Last week the Dick’s Sporting Goods ad with Arnold Palmer popped into my head. If you haven’t seen it before it’s worth the 50 odd seconds.
In the add Palmer says:
“Swing your Swing.
Not some idea of a swing.
Not a swing you saw on TV.
Not the swing you wish you had.
No, swing your swing.
Capable of greatness.
Prized only by you.
Perfect in its imperfection.
Swing your swing.
I know I did”
I see “swing your swing” as be true to yourself in your approach. In golf all that truly matters is the contact with the ball. How you get to that point is where you “swing your swing”. There are methods and instructions that make it easier to square the club at impact, however, do what works for you. Explore your swing. Figure out your tendencies good and bad. Swing your swing. Don’t become so mechanical that you lose sight of you.
Because I have a golf “issue” I immediately applied this my data viz work. My goal in data visualization is to depict data in a manner that clearly communicates the insights in the data. Like golf, there are a number of best practices and methods on how to do this. And like golf there are different approaches to get to the same end point. Take a look at #makeovermonday or #dataforacause and you will see an number of people approach the same data set in a number of different ways. You’ll see things that run the range of simple bar charts to radial charts. This is where people “viz their viz”.
In both golf and data viz your personal style is important, however, if your style trumps your success or ability to communicate effectively you need to refine your style. It is hard to square the club consistently when you come over the top and it is hard to communicate data effectively when you have a pie chart that uses 20 different colors.
So how do you get there?
Practice, practice, practice.
Experiment – #makeovermonday is a great opportunity for this.
Learn from others – be inspired by their work but don’t seek to duplicate someone else’s style.