"We really limit ourselves in the way we think about ourselves and what we're capable of."
Tina Essmaker is a Brooklyn-based writer and coach for creatives. Tina cofounded The Great Discontent, a publication of in-depth interviews with artists, makers, and risk-takers.
In 2017, Tina was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine. She also served as Chair of the 2017 AIGA Design Conference, helping to curate an unforgettable lineup of main stage speakers and gave this talk to remind us of our humanity and the importance of vulnerability and empathy in our work. In 2018, Tina was included in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.
This is one of my favorite writings by her and a line from that I love, "We are all here, for now. Our lives are falling apart and falling together every day."
If you could be rich with one thing, what would it be and why?
I would say influence—because I'd want to use that influence to share the work I do with the world, but also be able to provide opportunities for friends and my community. I have so many amazing friends who are so gifted! I want so much for them.
Me: So you want to be rich to give something?
Yes, I don't want it solely for myself. I feel like I have a message to share with the world and I want to share those gifts, but I also want my friends—and everyone—to be able to live into their own possibilities and share their gifts with the world, too.
What do you have that you think others should too and why?
Possibility, because we really limit ourselves in the way we think about ourselves and what we're capable of. It's easy for other people to see what's inside of you, to see your own potential. But we so often do not see that in ourselves. In the last year and a half of my life I’ve learned to be open to possibility and I want that for other people too.
If you could give more of one thing that you have, what would it be and why?
Time. I'd love to meet with everyone who reaches out to me, but it's not possible without burning myself out. If I could have more of anything to give, it would be time.