Knowing Your Abilities

Which feels more terrifying? A company rejecting your services, or a company hiring you and you don’t deliver your A-Game? Or you try your best, but nothing lives up to the client’s expectations.

Or what if, what if, what if, on and on and on to the point where you’re thinking way to hard about scenarios that haven’t happened yet and meanwhile the cursor in that e-mail you’re drafting is blinking away, mocking you, judging you.

Okay, maybe that last part is just me.

But seriously, this is a real issue. As creatives, we’re terrified that we’ll be uncovered as frauds. Especially those of us relatively new to the field. You have to work long and hard to eventually feel confident enough in your abilities, and that could take years – depending on the type of person you are.

So how do we cope with that fear? Well, that’s different for everyone. What I think works is to know your abilities.

You should know what skills you have, what projects you’ve done, and what you enjoy doing. Knowing your abilities is similar to knowing your limits. However, many people tend to place very conservative limitations on themselves. They say, “I can never do this,” or “I don’t know how to do that,” and so they self-sabotage and give in to the fear of failure.

In knowing your abilities, you acknowledge what you’ve learned thus far, and what you are capable of learning and doing as you progress. We never stop learning, after all, and in the age of Skillshare, Lynda.com, and other online training resources, we can’t say that we’re completely limited. Not really.

So understand your abilities, and don’t be afraid to tackle new projects and new clients. Besides, sitting around and being afraid never made anyone any money. Right?

On Achieving Failure

So… First post. Crazy, right?

I’ve been working as a freelance designer for about three years, and I’m still trying to find my way. It’s not an easy path, but if you have the fortitude and the skills, you can achieve failure!

Wait… what?

Yeah, that’s right. I said it. “Achieve failure.” It’s a thing.

Let’s think about this for a second. Sure, to some failure can be this massively disappointing experience – you put your all into something, every essence of your being, and you fell right on your face. It’s awful, it sucks. It hurts to fail.

However, to reach the point of failing means that you’ve made an attempt. Imagine you’re a scientist working on an experiment. Before you perform said experiment, you must form a hypothesis as to your outcome. Now, if your hypothesis isn’t proven by the results of the experiment, did your hypothesis fail?

No, your hypothesis just needs to be changed based on the results of the experiment and retested.

In the world of startups, this is called making a “pivot.” In the real world this is called “learning from your damn experiences and getting back on the horse.” That’s how the most successful people out there do it, that’s how we all should do it.

That said, I’m throwing my rejected logos into the Portfolio section of the blog here. Check them out, and maybe leave some links to your own failed creations in the comments, and maybe let the world know what you learned from them!