Lessons Learned: Tom Ford’s Parallel Career as Designer & Director

Stories about people doing things they have never done before, always inspire me. Yesterday on Oprah, Tom Ford talked about his directorial debut, A Single Man. When Ford left Gucci, he realized the material side of the world had pulled him away from his spiritual side. Reading A Single Man for a second time, Ford was moved by the emphasis on the importance of living in the moment, connections we have with other people and reminders of what is important in life. When asked, how he knew, he could direct, Ford shared great advice that can help you do something you have always wanted to:

  • If you want to do it, do it
  • You will be afraid of a lot of things, but don’t let your fears stop you
  • The most important thing is to have a vision and then articulate your vision clearly
  • Work with a great team of people to help you execute your vision

Are you having trouble starting something you have always wanted to do? If so try one of these three suggestions to help you move forward:

  1. If you know what you want to do, but cannot seem to start doing it: Share your idea with a friend and explain why you want to do it. Ask your friend to capture: why you want to do it, how you will feel if you do it and how you will feel if you don’t do it. Commit to one action item to move forward with your idea. Set a deadline. Ask your friend to check in with you at agreed dates along the way. Ask your friend to remind you of how you will feel, once a week or daily if you are working with a shorter time frame, until you have done it.
  2. If you have no idea what your “it” is, but you know this right now is not it: Gather clues for a week, that describe what you enjoy doing, when you are most happiest, what motivates you. At the end of the week take stock of what you have learned. Then ask yourself what is missing to help you focus on what new information you need to gather next.
  3. If you are in a holding pattern: Focus on changing your inner roadmap, which essentially guides your actions and decisions based on past experiences, by: i. Jotting down how a past experience has shaped your action(s); ii. Ask yourself “How is this experience enabling me to move forward?” and “How is this experience preventing me from moving forward?; iii. Spend some time thinking about your answers and identify one new behavior or thought you can practice straightaway.

Each step you take enables you to learn from your actions and then take another step. Each step makes you feel a little bit more confident and you will realize while you may still feel afraid, each step is helping you to overcome your fears.  If you need help figuring out your first step, drop me a line using the comments section below.

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