Salam! Did you know there is a global creative team of people working to make the Ummah more awesome?
It’s easy to join, just say Bismillah and follow these steps:
1. Dream Big. Just over ten years ago I wrote a description of my ideal type of job, running a cool creative studio working on Islam-inspired brands & projects. I had recently become Muslim and was looking everywhere for cool projects that reflected the beauty & creativity of my new-found faith. Leaving some lucrative mainstream opportunities, I searched high & low for a cool Islamic design studio that would engage my passion for creativity, art & design. But I couldn’t find it. So I decided to risk it and grow my own studio, seeking out the people & projects to work for year after year. Basically I tried to create opportunities rather than accept what was presented to me. Alhumdulilah I was able to dream big and am incredibly blessed to share that, ten years later, I was able to reach that goal of my ideal job.
Consider this: The vision of my own cool Islamic creative studio was like a distant mountain. I didn’t have a path to follow, but having that mountain in the distance helped me make small decisions along the way – down through valleys and past cliffs – figuring out each time if those small obstacles took me closer to the mountain, or farther away.*
2. Invest in Your Passion. If you haven’t found it yet, try this simple exercise: If you could create your own dream job and money wasn’t an issue, what would it be? That is your passion. Use your unique blend of talents and interests that no-one else on the planet has. Now go and build your career around that. Will it be hard? Probably. Will be harder than a life of working at a boring job that doesn’t engage your true passion and talent? You’ll never know if you don’t try.
Where do I start? Start local. If your passion involves a creative talent, find friends, family and community members who value it. My first paid design project was $20 for a poster that a classmate needed in high school. Don’t give away your time too much for free (aka ‘free-sa-bi-lillah’), even a modest amount will help you to get started. Value your work first or others won’t. Get online and connect with like-hearted people and be prepared to take constructive feedback – try to find a mentor.
For every person that completes the above two steps, the Ummah becomes more awesome. Collectively, the Ummah becomes more awesome because you positively inspire everyone around you to do the same. Say Bismillah and go for it.
What is your distant mountain? How are you investing in your passion to get there?
* Mountain analogy borrowed from Neil Gaiman 🙂