For Creative People, It's Dangerous to Wear Disorganization as a Badge of Honor
Don't be afraid of making decisions, says entrepreneur Scott Belsky. Decisiveness -- even when the decisions aren't the "right" ones -- is a sign of a true leader.
Top creative companies around the world also use Behance to post jobs and find talent. Millions of creative enthusiasts visit Behance sites every month to watch and follow the latest and greatest work by creative professionals across industries.
Over the years, Behance has pursued other projects to help organize and empower the careers of creative people. These include99U, Behance's think tank and annual conference devoted to execution in the creative world; and a popular line oforganizational paper products that help organize creative people and teams.
Scott is also the author of the international bestselling book Making Ideas Happen (Portfolio Imprint, Penguin Books, April, 2010).
Through his work at Behance, Scott has become an advocate for technology and community initiatives that empower creative people and help businesses leverage the creative potential of their people. He has worked with leading media and Fortune 500 companies, including GE and Facebook, and has traveled around the world to share his findings. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek, and has shared Behance's research in segments on ABC News, MSNBC, and with the United States State Department and CIA. Scott has also guest lectured at Cornell University, Harvard University, VCU Brand Center, and UC Berkeley among other institutions. In 2010, Scott was included in Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" list.
Scott actively advises and invests in businesses that cross the intersection of technology and design, and help empower people, among other criteria. He is an investor and advisor in Pinterest, Uber, Warby Parker, and Periscope as well as several others in the early stages. Scott is also an investor and Board member of sweetgreen, a values-driven locally-sourced seasonal kitchen. He also works closely with Founder Collective, Homebrew, Expa, and other early stage investment funds as a Product advisor.
Prior to founding Behance, Scott helped grow the Pine Street Leadership Development Initiative at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Scott was especially focused on organizational improvement and strengthening relationships with clients. Scott serves on the Advisory Board of Cornell University's Entrepreneurship Program and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Scott Belsky: The idea for Behance was really born out of a sense of frustration with the creative world. Here are some of the most interesting and bright people that make our life worth living and just helping us identify with what's happening around us, create the stuff that compels us to take action, to buy things, to learn and understand. Yet at the same time this is probably one of the most disorganized communities on the planet. So the idea was what if we could help organize the creative world; help connect people with each other and with opportunity and drive and build content that helps really inform and empower creative careers. So that was the genesis of Behance and really the mission hasn't changed since we started working on the company in late 2005 early 2006. Certainly the products have evolved and been refined over time, but the mission to organize and empower creative people remains the same.
The disorganization of the creative world is largely due to a few things, and this is what really frustrated us and got us inspired to build Behance. First is the fact that a lot of creative people rely on their own circumstantial Rolodex to find opportunity and they're not actively trying to connect themselves with people outside of their field and more importantly with potential clients. There's also this notion of wearing disorganization as almost a badge of honor in the creative world, where in fact some of the most productive creative people in teams actually are especially organized and find ways to really make sure that they hold themselves accountable, share ideas liberally and make their ideas happen. So Behance has always been trying to educate and help people take the reins on their own careers and also try to connect people with each other and with opportunity and promote a sense of meritocracy in the creative world. So the Behance network is almost like a LinkedIn for the creative community. It connects people based on what field they're in, who they worked with before, what clients they've worked with before and the type of work that they're doing. And then another big product of Behance is 99U, which is almost like a think tank for creative careers.
One of the things that past experiences has helped me learn is that the most important decision is – the most important thing around decisions is just to make decisions. And sometimes the worst thing you can do is always find a reason to not make a decision yet. I typically find that when you make a decision, even if it's the wrong one, the amount of data and the stuff that you learn, the benefit of that exceeds the cost of having to go back and try again. And I think that earlier on I felt a lot of pressure to always make the right decision and sometimes that would just make more time pass. And I do find that now as a leader I'm trying to push for decisiveness, push the people that I work with to make a decision even if it's not my decision to make. But listen, I mean it's hard to know – I think it's one of those things it's like watching water boil. How do you know that you're developing as a leader? I'm still learning; I'm still making mistakes; and I guess I'm a little bit more comfortable now with that process maybe than I was earlier on in my career. I think that – let me put it this way. I think my greatest accomplishment so far has really been the careers of the people around me. When I look at the businesses kind of history and I think about the past eight to ten years of building Behance and now building teams at Adobe and also working with a lot of startups as an advisor and that sort of thing, the thing that I would say I get kind of emotional about is less so the outcome of these things but the people's careers and trajectories through these experiences and kind of looking at some of these people who are now leading teams and I remember hiring them right out of college, for example. Things like that. Those are truly rewarding things. And I think as a leader you have to take the careers of the people you work with really seriously. Those are really the investments that matter in a journey. And if you can be as long-term minded as possible about the careers you're helping steward around you you'll probably have the greatest outcome.
