This past week I had the unfortunate privilege of digging out my own septic tank by hand. Yes, in the middle of a hot humid north Georgia summer I was literally shoveling shit. This gave me plenty of occasion to think about everything, including what it is we do at Set in Stone (because the last thing I wanted to do was think about what I was actually doing). All of us here at SIS are here because we love to make things. We love working with our hands. We love the act of design. We love the problem solving. What I realized was that all of these are personal reasons and are very distinct from why we are here as a company, as Set in Stone. Some years ago I worked with an incredible craftsman who’s rally cry was, “Let’s go make dreams come true.” And he was right. We were not being paid to be creative or “to be makers” as we often like to think; we were being paid to bring other people’s dreams, desires and needs into reality. Our precious creativity and skills just made us capable to do our job which is to serve others.
Starting out most makers and creatives mistakenly think they are being paid to be creative, maybe even self expressive. But if we are to survive professionally as creatives we have to realize that our work is not about us at all. It is all about the client; their dreams and needs. We have to press our creative spirit and skills into the service of others; not the other way around. This can be a challenging realization for the budding creative, but this is the characteristic that most distinguishes the mature from the sophomoric.
I imagine most professional creatives move through a self indulgent stage and that can be very difficult. You are constantly putting your work/heart out there and for the most part there is not much response; because it is so self indulgent. But as difficult as this phase is, it is an important one. This is when you are driven to push your skills and not settle. And a lot of growth happens here, even though you are not getting the attention you feel you deserve. (This is also the place that we begin to form our own unique point of view.) However, at some point we must come to realize that most likely no one gives a shit about what we want to do, only what we can do; specifically FOR THEM. This is not bad. The world does not revolve around us, nor should it. So what are we to do? Let’s own this place of serving others; making their dreams come true. Let us determine to offer the best damn service we can; our egos put on hold for a while. Who can serve the world better than creative makers/designers? Let us see this as the place of privilege it is. We can have a very concrete affect on the lives we are involved in; so let’s make it a good one.
So we are not actually in the decorative concrete industry at all. We are in the service industry. We are in the “Making Dreams Come True” industry.
Here’s a video that isn’t exactly on topic, but is good none the less.