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How to Balance Professional Growth and Personal Development

In 2010, I began documenting the most inspiring in women my life. Many of these women are mothers and teachers. The first photographs I created were of my own mother, aunt and grandmother – all teachers and mothers. This image was made in Brooklyn on Mother’s Day.

“The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.” – Milton Glaser

I believe creating a balance of professional growth and personal development is the key to success. Few creative professionals embody these values like Milton Glaser. Watch this to find out why:

As I described in my last article, art is work and there are very few shortcuts to excellence. Milton Glaser spent decades fine-tuning his craft socially (for friends in his neighborhood), through formal education (High School for the Arts, Cooper Union and Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna) and through personal projects. These skills empowered him with the will, desire and persistence to co-found New York Magazine in 1968. As one of the nation’s first “lifestyle magazines,” New York magazine reported on the culture, politics and style of New York City.

Great Communication Begins with the Heart

In 1974, Glaser founded his design studio, Milton Glaser Inc. By 1977, the New York State Tourism Department invited him to create the “I heart New York” logo. The marketing firm and tourism board budgeted the campaign to last a few months and Glaser agreed to produce the logo pro- bono. Surprisingly, the logo was such a hit that merchandisers began using it on T-Shirts, souvenirs and other travel keepsakes. This increased Glaser’s credibility as a trusted resource for graphic design.

Embracing Challenges

Stories of hardship and challenge punctuate Glaser’s great successes. In 1976, New York magazine was acquired by Rupert Murdoch in a hostile takeover. Shortly afterward, Glaser and his partner were forced out of their own publication. Although most of us will never experience the pressure that great innovators endure, we all know the feeling of being “stuck.” Personally, I think that moments of “stuckness” are a healthy warning of imbalance.

Are you feeling “stuck?” Consider these questions:

  • How often do I unplug from work and technology to reflect or enjoy nature (yes, that means no TV, phone, internet or screens)?
  • Do you need a “real” vacation (greater than 10 days) with family or friends?
  • Is it time to start a personal project?

Striking a balance between professional growth and personal development requires self love. 

This choice is yours alone to define, explore and share. Whatever you choose, be patient with yourself and others. Everyone changes…when they are ready.

To help others like us who are ready for change, please share some personal practices that allow you to balance professional growth and personal development.

About Parris Whittingham

A born New Yorker, Parris is inspired by the soulfulness, wisdom and love of his mother and grandmother.

He leads a passionate team of storytellers & craftspeople to boldly explore remarkable love storiesFollow his musings on twitterExplore the TEDxTalk.

Bio photo by Jessica Lehrman

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!