Elle Luna Inspires Creatives to Pursue Their True Calling

In her book “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” Elle Luna writes of being at her own crossroads. A successful designer with stints at the renowned Big-D design agency IDEO and at several digital startups, she found herself wondering if there wasn’t something more meaningful out there. In what little free time she had (she was working with a small technology company), she had recently rediscovered her passion for painting. She was scouting for an apartment in San Francisco that she could turn into a painting studio, a space that she’d seen in her dreams.

Conflicted, torn, unsure. (Sound familiar?) Then a friend insisted she watch Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk, the one in which he outlines the very major differences between a job, a career and a calling. Luna felt her calling — her art — well, calling. She quit her tech job and began painting and writing.

Elle Luna in studio

And she wrote “The Crossroads of Should and Must” not just to document her journey but to inspire others to consider taking their own pathways to their true calling.

‘Should,’ she writes, is what we think others expect of us, what comes easily, what leads us to what we think we need. ‘Must,’ on the other hand, reflects who we are at our cores, what speaks to us most deeply and what taps into our highest talents.

“To say yes to Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees. … Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives.”

Quitting her job led Luna to a life of art-making, to writing the book, to her 100 Days Project on The Great Discontent and to speaking engagements to groups like Creative Mornings. And she’ll be on the keynote stage at HOW Design Live in Atlanta.

She’s also established a small textile company called the Bulan Project that partners with master batik artists in Bali and craftspeople in California to create hyper-limited-edition clothing.

Elle Luna hand drawn type

At HOW Design Live, Elle Luna will inspire attendees to:

  • Discover your true purpose in life, to express your gifts to the fullest
  • Distinguish between what you should do — what others expect, what comes easily to you — and what you MUST do — what challenges you, thrills you, fulfills you
  • Find the courage to #choosemust

Hear from Elle Luna and other mind-expanding keynote presenters at HOW Design Live, including Chip Kidd, Stefan Sagmeister, Debbie Millman, Jonathan Fields and Veronika Scott. Browse the full conference program, customize your ideal HOW Design Live experience and register now.

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