Maddi Wagner FUSE day 2

Design Fearlessly: FUSE Day 2

"Design fearlessly."

Ron Burrage, the head of design at the Hershey Company, closed his presentation with the above statement. Along with design thinking and creating innovation, being fearless in design has been a part of every conversation at Fuse in one way or another.

In a Q & A session, Kitty Hart asked brand icon Martha Stewart if she was afraid of anything. "No," she replied. "I don't really have any fears."

There are many ways that I am nothing like Martha Stewart, but this is at the top of the list: I can not imagine not having any fears. The call to "be fearless" does not make any sense to my 22-year-old self. "But what if I fail?" I say. "What happens if a client hates my work? Or if one of our designs becomes the subject of a negative article? Or if we lose money?"

It's easy for all of these successful people to tell me to be fearless, I grumble. They work for Hershey! And Universal! and Facebook! They have everything figured out already!

I, however, am just learning what Watson is.

But as I have more conversations and gain more experience hearing from notable professionals, I am realizing an extremely freeing principal:

Everyone that I admire has fears. Lots of them, probably. But they move beyond fear. They embrace it, rather than let fear paralyze them.

What I tend to forget is that the road to companies like Disney, Pinterest, and Kiehl's is paved with many roadblocks. Many moments of confusion, frustration and inevitably, failure. Even Martha Stewart, one of the most iconic personal brands, has had fear at some point.

Brian Robinson, EVP of Creative, Design, and Development at Universal Pictures, shared yesterday that people admired his resiliency more than they admired acts of winning. "It's time to lose," he said. "It's time to get knocked down so you learn to fight back."

Thanks, Brian. I will.

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