In architecture, stability means everything and nothing at the same time. Every structure must be stable — in fact it’s the most important feature of any design — but if the best compliment you can give a building is that it’s “stable,” chances are it’s pretty unremarkable.
This is the same guiding principle I’ve used, time and time again, to inform my personal and professional decisions. I cherish stability, but it’s a basic prerequisite rather than an achievement to be content with.
I’d just finished helping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seek re-election when I decided to leave my position in politics. This may sound counterintuitive, but there was never a moment I was more excited about this decision than when I was at the top of my game, an in-demand creative who’d just used my knack for storytelling to conceptualize and execute creative campaigns that had successfully resonated with millions. But after 5 years in politics, working at the grassroots, provincial, and federal levels, I’d maneuvered around every obstacle that was put in my path. I was ready for a new challenge — one where I could put my passion for creative branding in the driver’s seat and begin a new journey.
Whether it’s the summers I spent painting houses as a teen, or my work with the Prime Minister (or the numerous other positions I held along the way), I consistently make it a point to approach every new experience with this intention. I jump in fully, soak up all the wisdom there is to learn, and let my creativity redefine my limitations at every opportunity.
Take it from me, a person who specializes in rebranding things: the word “comfort” is just a positive spin on the word “complacency.”
I haven’t spent my entire life escaping my comfort zone just to hoard knowledge and experiences for my own personal benefit. From the time I spent in high school, organizing famine relief efforts with The Red Cross, to my work with encouraging increased votership among underserved ethnic communities, I’ve always understood the importance of being a contributing member within my community.
It’s this same impulse that drives me to position myself as a mentor. In the moments I’m able to help others attain the same fulfilment through their work that I’m able to attain through mine — through networking, mentoring, thought leadership, etc. — it validates every step I’ve taken along my journey that has led me to this point.
In 2015, myself and a small team of creatives launched the digital marketing firm Wooden Panda to fend off this feeling of complacency indefinitely. As the head creative strategist, it’s my job to understand and overcome the branding challenges of clients across diverse sectors, so I’m never confronted with the opportunity to stop growing. I constantly mine the world around me for inspiration and then I go to work, devising inventive ways to leverage new and existing media to craft stunning campaigns that tell the stories my clients don’t even know they want to share yet.