Being able to blend work and travel is one of my greatest enjoyments in life. For me, it’s the perfect way to combine purpose with perspective.
My latest adventure finds me preparing for a presentation in beautiful and historic Barcelona. No trip to this Spanish port city would be complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia, a nineteenth-century temple that came from the brilliant mind of architect Antoni Gaudi, a man who revised the blended style of Gothic and Muslim architecture and used recycled tiles and materials to create mosaics throughout many of his structures.
Gaudi’s contributions to not only the building of the temple, which he spent more than 40 years working on but also to his craft are nothing short of spectacular. His thinking and his work still inspire today. Millions line up annually to take photos and tours of the structure that he was so dedicated to. In fact, Gaudi was so committed to this project that, for the last ten years of his life, he did not take on any other major projects so he could focus exclusively on the Sagrada Familia.
Inspiration, focus, commitment, adaptability. Sound familiar? They should. They’re hallmarks of business owners, entrepreneurs, and “big picture” thinkers the world over. Like Antoni Gaudi, we all want to create great work and leave a legacy. While I personally don’t have the answer to how you will do it, there are three ingredients that I’ve observed that are usually needed for it to happen.
1. People in power that believe in you.
Whether it’s your superiors in a corporate structure or clients or even outside acquaintances, we all need people in power to believe in our abilities and give us the opportunities to do our work. Very early in Gaudi’s career, he became friends with a wealthy industrialist – Eusebi Guell i Bacigalupi – who commissioned many of Gaudi’s projects and most likely persuaded the city and officials to allow the work to take place in the city. If you don’t have a champion in your corner – find one quickly.
2. Draw upon your own blended experiences.
Most inspiration comes from other people’s work but what experiences, ideas, and talents do you have that you can draw from? Gaudi’s parents were boilermakers and bent metal. He was a devoted Catholic with deep religious ideals and his sickly childhood forced him to spend more time drawing and observing nature. Gaudi blended those experiences with new architecture forms he was taught in school. What are your experiences that you can blend into your work to create something unique? Your life and abilities are unique to you and these are the things that set you apart.
3. Find projects where you can Wow.
Not many of us will be given projects where we can inspire. There are budget constraints, someone else’s vision to contend with, predestined brands to work within and so on. This is normal. The main idea is to be constantly writing down or capturing the ideas and thoughts you have so that you can be prepared when that opportunity presents itself. Or better yet, start a side project yourself where you control the outcome and use it to build your own professional portfolio of work that matters to you.
Imagine the world we would have if everyone applied themselves to creating great work. It would make for a richer, more inspiring life. (And it would also give tourists an infinite number of options for selfies.)
Have a great day!