With his book, that is :)
Let me start with a follow up note: I’ve persevered with the Happier App, and I’m happy to say that it’s improved the attitudinal quality of my days. There really is something helpful about how now, as I flip across all my email accounts and Twitter/FB/etc. on my phone, there’s this orange app in the mix prompting me to ask, “What is making me happier right now?” In a life where my brain often feels like a yard sale of unrelated random ideas and plans, this creates a much-needed “pause” button, along with a little archive of happy moments I can scroll through later. Life moves so fast, I forget the little cool things that catch my fancy or delight me. I’m appreciating this chance to create this world.
One of the things that is making me happier right now is Tim Gunn. I’m inspired by his existence – how he has carved out a very distinct personality using building blocks that are GOOD rather than GLAM: integrity, politeness, believing in people’s talents and encouraging them, and also bringing tough love when necessary.
I just started reading his book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work. A few pages in, I was surprised to learn that the genesis of his “Make it work!” tag line is his belief that scrapping a project and starting over is rarely a good idea. He believes more is gained by sticking with what you have and rearranging/reconceptualizing/re-envisioning. He says this is a much smarter way to develop creatively, because learning to “make it work” is so much a part of life. It’s an important muscle to develop. We can’t always just go back to Mood to buy new fabric, he points out. And there’s no way to recapture the time we’ve invested in something that isn’t where we want it to be, other than to step back, take a breath, and consider how those very same pieces can be used in a different way to create something more successful.
He says, “I like to think that my role in the fashion industry has been a bit like Project Runway‘s position among reality shows, which is a voice of simple reason. Let others be shimmery and flashy and brilliant…. I will always be there in the wings saying, ‘You need to be good to people. You need to take your work seriously. You need to have integrity. You need to work with what you’ve got.'”
For most of my life I’ve had role models – people I looked to from afar and thought, “What would so-and-so do here?” or “How would X handle this?” It’s helpful. I don’t always do what comes up, in terms of my best guess about these other people, but it’s a way of broadening my vision to look at more available options.
As I think of Tim Gunn, my question is more “What would Tim SAY right now?” and the answer is right there, spelled out above. “Make it work. Take your work seriously. Have integrity and be good to people. Work with what you’ve got.”
A lot to think about this weekend as I apply this Tim Gunn overlay to the different facets of life. I think it will be fun, and overwhelming, and GOOD. Here’s to making it work :)