This year my professional career took a 90 degree turn. Maybe I’d been inching that way in 10 degree increments since graduate school, but regardless I woke up this year and found myself wanting and doing something very different than I had ever intended. I had thought I would end up in medicine, which shifted softly to global health. Then just when I thought I was settling into a groove, helping design programs to improve the quality of life for mamas and babies in faraway places – a notion that still makes me tick – I suddenly fell down the rabbit hole of design.  When I had intended to be picking protocols I was actually picking color schemes. It was both unexpected and totally natural, and something that I am still very much trying to come to terms with.

As much as I have always been fascinated by the sciences, I’d be kidding myself if I denied my love affair with all things crafty and colorful. The kid who built scrapbooks a hundred pages thick grew up into a woman with bright green dining room walls. I geek out on simple innovations that save hundreds of lives, but I am totally enamored by typefaces and photography and beautiful palettes.

So recently I dove into that world of design head first. I denied the years of social science education to tackle something for which I had no training. At the intersection of my social motivations and artistic inclinations I founded a creative studio for social impact organizations. I really have no idea what I am doing but I’m learning more every day than I ever got out of school. And I’m convincing myself – slowly but surely – that I can be great at this.

Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds…The 10,000 hour rule is a definite key in success. – Malcom Gladwell

I may not know how to format a spread to send to the printers or to take full advantage of the fancy design software in which I’ve already invested, but I can learn. I know how to be persistent and relentless and will put in the 10,000 hours I need to succeed. My favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert, had more than those 10,000 hours of writing under her belt before she was even seven. I’ll start just two decades late and this blog will be my incubator. A place to develop my voice. A place to learn to string words together like scraps of gold until I finally weave something worthy of praise.

Relentlessness. I can do that.

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