In his recurring series of interviews with creative professionals, IDEO partner Diego Rodriguez recently sat down with director and photographer Jeff Zwart. In the interview, Zwart not only shares insights gleaned from years of traveling around the world, he also explains how optimism can influence the outcome of your work. Here’s his — metaphorical and literal — perspective on approaching storms:

If there’s an amazing rainstorm coming towards you, don’t run the other way. Use it as a backdrop! There’s just so many things in this great world we live in that offer opportunities to you… weather has brought more opportunity to me that it’s taken away. Some of the most amazing scenes, some of the most amazing shoots I’ve been on are where weather has been marginal, yet you make the best of it. You have to be constantly be open enough to make the best of it, and not become paralyzed to go forward.

The next time you’re faced with a storm at work, ask: how can you turn it into an opportunity? Looking for opportunities to turn a negative situation into one where you can learn from, adapt to, or explore in detail will keep you moving no matter what. If, for example, you find yourself constricted with what you can do on a project, look at it as an opportunity to flex your creativity or try something new within constraints.

Click here to catch the full interview for details on how to do just that, plus more highlights and quotes from Zwart.

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