Growth is optional, and I choose to grow

Brand Start

At the end of my associates degree college experience I was starting to really discover who I was, what my values were, and how my love for design integrated into my life. I was starting to see that design was pretty much the only thing I wanted to do, and growing and using this interest as a career was my deep joy. I was grateful to be continuously validating what I wanted to do in my life, but I also recognized I had a long ways to go in terms of building my confidence. I was quiet, shy, and always afraid of judgement with my work. But I wrestled with this deeply because I also knew I could do anything I set my mind to with hard work included. There wasn’t any other option. I was a hard worker, so I pressed on.

We had to create a personal brand identity in my capstone portfolio class that last year of this particular college experience. So in effort to get my confidence a bit more up-to-speed with internally knowing I had design skills, I used the power of words to psyche myself out and help build my confidence, and to hold me accountable for constantly growing. I created my personal brand and business identity around my website domain: —Because, well, I was confident that I could create. And if I didn’t know how to create it, I knew I had the skills to research and figure it out.

A screencap of my old website home page with the words "I Can Create That" titled in front view
A screencap of my most recent version of my “I Can Create That” personal brand website and portfolio.

I remember thinking of this brand idea during class, where I was sitting, what I was sketching…and this brand has grown ever since that day. I started to get out there. I challenged myself outside my comfort zone slowly but surely. I did volunteer work and eventually ongoing client work. I never had a slow time of projects.

I was always, always creating.

I was always, always growing.

The more work I did, the more I really knew I could create [that]. My confidence grew, and I am so grateful for that simple class project that launched my career brand.

Brand Change

Fast-forward about ten years of life later, I feel it’s time for a change. My work has gotten more challenging for just myself alone to do. The [I] in “I can create that” is no longer relevant. I’ve built an amazing circle of friends and colleagues, and I want to grow and work with others in [we]. And so it’s time for this season to end with the name that got me started.

You  may be thinking “how about we can create that”? I’ve thought about it, but it doesn’t feel right. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older to truly listen to your intuition when making decisions. This name isn’t it, though I love the concept.

So what is my new brand identity transitioning to?

It’s simple. My brand is just my name. I know I can create stuff, and I no longer need the name to give me or others a vote of confidence. I know myself, I know my work, and I know my name. So, my new brand is centralized around

A screencap of my new website home page with a photo of me in front view.
A screencap of my new, personal brand website and portfolio.

I can certainly critique my new brand pretty hard. I think it’s rough, messy, and still a work-in-progress; but it’s reflective of where I am now. I’m still figuring it all out. My perfectionist side cringes at this not being complete, but I can deal with that. 🙂 Life never rests in perfection.

During the past ten years, I’ve experienced so much big life stuff (I’ll probably write a book about it), but I’ve also experienced so much support in mentorship (I want to give a TED talk on this topic).—In my college coursework, my client work, my startup ventures, my random project ideas that only lived a few days or so, my volunteer work, my full-time work, my life in general—I can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t meet these influencers. Mentorship has made such an impact on me; and as I thought about “I can create that”, I thought about how I would really love to see someone like my past self create. To that aspiring designer wanting to grow but doesn’t know how, I want to say “you can create that” because I truly think they can. But when life gets hard, it’s easy to set dreams aside. If I can help that person persevere…well, that would be pretty cool to give back in that way.

Brand Future

So as you explore my new website, you’ll see many branches of work. I still do client work on the side and have spinned that off into a company called Creative Seed. I’m in a few startups that involve work in helping make the world a better place. I volunteer a lot with the most inspiring people committed to making a positive difference in communities. And lastly, I’m exploring how I can give back to that aspiring young person wanting to grow and gain confidence in their creativity.

I’ve done quite a few blogs in my life, but this site will be my central point pulling it all together. For now, I can share my experiences, and you can follow me on my blog here, receive exclusive content via my newsletter, join my Facebook page @mariagosurdesign, and find me in speaking engagements.

My list of creative activities often exhausts people when I tell them, and I always get asked what I do for fun. Some people watch tv or hang around relaxing–and that’s cool; but I just don’t do those things. I choose to create. On my evenings and late nights, my weekends, I’ll be creating and learning…because it fuels me. It drives me. It inspires me. It gets me up each day and keeps me going. And I hope my output of work inspires and makes a positive impact somewhere, to someone.

I like this creative stuff. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. I’m

P.S. – Want to know how I started off on my design journey? What key factors helped me grow? Learn my top 5 success tips for creatives by joining my email list. You’ll get access to my ebook and receive more tips and insights via email. Let’s learn, grow, and create together.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.

Keep creating.

Leave a Comment