Sliding down the change curve. – By @EllieDag

By Ellie Daghlian


Sliding down the change curve.


Netflix has a new show. Next in Fashion, featuring Queer Eye star Tan France and super-model Alexa Chung. I watched all of it today.


It’s basically Britains Next Top model for fashion designers.


One team stood out early on. Angel and Minju. They started strong, but not on top, then in weeks 4 and 5, won two competitions in a row. Suddenly, they were the stars to beat. 


Then something changed. They struggled. For three successive episodes their work slid down in standards, and they were nearly eliminated. They were clearly brilliant, but something was getting in their way. Every time they couldn’t repeat their earlier brilliance, it got worse. 


A couple weeks ago, Marc taught us about the positive and negative change curve. And basically, it means you’re only every one good thing away from a crisis. 


But having something really great happen, like they did, sets you up for self doubt, anxiety and, if you can’t check it, depression and crisis. 


Watching Angel and Minju, I saw the change curve playing its ugly game. They’d done really well, and they were getting in their own heads about it. 


I also felt like I understood what’s been happening to me at SCA. Before Christmas, my partner and I, did a really good piece of work. Marc made a really big deal about it, and we ended the term on a high.


Now like any functioning human, I enjoy validation. But even at the time, I was worried about being able to repeat it. Then we had the Christmas holidays, built a portfolio during our time off, and came back with, remarkably, the strongest book at the first book inspection. 


Now, I’m going to sound like a knob, but that inspection came a couple days before the deadline for a brief we were working on. Which we didn’t have anything great for. That win did not make me feel good about what was coming next. 


And of course, over the weekend we went from top to pretty much bottom. Someone I trust turned to me after we’d watched my case study that day, and told me it was the worst thing I’d done yet. 


Which was how week 3, term 2 at the SCA began. 


At the time, I was sad we hadn’t delivered something spectacular, but confident we would do it for the next brief. 


Somehow, we just didn’t. 


After the second brief, I thought I felt that pressure lifting a little. Like maybe now there was no expectation and we could claw our way back to the top. 


We chose to focus on the book inspection instead of the portfolio brief this week, and our book did well, and our PB didn’t, as you’d expect. Then Marc asked us whether we were flying, gliding or diving. Apparently everyone is always in one of those three states. 


On paper, I guess I’m gliding? But since coming back from Christmas I’ve just felt like I’ve been drowning. I feel like someone is standing on my chest all the time, my relationship is suffering, and I can’t do good work anymore.


I feel like I peaked too soon, and now, as awards season approaches, I’m just plummeting towards terrible. 


But watching Angel and Minju gave me hope. 


Even though their work suddenly got really not very good, nobody on the show changed their perception of them.


There were a couple of occasions where, based on that week, they should have been eliminated. But the judges knew they were capable of being amazing, so kept them anyway.


And they were proved right, by the way. Minju went on to win with the most gorgeous wedding dress I’ve ever see. And I don’t even like weddings. 


Anyway, I’m not saying that I’m amazing, just that my performance on any given day does not redefine my value as a human being? Maybe that’s obvious, but I don’t think I’d realised it before.


I asked Marc on Friday what I was doing wrong managing my time. His template of a 43 hour week has so far proven a complete lie to all of us. I’ve tried schedules, and smart goals, and somehow I’m still in the studio from 8-9 most days, then doing more work after I get home, then getting 2 hours sleep on deadline nights. Then being sad and grumpy because I like sleep.


He reckons I’m talking too much. 


He also thinks we should all be meditating every day.


These don’t sound like likely solutions to me, but I’m desperate, and I have no idea how to limp back up the positive side of the change curve, so I guess on Monday I’m going to sit far away from humans and meditate in the toilets. 


2020, the year of something. 

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