Circles 2014 Reflections

About a month ago my sweet friend, Nicole, and I took an adventure down to the great state of Texas to attend the Circles Conference 2014. Circles is a conference for the creative to feel inspired and to reignite ones imagination. This years conference certainly lived up to what it said it was all about. Inspire. Create. Repeat.

Two fast, well filled days full of inspired speakers, conversations that produced hundreds of thoughts, and many powerful ideas shared. Though each speaker had unique experiences to share, a handful of common, strong threads seemed to pop up through each talk.

As they spoke, many of the speaker power points were filled with projects that were recognizable, with recognizable company names attached. The projects that you saw them light up  and pause at were the personal projects. Projects that had stories, personal interests, and passion attached and sewn into them. My favorite examples of this were projects by Matt Lehman and the Heads of State. They both took initiative to do projects that were driven by person interests and have allowed their personal interests help them showcase what they could do, and not just what they were known for.


Create with depth and authenticity.
 - This one seems like a no-brainer, right? Often though when  asked to churn out design after design, that depth seems to fade and the authenticity becomes replaced with concern to move on. Jay Argaet spoke deeply on this subject, not only urging us to create with authenticity, but imploring us to step away from the computer and the “inspiration” sites to look at the world around us for inspiration. He has some lovely stories about how this has effected his work style and his staff at Hillsong Church.  

I instantly connected with what Becky Murphy had to say when she spoke about the importance of celebrating your first drafts, and not discounting the sketch work you do before the final project. Woven in with funny life stories and great illustrated slides, Becky proceeded to tell us of her "misses" and of the handful of projects that were successful for acknowledging what was wrong with the first ideas. “Measure by progress,” she said, “not by comparison... we all can have a piece of the creativity pie.” We all start at the same point; Celebrate and learn from your first drafts; Look at your old work and move on. In a day and age of easily accessible sites and work it has been a welcomed daily reminder.


I didn't realize that often I gave the answer "I'm busy" to the question of how I was doing until Kathleen Shannon pointed it out in her talk about shelving fear. "Busy is not an answer" she gently reminded us,  and continued on to remind us not to become so busy "you forget to live a life."  We each are human, each given gifts to share with the other humans around us. Sweet reminders of this came from speakers like Doug Bowman, who shared on finding your voice. Then there was Lee Steffen, who not so subtlety, hinted at the importance of family and life over work. He talked about not waiting for the calling or adventure, but to find the spark of life. As well, he urged us to find our voices and genuinely cultivate a life that allowed us to authentically give our gift or art and creating back to those around us.


Each speaker, in his or her own way, reminded me that they were not the sum of their projects, but rather their projects were being influenced as a production of their life being lived. Each speaker presented old ideas in a new way, and new ideas in a simple way. I could continue to go on about each speaker and the daily gems they gave me to mull over and make my own, but I highly recommend you jump over to Circles, listen and discover the gems you need to hear for yourself.