Today’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE is featuring the one-and-only Meghan of Meghan Radke Web + Graphic Design who designed the new Jess LC website. Her expertise, patience, and good humor through all of the little tweaks and changes we made along the way demonstrated her ability to stay flexible, persistent, and generally rock her career. So of course I wanted to know more about her intentions and how she stayed so chill while juggling tons of projects.
As you read her interview, you will also see that she’s a fantastic graphic designer and she’s turned some pretty big obstacles in her life into building blocks. A key trait of all the DYL participants.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Meghan of Meghan Radke Web Design
Method to the Madness
A couple years ago I got a phone call that changed my life forever: my fiancÃ© called to tell me that he got into grad school and asked me to move to Los Angeles with him. What ensued was a whirlwind of job-hunting and house hunting. Thankfully, I found full time employment. It was a position as a graphic designer for a social stationery company in Los Angeles and I thought that it was the start to a good long career. Then several months later, I was laid off and the store closed. At the time I really was puzzled by what the universe was trying to tell me. Had I made the wrong choice in moving to Los Angeles? Was I not going to make it in my chosen profession? Then I came to a startling revelation: No, I was not meant to be a print designer as I had previously insisted. I was a web designer.
Getting laid off caused a lot of stress and madness in my life, but it also allowed me time to focus on what I wanted to do, gain more education in that area and finally launch my freelancing business. Truly, there is a method of the madness in our lives; we just have to be flexible and ready for opportunities as they rise out of the oncoming craziness.
Follow Your Gut
When I got laid off from my job, I was in despair. In a moment of madness, I reached out to a contact from the past and had the opportunity to work for a well known company as an intern. The position would begin non-paying, but had the potential to develop into a paid position later. My fiancÃ© was really happy that I found something to fill my time with and potentially our bank account in the future.
I went to my first day with high hopes, but as soon as I set foot in their office, I knew it wasn’t where I belonged. I talked it out with lots of friends and family and all told me that I should just stick with it, but I just knew I shouldn’t. I quit and at that moment I felt such a sense of relief it was amazing.
Since that time, I look back on the times when I did and didn’t follow my gut instinct and I can say that the times I didn’t usually ended badly for me. Now I really try to make decisions not only based on what my brain tells me, but also by what my gut tells me, too. In the end, I know that I am happier for it.
Fortune Favors the Bold
My fiancÃ© is a history buff and when we are driving around Los Angeles, which is often, he’ll play podcasts about various historical topics. One that really caught my fancy was about the conquests of South America. These crazed, half-starved, desperate men were up against forces unknown and often times outnumbered thousands to one and yet they battled through and vanquished their foes. Of course, we know now that it was pretty awful what they did and that they had superior weapons, etc. but I must admire their craftiness that was born of desperation. These stories led me to my new mantra: fortune favors the bold.
I am a naturally cautious person. I like to know things first and not be surprised. Yet, being a freelancer you will be chucked into situation where you can’t be cautious and careful, you need to be bold. Whenever I get into a situation where I feel a little nervous I tell myself to be brave and be bold. Though it’s a small thing, it really does chase away the butterflies that live in my stomach.
Know Thy Self
When I moved to San Francisco from Honolulu, I spent 3 months almost entirely alone. It was really difficult for me in the beginning since I come from a very tight-knit family, but during that period of time I learned a lot about being my own person and enjoying my own company. I went to movies alone and I ate alone; mostly I did this out of necessity, with no one around there was only me, myself and I. Yet, through these little exercises, I was taking the time to listen to my inner voice and get to know me.
Though I don’t know everything about myself, I do know more than I did before and this knowledge has helped me when I face personal battles and demons that pop up in my life. An added bonus I discovered is that I don’t feel alone even when I am alone. I have my own company and honestly, that’s fine and dandy with me.
De-stress your Life
Life is tough. Don’t let anyone tell you different. There are professional and personal struggles and sometimes the best way to sooth these woes is a big tub of ice cream and popping in your favorite rom-com.
I found that I was doing the above a bit too much when I was particularly unhappy with life and the added extra weight made me even more unhappy. Finally, I knew that I needed to get in shape and find another activity other than munching to shake the stress from my life.
Now, I’m not very athletic. I’ve never been and I never will be and I also know that if left to my own devices I wouldn’t exercise at all, so I found a great trainer to help whip me into shape. It was hard work, but I found that my mental cobwebs were starting to dissolve as I moved my body and got oxygen pumping. Just getting out and changing my routine a bit helped me to feel less stressed about all my troubles and figure out solutions to problems that were clogging my ice cream filled brain.
Celebrate the small things
One of the hardest things to do when you work for yourself is to stay on task. This is especially true when you work from home. It’s so easy to kick back and watch TV. This is one reason why I don’t have cable TV, to avoid the time suck, but even then the internet is a heck of an invention! Facebook, anyone?Â So how do I combat this? I reward the small stuff.
Every little step towards an ultimate goal is a step in the right direction; so I give myself mini-rewards. A lot of times the rewards are myself patting myself on the back, but other times I’ll give myself a little something special to motivate me even more. When I obtain my small goal and get a gift for myself from myself, I won’t lie, I feel darn good and this motivational technique helps keep me focused on the big and small goals.
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.