Here’s some feedback: Let the clouds gather as well as the sun shine.
It would be irritating to you and insincere of me to pretend AWARD School is all sunshine, rainbows and interpretive dance as students traverse the week-by-week wade and brief-by-brief blows.
Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty to love. In fact, the most outstanding part of the AWARD School experience has been the genuine passion for nurturing new talent and helping those who help themselves – from lecturers, fellow students and the industry as a whole. The level and quality of support is unprecedented in my professional experience.
From the moment I hinted at an interest in pursuing a career in advertising, I’ve had enormous support from friends, professional acquaintances, friends of friends and people I’ve never met.
Sure, I’ve been proactive. Since I made the career-changing decision I’ve undertaken the AADC Mentorship program, the AdSchool Copywriting course and sought meetings and development opportunities with a number of industry professionals. So, like my fellow AWARD School students, I’ve been enthusiastic and active. That my enthusiasm has been mirrored by so many makes the interminable brain farting a hell of a lot easier to weather.
Let me tell you, amidst the genius there are more than a few brain farts flourishing in Adelaide’s CBD on Monday and Thursday nights!
It is this aspect – not being able to live up to our own expectations and others’ encouragement – which is difficult (hello Lizard Brain).
The art of giving feedback
If you, like me, take a great deal of pride in your work, you will understand that not achieving your expectations – the ones you have for yourself and those you perceive from others – is not easy to take.
This isn’t unique to AWARD School; it’s just being amplified.
While there’s a lot to be said for developing a thick skin as a creative – and yay for you if yours is as tough as a moss piglet – but we don’t give nearly as much credit to the art of critique and giving feedback.
Assuming you’ve got the basics right (you use tact, you actually know what you’re talking about and you can clearly point out where more work is needed), it’s about having a conversation and telling it like it is – so much so that when someone says “that copy made me want to bring up my breakfast”, you can both laugh about it.
Let the clouds gather.
Sometimes – well, more often than not in AWARD School – the feedback on our work can be harsh, but having had it delivered with such class you walk away feeling inspired to dig deeper or start all over again.
When being a glass-half-full kind of person is in your DNA, it’s not natural to let the clouds gather when you so enjoy the sunshine.
Herein lies the truth of it all; when things aren’t going to plan and your brain’s giving you nothing but hot air, you’re learning something.
The solution? Just. Keep. Going.
The clouds have their silver lining, and with the help of great feedback it’s up to us to examine, poke, prod, and move the clouds about to find it.