has been one thing leading to another, leading to another, and then another. It has been completely circuitous and mostly unplanned. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about these chance encounters: those elusive happenstances that often lead to defining moments in our lives. But what if one of those defining experiences never occurred? What if something wonderful, something that we have come to depend on, that serendipitous bit of luck that provided us with a big break or a big deal or the Big Time never happened? One of those “if I hadn’t been eating a gigantic McDonald’s breakfast on the 7am flight to Vancouver in the middle seat, I wouldn’t have apologized to the beautiful, elegant woman sitting next to me on the plane; we wouldn’t have started talking and I wouldn’t have found out she was an important editor of a cool design magazine; we wouldn’t have become friends and so on and so on” type of moments. I call this “six degrees of serendipity”—the quintessential recognition that if this didn’t happen, then that wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t have ended up right here, right now, in this way.”

{…}

“A moment that I thought was a complete and total failure—this takedown of everything I’d done to date—ended up turning into the foundation of everything I’ve done since. I’ve just created a lecture titled “How the Worst Moments of Your Life Can Turn Out to Be the Best” because the worst professional experience I ever experienced turned out to be one of the most important professional experiences of my life.
I was really ashamed of all my failures for a long time. Now, I feel it’s important to share these experiences. I am hopeful that it can give other people hope and context to see things a bit differently. It’s not a failure until you stop trying.”

{…}

“Honestly, I feel like everything I’ve done has required some risk. I don’t think you can achieve anything remarkable without some risk. Risk is actually a rather tricky word because humans aren’t wired to tolerate it very much. The reptilian part of our brains wants to keep us safe. Anytime you try something that doesn’t have any certainty associated with it, you’re risking something, but what other way is there to live?

The first ten years of my career were very much organized around avoiding failure, but my inadequacies were completely self-constructed. Nobody told me that I couldn’t do something; nobody told me that I couldn’t succeed; I had convinced myself and lived in that self-imposed reality. I think a lot of people do this. They self-sabotage and create all sorts of reasons for not doing things under the misguided assumption that, at some point, they might feel better about themselves and that will finally allow them to take that risk. I don’t think that ever happens. You have to push through it and do it as if you have no other choice—because you don’t. You just don’t.”

{…}

“I want very badly to make a difference with my life. I’d like to make a difference by contributing to the world conversation about design.”

{…}

If you could give a piece of advice to a young person starting out, what would you say?
“I would provide five bits of advice:

Do not be afraid to want a lot.

Things take a long time; practice patience.

Avoid compulsively making things worse.

Finish what you start.

Often people start out by thinking about all the things that they can’t do. Once you take that path, it’s very hard to get off of it. Shoot high and shoot often.

{…}

“I feel happier and more a part of the world when I feel connected to others through likeminded communities. I feel really, really happy being part of a design tribe.”

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