I’ve been working through a change in perspective and branding for my Product Design company, Hurdler Studios.

In short, I’ve taken somewhere between a 2 & 5 year sabbatical from running my design company on all cylinders. I am sure others might call my break a mid-life crisis or even complete thermonuclear meltdown. I call it a mental health break, at least from October of 2017 until now it has been more about my mental health (or the recalibration of said mental health).

I’m not shy about sharing that I’ve been fighting with personal demons for most of my life. When I turned 45 years old, I crossed a threshold where I was suddenly older than my father was when he died. It set in motion a cataclysmic shift within me. The true direction of that shift did not become clear to me until this morning while I was walking my dog…it’s become my new version of ideas in the shower since showers seem to be optional in the post-Covid world.

How that relates to today is that I have re-branded Hurdler based on the idea of YOU. Really, meaning ME…but bear with me.

On Monday of this week, I got to take part in a Zoom Town-hall with twelve other designers from around the world. It was put on by DRIVENxDESIGN and My face was sitting next to some extremely heavy-hitters in the world of Design. It was a follow-up to a similar townhall a month prior that I allowed myself to be vulnerable in the discussion that has led to some wonderful subsequent personal interactions. Unlike the town-hall in April, I walked away from this one irritated by the discussion. It felt like a discussion about what we are all trying to do to focus on the Post-COVID world had fallen right back into the same discussions of the Pre-COVID world.

I stewed in this irritation for an hour or so as I tried to process what it was that was eating at me. Finally, I couldn’t keep it in any longer and I wrote to the Town-hall organizer, Mark Bergin. I let him know in no uncertain terms how I felt about it. He had zero reason to hold back from telling me to stuff it up my arse (he’s Australian, I’m sure he’d say arse). It might even be fair to say that I was looking to pick a fight.

He wrote back almost instantly and set up another Zoom call with me the next day. It was a doozie of a call. Mark didn’t change the secret handshake to the Design Executive Clug, nor did he tell me to pound sand. He talked with me for an hour or so. He listened to what I had to say, and very quickly changed the subject to what was really eating at me. Something that I have been afraid to face for roughly five years.

Failure.

I’m a failure. I have failed, by my estimations, catastrophically. I’m not going to debate this assessment. I’ve come to terms with it, finally, thanks to Mark.

The gift that Mark gave me, is forgiveness.

He not only provided me forgiveness for my scorching email, but he gave me permission to forgive…myself.

He dug deep over the course of our call and through some vulnerability of his own, he excavated a burden I’ve been carrying for a long time. This burden is what, effectively, put my back up in the BeyndCOVID Townhalls.

Belonging.

Even though I’ve created an award-winning design company, I never felt like I deserved it. Another term is Imposter Syndrome. I’m not going to get into it in this post, but I’ve carried this lack of belonging with me for a long ass time.

I can almost hear you saying, “So, what?”

What this means is that I’ve come out the other side, realizing that everything that I’ve done in my life that has been successful, has included a huge chunk of me. Any time I’ve tried to design for someone else, perform for someone else, create artwork for someone else…thhhhppt. It was good at best.

So, this week, I have been working on a re-branding of not only Hurdler Studios, but of me. If you’re reading this, you now know I’ve reinstated my blog. I will be writing about Hurdler, life, my book, and any other shit that comes along. I’m going to be pouring a whole lot of me into this world. The me that has been hiding in the shadows and popping out every now and then to shine a light on the creativity I keep smothered in the closet under a pile of skeletons.

So, in light of my new perspective…

You. Be you!

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