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Design Events: MoxieCon 2013

It’s late for me and it’s been a long day, but I feel as though I must get this out while it is still fresh in my mind. Today was Moxiecon, a one day conference meant to empower and equip creatives with tools on how to pursue their dreams, and be successful doing it, or as Rob¬†Loukotk said, “and not die.”

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I had no idea what to expect, having never heard of Moxiecon before and was only hoping to gain a few new nuggets of information, but I walked out of it with so much more.. I walked out moved and inspired, as if the low burning flame in my drive has been turned up to a roaring fire. I. Am. Empowered.

I truly wish that I could play the day over again like a movie in my head, and just absorb it all. Even now only hours after, what was said is beginning to fade and all that is left is just the basic idea: Get out of your “job” and go find a “calling”. I want to memorize every humorous line, (because there were many,) and really let the inspiring words wash over me and sink in deep, permeating this rough exterior of bitter resentment and resigned apathy towards my current employment situation.

The first three speakers resonated with me the most (admittedly I didn’t stay the whole time). Most speakers started out with a personal anecdote about how they got where they are today. What surprised me was how personal some of them got and how every path was different.

Jen Meyers shared her experiences and struggles of trying to become a female developer in a male dominated field, which lead to her starting Develop It Girl, a company that provides web design and programming classes, not only empowering a new generation of female developers, but providing that support network that she never had.

I found Max Shapiro’s story fascinating about how much of an influence his father, a conceptual photographer, had on his attitude toward the role photography plays in driving a concept. His strategy point-of-view was very exciting for me since I love research, and I knew then that I want to be in a place that values good strategy and brilliant concepts that truly make a difference and reach the goals of the client.

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Truly, the one speaker that I think touched us all was Elle Luna. From the very beginning of the high praise in her introduction by AIGA Chicago President Sarah Frisk, to Elle’s last tearful words, she had me entranced. Elle’s story is amazing. She told us about how she left not one, but two dream jobs to open an art studio and pursue painting. The only rationale she could give us was that she had to do her best work all the time. So she took a leap off of a metaphorical cliff, purchased an empty studio and a ton of paint and just started painting. She explained that once you are no longer afraid, then you open yourself up to your true calling.

It wasn’t just what she said, but how she said it. Elle is an amazing speaker, she speaks from the heart and every word felt as though it was just for me. She has this positive, free-spirit vibe about her, and I just wish I could carry her attitude around with me in a bottle and open it up on those days when I feel most uninspired and discouraged.

Elle’s message was really boiled down to one thing, a piece of advice she had from a colleague. She said “…to do what you must. Do that thing that you burn for, that calls to you. Don’t settle for a job, strive for your calling.”

I can’t explain it, but something about what Elle and Jen, and later Rob Loukotka said about taking that leap has really awakened something inside me. These last 8 months since we moved, I’ve been settling out of necessity. I’ve put my dreams aside for the time being while Jeremy goes to grad school and I WANTED to so that we both could move forward together. I have no resentment about it, but it doesn’t dissipate the daily frustrations that I know I could do better.

So today I’m making a promise to myself. I promise to do little things to work toward my dream. I may not be able to quit my day job just yet , but as long as I know, without a doubt that this is just a day job and that what I truly love to do is work on identities, make stationery, and work on personal projects, then I know I’ll be ok.