Leadership Series: Don’t Lose Sight of Your Vision

Last week, I went to a sip and paint class. It’s an interesting concept—you get to be a little creative, unleash your inner artist and drink wine in the process. In other words, my type of activity!

The teacher began the class with an announcement: “We’ll be painting a cityscape of Charlotte.”

I had predicted this was going to be our artistic subject, so I was feeling pretty pumped.

We started by painting a blue sky with long, large strokes with a big, wide brush. Easy peasy. My sky was lookin’ good. Then, we added some clouds and some hills in the background… and then we got to the black silhouettes of the buildings that give Charlotte its iconic skyline.

I hesitated. I didn’t know how to paint buildings? I was looking outside the window at the actual city of Charlotte, staring at the big Queen City Tower (that’s what I call it, at least—most people know it as the Bank of America building). I got discouraged and started telling myself, “I can’t draw that. I’m not an artist. This is hard.”

Still, I continued. But my outlook on the project was no longer a positive one. I just knew it was going to turn out to be a hot mess.

And guess what? My cityscape of Charlotte definitely didn’t end up looking like the cityscape of Charlotte. It turned out horribly disappointing. Picture proof:

sip and paint

The Taj Mahal? A Gatorade bottle? What is that?

And that’s when it hit me. Halfway through the process, I gave up. I told myself I sucked, and the work I produced showed it. In so many situations in life, we tell ourselves this same story over and over again. We make ourselves believe we aren’t good at something, and we give up.

So, we try less. We become unmotivated. We fail. Why? Because we’re afraid something isn’t going to turn out the way we want it to.

Newsflash: everything can’t always turn out exactly the way we expect. But we can most definitely have a massive influence in shaping the eventual finished product, and it all depends on mindset.

It starts with a vision. What do you see yourself doing? Then it comes down to actually working to make that vision a reality—which means you have to believe you can do it.

When I look back at my life and career so far, this idea holds true. Since graduation day, I knew I wanted to work in marketing, and I knew I needed experience. You can’t just wake up and expect to lead a department or be the best at something without putting in the time and effort to get there.

So, I did everything I could to assimilate myself into all the different facets of marketing—product development, branding, social media, sales and marketing alignment, lead generation. I wanted to be an expert, so I had to seek out the opportunities to learn and develop.

Along the way, I’ve gotten stuck countless times. Or felt unmotivated. Or received criticism that made me feel sour and unproductive. Those obstacles will always be there—but, at the end of the day, I always look back at my vision.

To be an expert in your field—or to hit any goal, really—you have to be able to handle hurdles. You have to stay positive. And you have to want it bad enough to keep going.

Looking back at my painting debacle, I would have approached it differently. I would have taken the vision that was right in front of me and seen it out. I would have focused and tried harder, and my picture would have looked a hell of a lot better.


Jamie-CircleAbout the Author | Jamie Pitzen
Jamie is a Colorado native who moved to Charlotte in 2016. She attended Loyola University New Orleans and graduated with a BA in mass communication and a minor in sociology. Before Townsquare Interactive, Jamie worked on the brand management team at the Richards Group in Dallas, TX, joined the marketing team at Billtrust in Denver, CO and worked as an account manager at a local brand and creative agency in Hollister, CA.

Jamie enjoys food, wine and travel. Her favorite restaurant in Charlotte is Stagioni—but that’s bound to change! Stags’ Leap in Napa, CA (not to be confused with Stag’s Leap) tops her list of favorite wineries, and the next destination on her bucket list is the either the Maldives or Greece.