Whenever I feel stuck, overwhelmed, nervous, or lost, I return to my drawing board.
For me, a drawing board serves as a motivator from way back when: a line, visual, or situation that created a lasting imprint. Often people forget these early motivators or feel they hold little relevance in adulthood, as if inspiration has an expiration date.
Depending on your age, you may recall the early logo for Tri-Star Pictures. It was my favorite of all film studio logos. Its sense of mystery and excitement stemming from the musical crescendo and white pegasus running towards the viewer (and let’s not forget, it was a PEGASUS) –was all very cool but the reason I re-wound those VHS tapes over and over was how its presentation made me feel. Since I was six, I wanted to be a writer of film and TV and also an actor that could bring the projects to life.
I read books like a fiend and watched as many films as possible. Even if I didn’t fully understand them, they each taught me something. Films were real to me—the emotion, character development, and plot structure made sense. I knew that creating stories and sending them into the world was what I was meant to do. Every part of the experience affected me—the visuals, dialogue, music, all aspects that brought a story to life.
The exhilaration of a film’s opening scene and the possibilities of what might follow was a major motivation. But the Tri-Star logo kept me going when my path became frustrating, confusing, or when I’d write for clients who didn’t know what they wanted and left me feeling adrift. I’d always jump on You Tube, find that Tri-Star clip and remember how I felt, how I wanted to make others feel, and moved forward armed with a re-energized approach.
It’s difficult to explain the magic of the pegasus clip. Even as a professional writer, the words for the swell coming upwards from my feet and pushing me forward are few and far between. It thrilled me to imagine what that film would be like, and if I’d already seen it, a chance to re-visit characters and circumstances. Films were magic and this uplifting intro made me feel part of that magic.
“We should re-visit our original motivation whenever flexibility and side roads become necessary.”
Why is it my drawing board? Because what I wanted more than anything was to make people feel as I did. I hoped that someday, I could bring that same magic to others. If people could attain that excitement, mystery, and exhilaration from something I created, I’d die happy. That studio intro reminds me of what I’m trying to achieve and a physical, visceral sensation that harkens back to my point of origin. To remember who we want to become, we must recall when we decided in the first place. And why.
Inspiration has no expiration date. We should re-visit our original motivation whenever flexibility and side roads become necessary. Often, we find ourselves on autopilot—it takes time to re-visit our goals and desires. But it’s necessary if you’re to achieve that feeling of happiness, wonder, safety, and confidence you had as a child, teenager, or young adult, whenever you realized, if not exactly what you wanted to do, how you wanted to feel. If you sense disconnect in personal or professional fulfillment, go back to your drawing board. What were you doing, seeing, or surrounded by when you felt most inspired, safe, happy, productive, etc? If you pinpoint it, you can re-visit it. Whatever it is, find it and watch, listen, practice, take it in so as to replicate that energy and send it outwards. Make a change, even a small one, with your work, strategy, motivation, or focus.