Passion Plus Tenacity Makes Professional Creatives Shine

January 05, 2021   /   by  Michael Westafer

The Defiant Ones

Earlier in the year, we took advantage of all that extra time at home to catch up on the movies, shows, and documentaries we’d missed. Of all the great things we watched, few inspired us as much as The Defiant Ones. This 2017 docuseries chronicled the bond between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, two creative geniuses who transformed the music industry with their combined powers of talent, business acumen, and opportunism.

The two men, though very different on the surface, shared the same constitution. One that comes down to two essential ingredients: passion and tenacity. As an agency rooted in using creativity to help clients transform their marketing efforts, we became deeply invested in the story of Jimmy and Dre. (The references to NWA and The Neptunes helped, too). It got us thinking about the creative journey, and what it takes to reach levels of success that we might not have imagined were accessible.

Roger West, at its core, is a team of artists who are passionate about our respective crafts. Every single one of us comes with passion, tenacity, and a story of how we got to where we are. Not to brag or anything, but Roger West is full of “Defiant Ones,” even if we don’t have a direct line to the late, great Tom Petty, Snoop, or Springsteen.

How’d we turn our passion into a career? Let me tell you.

Passion Ignites the Fire

Passion is energy in motion. It is the catalyst we rely on to create our own art. It’s the innate desire to create, write, draw, and in some cases, perform extensive keyword research. Every artist starts off with passion. Our chosen medium beckons us, often from an early age, and encourages us to play, explore, experiment, and grow.

Passion can encourage the development of talent. It is at the heart of what we do, but it’s not everything. Like any other fuel source, passion may need to be replenished every once in a while, and even then, it’ll only take us so far.

Feed That Passion

  • Look for inspiration everywhere you go. Observing and understanding new and diverse perspectives is a great way to refresh your passion and refill your cup.
  • Take a risk or push your art beyond the boundaries. Do something big and different. It’s thrilling, and it works in more ways than one. Trust us. 
  • Find the balance between consumption and creation. (Permission to binge-watch ALL OF THE THINGS.) Yes, this is similar to looking for inspiration, but it’s more about taking a breather. It’s okay to take a break, as long as you come back when you’re well-rested.

You Gotta Have Grit, Kid

Artists can be a little precious about their craft. We’re admitting it, so you don’t have to. But creating things is hard. You have to have grit, or tenacity, to follow through when the novelty of a new idea runs dry. Passion can diminish over time, influenced by rejection, fear, and waning interests. Tenacity is there for us in these dark times. When the passion for your craft fizzles out, purpose and tenacity will be there to carry you to your next milestone.

But tenacity isn’t always intrinsic. It’s something that needs to be learned, then trained over time because well, it stinks. Art is subjective, so even if your creation is technically perfect, someone is probably going to hate it. We can’t let that stop us from doing our thing. We just have to keep going. Our ego will heal. Our spirits will rise once again.

It’s not an easy thing to do, but becoming comfortable with the word “no” is a great place to start. And hey, you don’t have to do it alone. Millions of other artists are out there struggling to build those same muscles.

Keep Swimming

  • Don’t Stop: Do you think that Tenacious D, the saviors of comedy and music, were embraced with open arms by every audience and label? No. But they knew that to be the best, they had to make it all the way to the mountain.
  • Back to Basics: When you’re feeling down, revisit your purpose. Course-correct if you need to, but don’t let the fear of a two-letter word derail you completely.
  • Ask for Support: Sometimes you need help. Ask for it or take it when it’s offered. Get support from those you know and trust. A good ol’ venting session might do the trick.

Channel Your Inner Dr. Dre

Every artist has a story, and that story usually involves someone who helped us. In The Defiant Ones, Jimmy, Dr. Dre, and the artists they helped become household names all share this. Creatives in any medium learn to understand the importance of opportunity.

Someone saw their passion, witnessed their tenacity, and offered them an opportunity. These kinds of breakthroughs are rare and precious, so when the moment feels right, we need to learn how to accept help. The artist’s journey, as told through the docuseries, reinforces the mission of Roger West. When it comes to creative design, websites, or campaigns, we want to help others bring their big idea to life. As creatives who found a home, we want to help others arrive at their next big breakthrough.

Ready to get a little help from your friends at Roger West? Give us a call.

Michael Westafer

Michael Westafer


As the CEO and founder of Roger West, Mike brings over 25 years of marketing, leadership, and business strategy experience to our team, clients, and partners. Under his leadership, the Roger West has grown from a scrappy startup to a full-service, award-winning agency. He believes in getting things done, making big things happen for clients, and delivering expert fist-bumps.