Love and Creative Heartache


This week I was working with a designer at a large sportswear brand. In the middle of a Leadership Coaching programme, he asked me a very important question.

“If I keep pouring love and passion into my work, it hurts when my ideas are rejected, should I put less love into it so it hurts less if my ideas aren’t appreciated?”

“No” was my short answer.

I then explained…

As a designer, creating is who you are and designing wonderful products requires your love and passion. Without your full love going into it, you will dilute the quality of your work and more dangerously, lose a part of your purpose – to be a great creator.

Being a designer at a global brand is a great privilege to have a worldwide audience and also a challenge to understand the constraints of your creative outputs.


My recommendation instead is to focus on two things;

  1. Improve the way you present and communicate your ideas, including the working relationship with your manager.

At the core of most discomfort in life, is often a miss-understanding of intention and a difference of communication styles. People almost always have a positive intention behind doing what they do, understanding that perspective can greatly enhance how we deal with negative feelings. Seeking the clarity you need around why a decision is made, can relieve a lot of creative heartaches.

  1. Learn to deal with the negative emotions of feedback in a conscious way.

Feelings of frustration, sadness, anger, and disappointment, can fuel our creativity or suck the life out of us if we let it. I’m not saying it’s nice or easy to sit with these feelings, nor am I condoning poor feedback skills from your manager (if they are poor). What I am saying is there is always an opportunity to dig deeper into the feedback and use is as a catalyst for moving forward.


If we strive to innovate, push boundaries and create value for people, we have to appreciate the bigger picture. Designing for a global brand comes with strict guidelines, sales pressures, and a loud consumer purchasing voice.

Design is the gold that creates a connection between people’s hearts and their life aspirations. Don’t lose sight of the great creative gifts you have.

Whilst your creative skill is a continuing practice, so too should the skill of effective communication, reasoning and processing your feelings.

I hope this helps, keep the love alive!

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