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Tina Roth Eisenberg: Why Confronting Deep Fears Is The Key To Creativity

Tina Roth Eisenberg: Why Confronting Deep Fears Is The Key To Creativity
Design

Founder of swissmiss describes why a sense of daring is the only tool young creatives need.

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 26 december 2013

Why Confronting Deep Fears Is The Key To Creativity

Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote
Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote
Tina Roth Eisenberg solves her life problems by starting businesses. “I consider myself an accidental business person, because all of the projects I’ve started, even my blog, were personal projects or things that I wanted to fix. They never started out with the goal of becoming full fledged businesses.”The designer is perhaps best-known for her blog, swissmiss, created in 2005, which functions as a digital archive of all the things she loves, finds interesting, and is inspired by. In addition, she founded and runs CreativeMornings a monthly gathering of people in creative communities that now takes place in 60 cities worldwide, TeuxDeux a design conscious daily to-do app, Tattly an online temporary tattoo shop, and her coworking space, Studiomates.

“My most dreaded question is ‘What do you do?’ Then depending on the person and the situation, I pick one thing. Because I completely overwhelm people with it all.”

Roth Eisenberg, who is also the mother of two, attributes her major business decisions to her pregnancies. “Whenever I get pregnant, I just start thinking about where am I in my life, it’s like this milestone where you have to stop bullshitting yourself, you have to really address the things you want to do.”

“When I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided to open my own studio, but realized I didn’t want to work alone at home, so I started StudioMates to find the ideal co working scenario. Shortly after, because I had the space, I started Creative Mornings, sort of as a direct response to the conference world, which I was frustrated with.”

Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote
Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote

“When I was pregnant with my son, I decided I didn’t want to have clients anymore and I went on a one year client sabbatical. In that time, I started Tattly. Somewhere in there I also created the TeuxDeux app.”

“I don’t know if I have the gene for just getting it done and not overthinking things, but if you fail, then move on. At the end of the day, you will regret not having done it, or at least trying it.”

Even though Roth Eisenberg has no trouble coming up with ideas on her own, she believes emphatically in the power of collaboration, and the inspiration that can come from incorporating someone else’s strengths into your own.

“I’m good at starting things and having the vision for where they should go, but when it comes to the details, that’s not my strength, that’s where my amazing team comes in.”

“So many good things have come out of collaborating. Just the amount you learn from each other and the things you can build when you find likeminded people with complimenting skills. The TeuxDeux app came out of a conversation over lunch. The next day I designed it and two days later we had a working prototype, which has since been turned into a business. Life is all about the people you meet and what you make with them.”

The impetus to create something can come from almost anywhere, Roth Eisenberg asserts. Yet, she confides that her pet peeve is the question, What inspires you? “I think inspiration comes from being aware of even the most mundane things, like how a teabag seeps into the napkin you just placed it on. You might see a pattern, or just beauty in it, and that gives you an idea. If you narrow it down, it’s life. It’s being a curious person. That, in the end, is all the inspiration you need.”

The idea of work and life being one and the same is a crucial tenet for Roth Eisenberg. “If I’m aiming to do one thing, it’s to have one set of values that I can apply both at work and at home, because at the end of the day, work and home—you’re just being you.”
Self-knowledge is at the heart of Roth Eisenberg’s creative process. “Creativity, to me, means not shying away,” she comments. “I have this personal rule, if I’m afraid of something, I really need to do it, because that means that I will learn a lot from it. That’s what I live for. I live for that feeling that I’ve dared, I’ve tried something new, and I’ve learned something new.”

“These days, people crave, more than ever, something that feels really authentic and is being done for the right reasons. I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize why they respond to something. It’s just this sort of a gut feeling, like ‘This feels right. I want to be part of that.'”

This sense of daring is an essential factor to achieving the goal of living “a creatively courageous life” that Roth Eisenberg knows takes a lot of guts. This instinctual element is one that Roth Eisenberg is trying to pass on.

“I want to instill creative confidence in my kids. When I see them question things that have been done before or break rules and put their own personality on top of things, that’s when I think they’re being creative.”

“I am actively trying to teach my children to listen to their gut. I feel like it’s something that we’re not trusting anymore.” Trust, for Roth Eisenberg, is the crucial factor, alongside courage and instinct that combine together to achieve a successful and fulfilling creative life.

Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote
Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote
Tina Roth Eisenberg Quote

“I have an incredible trust that things will work out. If I lose that, they won’t. I think that trust is one of the biggest, most important things you need when living a creative, courageous life, because at the end of the day, you have to believe that things will work out in some way. It might not be the way that you planned, but something else will come in its place.”

Roth Eisenberg is adamant about having faith in yourself, but also being able to place that faith in others to give them a reason to create, and a challenge to rise to. “Whenever I put complete trust in people, it breeds magic. That is like one of the biggest epiphanies I’ve had as an employer.”
It is clear that Roth Eisenberg thinks very carefully about the lessons she teaches by living her life in a specific way. “If you look at all of the projects I’ve done, they’re very much an extension of my values,” she says. “I think a lot about how I do things in my life: being a mom, being an employer. I have really high moral standards.”
However, this gravity does not prevent her from imbuing joy into these lessons as she lives and teaches them. “One thing that I believe in is playfulness at work, or in life. We have a drawer in the office that is just completely full of confetti. It’s the perfect analogy for what I’m talking about. I feel like it is such an important part of a work environment, that you love going in everyday.”
The positivity and joy characterized by the confetti drawer symbolizes Roth Eisenberg’s main guiding principle. “I think my biggest life lesson is that generosity always pays off; generosity of spirit, attention or time.”

“I love to celebrate other people’s work, especially people that are just starting out. There’s nothing better than when I get emails from people saying, ‘Your blog post did it. I was able to quit my job.’ That’s my currency of happiness.”

Tina Roth Eisenberg // Swiss Miss

Images by Catalina Kulczar

Explore the image gallery inspired by the conversation with Tina on Moodboard by iStock.

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