"The most important thing around decisions is just to make decisions," explains entrepreneur Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance. In a world filled with chaotic, highly-disorganized creative people, it's important to be clear and decisive in your professional life. This means taking gambles on decisions that may or may not be the "right" one. Making a decision -- even the wrong decision -- is always better than giving in to indecision, says Belsky. Even a wrong decision elicits valuable data and feedback which can help inform your next decision.
The Visionaries series is brought to you by Big Think in collaboration with Founder Collective. In it, we profile remarkable entrepreneurs and the ideas and practices that make them great.
Credit: asiandelight/Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/msu-tsn093020.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 Michigan State University study</a> examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life. The results of this study suggested teens who have a larger number of friends in adolescent years may be less likely to suffer from depression later in life. These findings were especially prominent in women.</p><p>This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. This data asks students to select up to 5 male and 5 female friends and indicate how often they felt depressive symptoms. </p><p>MSU Sociology Assistant Professor Molly Copeland and lead author Christina Kamis (Sociology doctoral candidate at Duke University) published the study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September. </p><p><strong>Female teenagers may struggle more with depression during their teen years but show fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</strong> </p><p>For female adolescents, popularity can lead to increased depression during their teen years. However, this ultimately may lead to lasting benefits of fewer depressive symptoms later in life. "Adolescence (is) a sensitive period of early life when structural facets of social relationships can have lasting mental health consequences," Copeland wrote, adding that "compared to boys, girls face additional risks from how others view their social position in adolescence."</p><p>Throughout this study, men showed no association between popularity and depressive symptoms, however, they did show benefits from naming more friends. As for why this is, Copeland has a theory: perhaps the expectations on young girls (compared to young boys) as well as the roles that lead to popularity can create a kind of stress and strain felt more prominently by girls than boys. </p><p>While this does create more difficult teen years for young girls, the stress and strain may lead to giving these girls a psychological skillset that benefits them later in life, allowing them to deal with stressful situations more easily.</p><p>The study also suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rates of depression later on in life. </p><p><strong>Results from both men and women followed a U-shaped trajectory of depressive symptoms.</strong></p><p>The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s. This was particularly more noticeable in women, who showed a steeper decline in symptoms between the ages of 18-26, followed by a more rapid increase in symptoms in their early 30s. </p>
How to stay social while battling depression<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDMyNDY1N30.e1ULIJ5QYXh4H1SGUPUTJqYBCnX2XWp6InjPRr-2Bdw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C22%2C0%2C22&height=700" id="832fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b360bb24fb8d6025680bfffb52fd5982" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="depression support group illustration" />
Credit: Mascha Tace/Shutterstock<p>Although maintaining relationships can help you cope, it can also be one of the most difficult things to do when you're experiencing depression.</p><p>As Dr. Jennifer L. Payne (an assistant professor/co-director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore) <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tells Everyday Health</a>: "One of the common symptoms of depression is social isolation." </p><p>Payne goes on to explain that you can "soak up some energy" by simply being around other people, moving around, and staying active.</p><p><strong>Creating a daily schedule and planning activities ensures action. </strong></p><p>While it may be easy to turn down last-minute plans, it's more difficult to cancel plans you've already committed to with friends and family. While it's important not to overwhelm yourself with a packed schedule, creating a minimal daily schedule that involves seeing friends and family or doing activities that you've previously enjoyed can ensure you stay active and often makes you feel more accomplished at the end of each day. </p><p><strong>Support groups and social networking with people who understand. </strong></p><p>While depression can very easily make you feel isolated and alone, surrounding yourself with others who may be struggling with depression as well can help in multiple ways. You will have peer support from people who relate to how you're feeling plus the added benefit of being around people, which can raise your spirits. </p><p><strong>Keeping a journal (and setting goals) can help you feel accomplished. </strong></p><p>Keep a thought journal and detail certain daily or weekly goals (such as a plan to call a friend on Monday or to visit your local coffee shop for a change of scenery on Thursday). These small, achievable goals not only get you out of the house and/or interacting with others, but they also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once they are complete. </p><p><strong>Random acts of kindness, such as volunteering, will make you feel good. </strong></p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/kindness-benefits-james-doty?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1596517476" target="_self">Being kind is good for your health</a> in many different ways. Doing something nice for others can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Similar to exercise, kindness, and altruism can also release endorphins, creating a <a href="https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/#:~:text=Kindness%20releases%20feel%2Dgood%20hormones&text=Doing%20nice%20things%20for%20others,as%20a%20%E2%80%9Chelper's%20high.%E2%80%9D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">temporary sense of euphoria</a> that can help combat depressive symptoms. </p>
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