Building and Strengthening Connections

Giving Your Best

Starting out as a professional branding and graphic designer, I have to be careful and skeptical about certain job offers, projects and prospective clients. I have been taught that nothing in life is free. Everyone needs to work hard to get far. And competition not only challenges you, it holds you to a standard. It can feel very lonely and cut-throat out there. But a principle that always stays in my mind is: you get what you give. If you give, you will receive - maybe not instantaneously - but life has its own way of providing what you need at the right time. All you need to do, is give your best.

To be honest, the thought of being a solopreneur or freelancer scared me. I did not think I could find opportunities to build my career as a designer and outlets for my personal interests. It definitely takes work and an open attitude. Something I learned when working in retail is that you have to create opportunities. Open the conversation, give a smile, listen and offer something of yourself and people respond to that.

There are people who will try to take advantage of you and take your time and efforts without anything in return. But do not let that deter you or close you off to other possibilities and upcoming opportunities just around the corner. I have experienced, the more times you knock, the more doors open. Stay positive, always uphold your standards and work ethic and do your best. The worst that can happen is that you do not get the project or they say no. But remember, the right people for you will say yes.


Personal Outlets and Rewards

I like to give to others, because I like seeing people happy - whether it is encouraging a co-worker, an appreciative client satisfied with a design or listening to a good friend. When I worked in retail as a sales associate I made a great connection while conversing with a customer. We spoke about volunteering in the community. It turned out she was a programs manager for an organization that helps immigrant families and refugees new to Canada. We spoke more and stayed in contact. It was almost a year before we made a contract for a design project. I wanted to learn more about the organization and took part in one of the programs for kids.

I found myself enjoying my time with the children. Giving your time and energy for kids is tiring, but also rewarding. They open up to you, practice their English with you and learn. In turn, you learn about yourself and how you react in stressful and fast-pace situations. At times, I feel like I am back to my retail and sales days. But I give my time to be there, because I simply love being there with the other volunteers and children. It is extraordinary when what you give, gives back more than you expected.


An Offer No One Can Refuse

Connections can happen anywhere when you want them to or not. There are people who are out to get whatever they can get. They say nice guys finish last. But the givers of the world bring value to their connections - goodness, trust and authenticity. I like to give because it makes people happy and in turn I connect with people I am happy to be with. ■

Patricia Atienza