“I don’t like it when people tell me no.”
I forget now where or how exactly I came upon Coffee With An Architect. But, I don’t think I have come across a more intriguing hook than “designing glass underpants”.
Jody Brown discusses the need to be able to explain your design vision clearly. He uses the example of Bavarian town Isny vetoing what might have been a monumental addition to their town’s architecture to demonstrate his point. Isny said no to Peter Sumthor’s vision because they had no clear idea of what they would be getting. That is, they didn’t share the architect’s vision. And so, they said no to it. And nicknamed it “The Glass Underpants”.
And I think that is true of life as well.
I remember M once telling me, “I can’t get how difficult it is for you to communicate with your family, given how articuate you are.” And she was right. Given all my passions and my belief I was right about my choices, I have always had a hard time explaining my perspective to my family. Even now, being able to articulate my point-of-view usually ends in terse acknowledgement, rarely acceptance. Of course, I have also said before that waiting for permission is ridiculous, but that isn’t what I want it to be about - I just want others to see what I see.
When you create your vision and see it rising out of the ether, it’s one thing to build it on your own - this works if you are a sculptor or an artist, working alone. But what happens when there are other stakeholders? You need these people to make your vision come true. They could be your financiers, your investors, your company, or even your own staff/team. They could be your friends or colleagues, your family or your peers depending on what your vision entails.
Of course there’s only so much explaining one can do. Sharing your vision is hard, but you owe it to yourself. Getting some support on your side is half the battle won, in this day and age. Or you should be prepared to go it alone. Which doesn’t really work too well in collaborative projects or social relationships, really.
The take-away: if you are unable to clearly funnel your passion into explaining your vision to a stakeholder in a manner that it answers all their doubts and clarifies their perception, your work isn’t done.