January 1, 2017

Our Challenges Shape Who We Become

Sweating Through Your Blazer, and Other Lessons from Inside the Creative Industry. A talk by Mike Spakowski.

We’ve all experienced moments in life that force us to question who we are. It is during these enduring challenges when we question whether we should continue or give up. Mike Spakowski, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Atomic Dust, describes the moment we choose to continue as the “leap of faith” that we take as the catalyst to creating better work and professional growth.

The Talk

Since the beginning of Atomic Dust, Spakowski has been feeling around in the dark. He started his company as a simple team of graphic designers and he never fully understood how to operate as an agency. In fact, many agencies made him think there were never any obstacles to overcome; people within the industry made work seem picture perfect, day in and day out.

Spakowski realized that, if this was going to work, he needed to appreciate the journey no matter how challenging. He found that if he simply changed his way of thinking the challenges became opportunities to learn. Mike shifted his mentality to constantly remind himself that his “worst day was someone’s dream day.” It was his appreciation for the 15-year journey of creating and running Atomic Dust, with all the ups and downs, that shaped him into the person he is today.

Beyond learning how to run and operate a marketing agency, he’s picked up a few more titles along the way: father, husband, business partner, and a generally enthusiastic guy. In each of these roles, Spakowski applied his same way of thinking and made even the smallest challenges shape him into a better husband, business owner, graphic designer, and father.

Our Thoughts

We can learn a lot from Spakowski’s approach and way of thinking. The big takeaway is, just when you feel like you are in over your head, choose to keep moving. It is with deciding to tackle unknown and often intimidating obstacles that garner invaluable opportunities for growth.

So, the next time we find ourselves “sweating through our blazers” with the pressures from our jobs and in our personal lives, let’s reflect on Mike’s talk, shift our mentality, and tackle those challenges. Because it is that “leap of faith” in yourself that shapes you into who you are destined to be.