Design Thinking

#seanwes2016 – THINK BIGGER

The minuet I landed I called my hotel to let them know they could send a driver to pick me up from the airport. As I scurried my way through the terminals to find “Delta” airlines for pick up service, my driver calls me back,

” Yes, I’ve been waiting ten minuets now, I have to move. I have a ticket I – I can’t stay on the premises,”.


I look at my phone in disbelief.

The time is 11:53 pm.

Welcome to Austin, Texas.

This past weekend I attended the #seanwes2016 conference in Austin, Texas. I thought my experience was starting off in the wrong direction. Being left behind at the airport with no driver to my hotel late at night put my mind in a panic.

Salt water welled up in my tear ducks and  was ready to fall with a blink.

But then I remembered the Community Talk app. I logged in, expressed my frustrations and Aaron Dowd, also known as the podcast dude, came to my rescue by letting me know to download an app so I can catch a ride back to my hotel.

My driver asked me what I was doing in Texas, and I explained my situation. He stopped the meter and told me he wanted me to have a great experience since it was my first time in Austin. I thanked him and let him know he didn’t have to do that, and he extended his services and let me know that if I needed a ride at any point during my visit, I could reach out to him.

This experience is off to a great start.

Thursday Morning I spoke with two ladies and within thirty minutes of speaking with them I knew my trip to Austin was well worth it. They helped me gain clarity in what I was seeking.

Throughout the conference everyone kept asking me what I was working on or what I was struggling with. It aligned with what Sean McCabe said,

Establish and communicate a vision that you have. Communicate it a lot. Communicate it over and over and over again to the people you want to empower. And the way that you know you’ve communicated it effectively is when you hear your vision come out of their mouths.

So, establish  a vision and communicate it, then empower qualified professional people, and finally trust the process.

I had to repeat over and over and over again of what my goal is in the next year. Each time I did, I gained more clarity on how to effectively communicate what it is that I am seeking, and how I am trying to get there. In return people gave me feed back on how to improve.

I also have a few take aways:

“Delight is in the details.

Give yourself permission to stink.

You don’t need permission.

If you feel like an imposter you’re on the right track.

There are many people with similar interests. Your sincerity and generosity is what will set you apart. “

– Shaun Blanc

Kati Hunt also gave a talk. Katie went out of her way to come and thank me for asking a question. That blew my mind – who does that! It made me feel super important. Thank you Katie! Take aways from her talk:

  1. Connect and find the right tribe.
  2. She more than who you are and what you do.
  3. Engage – Conversations are key. Get to know people.
  4. Add Value – give more than you get.
  5. Know when to quit. Don’t stay if its not the right fit.

Find people who will challenge and inspire you.

Spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.

Kyle Adams is an Icon Designer. He shared how he struggled with calling himself an icon designer. He used to refer to himself as an icon designer and illustrator. Here’s what Kyle suggests:

  1. Curate what you share.
  2. Teach what you know.

Curation puts your expertise front and center. If you can’t explain what you do, nobody can.

Charli Prangley shares that Consistency is key to building an audience. 

What does that mean? Things are ordered and regular. Consistency makes you seem reliable and builds trust. It helps you build a loyal audience. But how?

There are 3 factors to achieve consistency

  1. Schedule
  2. Quality
  3. Topics — be consistent with what you produce so your audience knows what to expect.

Charlie gave an amazing talk and covered every excuse you could think of. And her graphics were awesome too!

“Motivation is a habit formed by working hard.” ~Charlie Prangley

Sarah Dayan is a French Hand Lettering Artist. She talked about professionalism.

What is professionalism?

“Being a professional is always taking responsibility.” – Sarah Dayan

When you decide to take on a client, you take on the responsibilities.

Nathan Barry is the founder and designer of Convert Kit. Nathan had so much humor in his talk. Originally he was going to talk about email marketing and decided to change his topic. Key take aways from his talk:

Pursue People.

If you want to sell art you have to tell stories. 

What ever goes wrong is fixable.

Ben Toalson talked about balance. His talk actually made me think critically.

He told us to:

  • Stop feeling guilty
  • Stop making excuses
  • Think differently about balance
  • Be happier and more fulfilled

Nobody can look at your life from the outside and know what’s going on inside. Only you can define the quality of your life balance and how you’re working toward your goals. Cultural ideas of balance can’t be imposed on you.

Balance is a byproduct, not the goal.

Sean McCabe

Sean’s talk made me want to cry. Here’s the recap:

The world needs you to want more for them.

Every single person in the room is a world-changer and a movement maker. You have potential. Help people.

The world needs you to want more FOR THEM.

Take care of yourself first. Nathan Barry’s comment of “coming from a place of good enough” — you don’t need more and more and more for yourself for forever. Define what you need to be happy and provide for your family.


You need to want more for others.

You are a world changer. But you need to get a bigger vision.

The best thing to do is set a goal that’s big enough to inspire action for your immediate life. Once the bigger goal is closer and you’re able to see or feel that bigger thing is close enough to be attainable, then set a new bigger goals. Replicate those steps, as you go along.

Nobody is going to build your dream but YOU. You have to build it yourself. Think bigger. Thing beyond your own personal satisfaction. Think about more. Think about need and what the world needs you to do for them.

Think Beyond yourself. Think bigger.

Have you made it this far?

Thanks so much for hanging in there. I hope this was helpful for you. I also hope to see you at the conference next year. Are you wondering what’s my think bigger? At this point I am at, “set a goal that’s big enough to inspire action for your immediate life.” That’s writing everyday, documenting my story, my journey to IDEO.

Want to follow along? Have questions to ask about my journey?

Fill in the contact form below to stay up to date, or send me a question about my journey!

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