I recently read Carrie McCarthy & Danielle Laporte’s book, Style Statement. It’s an inspirational workbook of sorts, written to help a person delve a little deeper than what a personal brand would cover. A personal brand is all about how others perceive you. Instead, this book is about defining the essence of the reader, which they can then use as a compass to design the life they really want to be living.
They do this by asking the reader to finish a series of sentences, pick out the themes, and eventually use those themes to choose two words that sum up their essence and how they express it. The first word is the foundation and represents 80% of the individual. The second word is the creative edge that sets them apart from the rest.
Interestingly enough, I was already pretty in tune with what I wanted out of life. But lately I’m really trying to narrow down my ideas into concrete words to be able to talk about them with others, so I went ahead and did the exercises. I struggled a bit narrowing down three words (creative, designed, elemental) into two and even more in trying to figure out what my foundation is and what my creative edge is. I’m still not sure I’ve struck the balance. But this is what I’ve chosen:
I think I’ve learned to design through formal training, research and personal exploration, but I’ve always been innately creative. I NEED to make things, create, talk about ideas. Elemental’s a bit tricker to describe, but it’s more about figuring out how things work. Even now as I’m writing this I wonder if I should switch the 80/20 around. I’ll leave you with the description of each word that I found in the book, and ask you to leave comments as to which way you think I should arrange my words.
Creative is a life-affirming explorer. Gifted with fantastic imaginations, create will seek out originality, unique people and experiences, abstract thinking, and fantastical whimsical notions. Small-mindedness and regulation deeply pains create. Resourceful, determined, and passionate, they can find a way through any circumstance. Naturally flexible and positively capable of reinventing themselves and turning situations around, they tend to be comfortable with change. Fully expressed, creative is a powerful force that can inspire people to change for the better or to shift directions. They are highly sensitive to their surroundings and for better or worse, can be sponges for emotions and information. They feel most useful when they are being inspired or inspiring others. They live to express themselves in their own way. On a dark day, they feel disconnected from their source of inspiration – whether it be material or immaterial, earthly or divine – adrift or on the outside of things. In the best of times, creative feels a deep sense of harmony and synchronicity with positive forces that keep life moving forward. Creative endeavours to respect others’ forms of expression and can be very tolerant.
Elemental is interested in the underlying forces of life: what inspires and moves people, the miracle and majesty of nature, the machinations of science and engineering, the mysteries of the universe. They love to unearth the guiding theme or architecture of things, and if answers and origins can’t be found, they will devise their own theories and stories. Fantastical, ethereal, gossamer, fluid and having a mischievous sense of humour, elemental is a dreamer who loves to bring the magical into everyday life. They often find themselves at the intersection of art and science. They are incredibly adept at juggling logic and faith, gentleness and passion, fluidity and force. They can easily go off on tangents and may become untethered from practicalities. Balance is critical to their success on all levels. They love to roam and explore, so they usually feel at home wherever they are. They relish good conversation about the divine, physics, psychology and cultural tides. They are philosophers at heart and need creative outlets to wonder aloud and express their perceptions of the world.