We, as freelancers, are many times our own worst enemies. Through out my experiences, I’ve learned that artistic people tend to be the most analytical. Even to this day, I cringe a bit before pressing the send button when e-mailing a proof to a client.
Yes, I am always proud of my work, but there is always that little bastard on my shoulder who whispers into my ear, ‘You don’t deserve to be in this industry. You’ll never be good enough!‘
On this day, it is my intention to end that constant chattering that goes on in my head, and maybe in yours too. We don’t realize how talented we are. In fact, I believe that the harder we are on ourselves, the more talented we are as a result.
It takes a very talented person to realize how little he or she knows, ironically. Never-the-less, being down on yourself only creates a toxic environment that helps no one.
Maybe in the web world, more than anywhere else, competition is everywhere. As a designer, every site that I visit on a given day, was created by my competition. Every ad that I view in a magazine, was created by my competition! It’s no wonder that some of us are so hard on ourselves. We are completely surrounded by the top designers in our field. That would be daunting for anybody!
Unfortunately, despite the obvious advantages, many designers, including myself, constantly beat ourselves up. Envy might be a sin, but it is an emotion that I guarantee all of us have felt at one time or another. There are a few constants that we can rely on to get over this ‘disease‘.
There should never be a week that is sacrificed when it comes to your education. I have several books plastered on my bedside table that I read every single night. In an industry where, if you’re out of the loop for two years, you’re obsolete – we can’t afford to fall behind. Make a list of what you want to learn each month, and make sure that the items get checked off!
Take A Step Back
Sometimes, it is okay to float your own boat! As long as it is done with moderation, an ego boost can many times double your productivity – not to mention your self-esteem. For example, take a look at a notice that a friend of mine received from the office at his apartment complex.
How many mistakes can you find here? I’m at six and counting (centered text, all bold, all caps, no separation, underlines, etc.) Ask yourself this, ‘Would I ever create an atrocity as illegible as this?‘
Granted, this letter wasn’t created by a designer, but that’s not the point! Pat yourself on the back if you began having heart palpations after seeing this image – I know I did! Now my intention isn’t to insult some employee at an apartment complex. My intention is to remind myself, and all of you, how talented we are. Sometimes, we forget and need something like this to remind us.
As I said previously, remember that the more you learn, the more you realize how much you have to learn! Rather than punching yourself in the stomach, congratulate yourself. Accept that you’ll never know it all.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if the quality of your work isn’t equal to someone with ten years more experience than you. Focus on your strengths. You’re younger, you have a fresher perspective, you have more energy. Use these to your advantage and stop worrying about things you can’t change. Time will eventually be on your side.
If you are bettering your mind every day, then reward yourself by relaxing and not thinking so much. How can something so simple be so difficult? How many of us have been awake at four in the morning stressing ourselves out? How many of us have trouble holding conversation because our minds are on our work? Take a break every once in a while; no one will beat you up!
The next time that you find yourself feeling envious, just remember: You don’t realize how talented you are. :)