Talent and Thoughtfulness

“I may not be as talented, but I can be more thoughtful.”

I remember hearing or reading something close to this quote by Frank Chimeroa few years back, and it stuck with me ever since.

For the first few years of my career (ok, maybe the first 8 or 9?!) I was afraid that my design skills weren’t good enough. I feared not being that talented, especially when I looked around at all the other insanely talented designers.

Then I heard that quote, and I thought, “I can be thoughtful. Actually, I can be really good at being thoughtful.”

It never dawned on me that being thoughtful could actually be a supplement for talent.

So I took that spark of motivation and started intentionally being more thoughtful. I put more thought into how I presented design work, talked with clients, and how I ran my business overall. Everything I did was to be looked at through that lens—“I may not be as talented, but I can be more thoughtful.”

It then changed from being a race against others (comparing my talent to others) to a competition against myself. How thoughtful could I be in a moment, a project, or a conversation? How can I be more engaged with this client? How can I make the other person I’m talk with feel heard, accepted, and understood?

That quote was a massive help (and still is) in getting me out of my own selfish thoughts about whether or not I’m “good enough” and onto the whole reason why I do what I do in the first place. Focusing on myself and my talent will only lead to pride or fear, two very unbecoming traits. But thoughtfulness, well, it’s not only about being absorbed in thought (which is something I love to do) but also about being considerate of others.

Thoughtfulness allows me to stretch my creative thinking to its fullest capacity all while serving others.

Maybe that’s why brand strategy and getting paid to think appealed to me. I get paid to be thoughtful. Talk about a dream job!


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About the author:

Melinda Livsey is a brand strategist, designer, and educator based in sunny Southern California. She’s the founder of Marks and Maker, co-founder of Pre-lance, and co-host on the Futur. Find her hanging out on Instagram and say hello!

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