Aaron James Draplin, of Draplin Design Co., spoke at this month’s Creative Mornings PDX. I’m glad that I was able to get a ticket to the second showing because the man’s got a lot of interesting things to say.

He presented his 50-point plan to “ruin yer careers,” but much more like 50 reasons to enjoy what’s going on and just be true to ourselves and everyone around us. You know, the stuff that’s easy forgotten as we’re all busy working on things here and there.

Draplin is a believer in hard work, getting dirty, experiencing the wilderness (whatever that may be in 2012), and just being thankful for everything around us as professionals, makers, doers, creatives, whomever we are. Here are the points that stuck to me the most.

"Love where you're from."

Embracing the pride and joy of where you’re from and embodying it in our work. While Draplin digs on his own hometown jokingly throughout the talk, his work ethic and pride stems from his beginnings.

As a member of the small, local business, I love the opportunity to really pour myself into work. We don’t follow some kind of corporate protocol or course at Stephouse– we basically make stuff up as we go with a particular local Portland flavor. Where will it take us? Who knows. But, I love the work and representing Portland.

"Work hard, and love this shit."

Draplin spoke from a design standpoint, but it basically applies to anyone sitting in that room during both shows. Whatever we’re doing, just work hard and love it from end-to-end. Reminds me of a mantra from Lynette Xanders, a branding and momentum strategist here in Portland, “Why do it if it’s not fun?”

Draplin tugged at my heartstrings when he mentioned working for free for friends. I can’t tell you how many hours and evenings I’ve given away to friends to work on stuff just for the hell of it. Most of the time, these are the most entertaining nights ever. The camaraderie, the food, the booze, the collaboration– nothing beats it, even to the tune of free-ninety-nine.

Not to mention any project you can get your hands on is just time to sharpen yourself. Razor-sharp. Ninja-quick.

"Be thankful for everything."

It is a rough economy out there lately, and this point makes a lot of sense. That small business didn’t have to give you that starter project that led to your current gig. They didn’t have to pull you into that design meeting or let you write that copy that eventually brought some wind into your professional sails.

No matter what comes our way, just be damn thankful. Draplin shouldn’t have to tell us to do that.

Also, if you have a spouse, significant other, or people who are watching your back, feeding you, pulling you out of fires– thank the shit out of them from time to time for having to deal with your busy-ness.

Fifty points to ruin yer career. If ruining it is living the kind of feeling that Draplin brings to the table during his talk, then I’m going to bulldozer mine.

Please go to Creative Mornings PDX if you get the chance, everyone. The talks are amazing.