Do you have an attachment disorder?

Karen Hitchcock photographry

Now this sign is a good idea!

I admit it. Sometimes I fall in love with my own ideas. A client or friend will ask me for a creative solution or snappy headline for a campaign and I get school-girl giddy (often embarrassingly so).  Just this past Friday, Gretchen from Firepower Design called to collaborate on a project and I didn’t have the patience to send one email at day’s end with a batch of ideas. Instead, I bombarded her  with several in succession. “You could try this.” Five minutes later, “Oh, wait, this might work too, I just thought of it!” Ten minutes later, “But wait, there’s more! How about these?”

Of course, not every idea is the winning one, but it’s fun to go through the process and let  creative passions take the driver’s seat. And while I definitely love some of the ideas and think they may work for the client, I’m careful not to get too attached. It’s dangerous; and here’s why.

If you are a creative professional (whether marketing, graphic design, web design and/or an ad person), you can’t serve your client if you are so attached to your own ideas that you fail to recognize the presence of others. If you are too attached to your own clever creations, you probably can’t fathom equally viable alternatives or suggestions. What’s more, you could be at risk of becoming territorial, possessive and even a wee bit aggressive (understatement). I’ve seen it. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s toxic!

Unfortunately, the client is the one who suffers from this ego-driven attachment disorder.

That’s why I’ve decided to get really attached to the creative process, but not the end result. This way, I can leave myself:

  • Open to collaboration with others
  • Open to learning new things, and
  • Open to constructive criticism that results in improved outcomes

There’s a scene from an Uma Thurman/Janeane Garofalo movie where Garofalo says, “you can love your cat, you just can’t looooove you’re cat.” Maybe it is the same with ideas. You can love your ideas. Just don’t looooooove your ideas, if you know what I mean.

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