Are you really who you think you are? By @AliciaCliffe

Alicia Cliffe

By Alicia Cliffe


Are you really who you think you are?

Art director? Copy writer? Team? Single?

I thought that they were the four main questions before starting school last year. And I joined with two clear answers.

Art director. Team.

But, i now don’t think it’s that simple. I also don’t think it’s all you boil down to.

This week we’ve been out of the studio for half term. With only five weeks left, initially it filled me with fear and worry that a week without loads of students or mentors could only be a hinderance.

But, it actually came at such a great time for me.

That’s because for the last few weeks I’ve been adjusting to working differently. I’ve felt a little lost, a bit wobbly and at times quite unsure of myself. Obviously, this has not been ideal.

After some soul searching and considering a change of career paths, I boiled it down to not feeling confident in my own ways of working (oh and by dismissing the cruel men down to ‘blips’).  During the last few weeks of turmoil i hadn’t stopped to think about myself and how I worked best. I hadn’t given any time into thinking how I’d gotten to my favourite thoughts or even how I started to find one.

During school hours it’s really hard to take some time so just work by yourself, so for this week I made it my focus (it hasn’t been as self centred and peaceful as it sounds).

I asked some of the other students who produced work I felt was most similar to mine and what I wanted to achieve, about how they figured out the ways they work alone. From all their nuggets of gold (I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Well that’s not true, but you get the picture) I spent some time thinking if any of that came naturally to me, and what parts I neglect, and those I needed to focus on.

For days after I sat and wrote a load of strategies ranging from fun campaign propositions to problem solving activations. All different in thought but all starting to come from the same place.

Although I’m sure that 99% of them will be useless, it gave me the chance to really question what I’d been doing to get there, what I gravitated towards and what I wanted to develop.

It also helped me figure out if what I was saying was simple, like truly simple.

Marc also gave me a good tip to then test them out. Sum your favourite thoughts into a single sentence and stick them on the wall overnight. I know what you’re thinking, a simple overnight test hey. Wrong.

This is a ‘do they mean the same to you as yesterday, do you still believe in them and which one do you gravitate towards the most?’

It might sound stupidly simple to some, but I haven’t ever believed in my gut in picking out ideas. Which has been a great thing to practice.

I know it probably seems quite late in the game to have only truly figured out my alone processes need work, but I do think that it’s important to question if you have actually really nailed it. And if you are, how are you doing it? Because I’m sure you don’t even know how you really wrote that great SMP.

Even if things are always smooth sailing (you lucky burgers – that was an autocorrect but way funnier right) you’ve still got to be able to work alone. In the job you can’t have time off because your partners sick or not turn in any work whilst they’re on holiday.

Plus, it’s important to know what you can offer when working with someone else, even if for now it works just as a confidence boost.

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