Let’s start with a question.
How many times have you had one (or even all) of the following thoughts?
– ”What if they won’t like my design?” (near future fears)
– ”What will be of my career in a year from now?” (not so close future fears)
– ”What will be of my career when I’m 50 years old?” (far future fears)
– “Wow, that design is awesome! I wish I’d be that good, but I’ll never be!” (General, Dribbble reaction fears)
We, as hard workers in the tech industry, face a lot of fears.
But how do we control those fears? And how can we make sure that we do not get overwhelmed and basically freeze in place by fear?
Well, here are 3 practices I follow to conquer my design career fears, and the same goes for everything in life. I hope that by sharing them some of you will benefit from them.
#1: I turn my fears into inspiration and challenge
When I go into Dribbble or behance I see so much talent, and I fear I will never be as talented. But here’s the thing: There’s a thin line between intimidation and inspiration in places like dribbble.
If I look at some top notch designer’s UI work, I can aspire to be like that and gain a lot of inspiration from it. I can just as easily be intimidated and overwhelmed, but it’s a matter of choice, and I choose to be inspired. I suggest anyone with the same problem as me do the same.
”If you can figure out a way to wrestle fear, to push you from behind rather than to stand in front of you, that’s very powerful!” — Jimmy Iovine From “All in a Day’s Work” – track #5 on Dr. Dre’s new album – Compton.
If you haven’t watched Jimmy Iovine’s USC Commencement Speech, you must take 21 minutes and watch it. It Here it is:
Another thing is, if I really stop to think about most of the shots that I was impressed with, I understand that I don’t want to do what they do.
I mean, I love those cool 3D animations and cool renders of art, but it’s not something that I want to do my everyday work. It’s not what I want to do, so this fact drops the whole intimidating aspect of it.
Each designer is a different person with a different set of skills. Which brings me to my next subject…
#2: I practice not being jealous of cool stuff other people do, and don’t make any excuses to myself of not doing what I dream of doing
You know that feeling where you see an amazing article or case study or app or anything anyone created and you say to yourself – “wow I really wanted to do something like that myself! How come I didn’t think of that earlier?” or even “Wow this isn’t fair, look how much shares/likes he got and I didn’t! I should have gotten more than him!”
Well, yeah, some people do amazing stuff. But instead of being jealous of people, I actually try to see how I can change that initial feeling of jealousy into admiration!
We need to just purely respect and cherish the great, hard work of others, and kill any feeling of jealousy.
I try to practice that, and I believe it makes me a better, more relaxed person.
By the way, some say you can get rid of the feeling of jealousy altogether.
”When you find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others, turn to the moment in front of you and find ways to appreciate it.” — Leo Babauta on “The Heartbreaking Cruelty of Comparing Yourself to Others”
To put it into practice here are a few tips for whenever you experience jealousy:
- Say to yourself: “Wow, that’s very nice, I appreciate that”. It sounds stupid, but When you “talk” to yourself you begin to understand the stuff you think better.
- Connect with the people who’s work you saw with a message of gratitude. Tweet at them, send them a message, or leave a comment if you can on their work. This may even start a very helpful/productive discussion and build a relationship with those people.
#3: I know that any action done with fear at heart is meant to fail
Some writings inside religious books from different religions talk about fear as a source of bad outcomes, and encourage us to take actions without fear at heart.
I try to remember this always, say it with me out loud:
Any action done with fear at heart is meant to fail!
Think about it for a sec: When was the last time you did something, and fear that slowly took over, and it came out bad?
I can find a few examples from doing sports, where I wanted to do some sort of stunt and when I doubted myself even for a second before performing the stunt – I ended up failing. I think that this is true to everything in life.
So that means you have to have confidence in yourself when doing anything in life. And if you’re totally new at what you do – just fake it ‘till you make it.
Btw – If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy’s must-watch TED Talk, here it is:
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha
So if we drop fear in our actions, what can we have? The answer is faith. Faith in ourselves.
That for sure will derive better outcomes from our actions.
To sum it all up
This is the TL;DR that only people that reached the bottom of this post will enjoy.
1. Any action done with fear at heart is meant to fail. So be confident when you do stuff and if you find it hard – just fake it ‘till you make it! (Must watch the TED talk, if not now than bookmark for later but do not forget to watch this).
2. Turn fears into inspiration and use them to push you from behind rather than to stand against you (Must watch this speech, if not now than bookmark for later but do not forget to watch this).
3. Practice turning and feelings of jealousy into admiration and even pay gratitude.
And the last thing I would like to mention here – is DO. Just do! The world respects doers. If you have something you would like to do, a skill you would like to acquire, a passion you would like to chase – go for it! Because the fear of starting something new is way easier to deal with than the regret of missing out on something you wanted and could have done in this short life.
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