Apr 10 • 3M

Flick your identity switch

Plan Your Next #102

Nate Kadlac
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I'm Nate Kadlac, designer of Plan Your Next. A weekly newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
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👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #102 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.


💡 What’s new?

🎨 My latest: 20 unconventional design tips for non-designers. These are timeless tips you can use immediately in your design projects. What did you think I missed? Hit reply and let me know.

✍️ Drawing for Writers: Procreate 101: Have you wanted to add visuals to your own writing? Salman Ansari and I will be hosting a FREE YouTube live session where we show our process for creating visuals like the ones in my newsletter. We’re hosting it Friday, May 6th, at 11 am (PT). Sign up to be notified here.

😵‍💫 I’m experimenting with LinkedIn. Follow me here. Cringe? Maybe. It’s a strange reaction for me personally, but I’m also open to experimenting with new platforms. Even if I’ve been vocal about it in the past.


Flip the Switch
Illustration by Nate Kadlac

In November of 1982, Tony Hawk was 14 years old and about to compete in a skateboarding competition in Whittier, California.

At this point, most of his peers had already decided to turn pro.

He was considered next, but he had doubts.

Before the event, he looked at his entry form. There were two checkboxes on the form which read, “Pro or Amateur.”

Checking the box determined which category Tony would compete in.

A simple identity question is simply a state of mind.

Like you, I’ve had many identities over my life. But my distinct label has been, “designer.”

When I left my full-time role 8 months ago, I felt conflicted about who I wanted to be going forward. Am I just a designer? To me, that label felt too safe and comfortable.

I wanted to shed it, but it’s also something I identify with deeply.

Even though I had been writing for almost two years, I felt too afraid to check the ‘online writer’ box.

I also had experience teaching—and recently launched my own course—but I didn’t consider myself an instructor.

It’s easy to identify too closely with how you label yourself. It can feel like a trap—or a poorly executed marketing campaign—where the positioning is all off.

Most of the time, our income and safety are tied ridiculously close to the labels that we let define us.

Tony hesitated, but shrugged and checked “Pro.” He turned and looked back at the Bones Brigade owner and mentor Stacy Peralta, and said, “Is that ok?”

“If that’s what you want to do,” said Stacy.

At that moment, Tony Hawk turned pro. That was it. No celebration. No champagne. But a decision that would launch his career for the next 40+ years.

Maybe changing your mindset can be as simple as flipping a switch.

Inspired by Tony, I updated my own about page from being just a designer.


⚡️ Three creative hits for you to check out next

✏️ How to write irresistible copy

Copying is the best way to learn. And now my right-hand hurts. But, this new copywriting course by the couple, Sara and Sam Parr, is just that. It’s two weeks of literal copying and copy breakdowns, for $80. (No affiliation)

📈 100 Ways to slightly improve your life without even trying
I did #8 yesterday, and I wish I did #78 more often when I was working full-time.

🤣 The creative process in 43 Hayao Miyazaki screengrabs
Hayao has been storytelling for ~60 years, but he still finds the creative process daunting like all of us. This hilarious thread captures my insane process almost exactly.
(H/T) Snail Mail


👋 See you next Sunday

If you’ve forgotten who I am, here’s a little bit about me. As always, my calendar is open to chat about your next adventure, crazy idea, or if you’re feeling creatively stuck.

Have a great week,

Nate

p.s. If you enjoyed this letter, would you please let me know by tapping on the heart below?