Graph designed by Piotrek Chuchla from the Noun Project

Graph designed by Piotrek Chuchla from the Noun Project

It’s easy to look at other professionals and feel like a failure for not matching the quality or amount of work they’re producing. In a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything discussion) on Designer News, type designer Jessica Hische shares her advice for not beating yourself up. Hische writes:

Confidence, for me, has always been about judging myself in relation to my past self vs. judging myself against people whom I admire. I think it’s too easy to get discouraged if you look at the work of people with much more experience than yourself and compare your work to them. As long as you are continually improving month after month and year after year, it’s easier to confidently say “I’m getting better. I’m not the best, but no one is. We’re all constantly growing and improving.” Don’t look at something you made and think “this is shit”, think “this is so much better than the shit I was making last year”.

With access to millions of people and their work online, feeling less-than-confident in your abilities is a common trend. But it doesn’t have to be, and I’d argue it shouldn’t be. Seth Godin once gave similar advice on the subject when I was feeling overwhelmed at my personal failings. He told me:

Don’t measure yourself by your friends and don’t ask someone like me to tell you what’s working and what’s not. Learn to see. Test. Experiment. And be patient.

For more insights into feeling confident as a creative worker, and other insights from the perspective of a professional creative, read all of Hische’s AMA on Designer News.

  • Taylor

    This article is SO much win, and couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

    My whole life, I’ve used the work of others and the phrase “I can do that too…” as the prime motivator for most of my work. However, what I didn’t anticipate was that eventually you’ll chase that thought up to people who are at the top of their game, and “I can do that to” quickly becomes “everything I do sucks compared to them.”

    • tannerc

      Thanks for reading (and commenting) Taylor. I’m glad the article resonates so well with you. It’s an important message and worth remembering I think.

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