Whoever said we have “nothing to fear but fear itself” was on to something. I know there are other scary things out there, but in regular day to day life it is ultimately fear which prevents us getting anywhere.
I’m writing about fear tonight because it’s been on my mind. In the interests of being honest and putting myself out there, I felt it was a good place to start.
I get scared. I get overwhelmed. Everyone does. There are so many amazing designers out there, doing so many amazing things, it can often feel paralysing. There’s also a perfectionist tendency in our industry, which is beneficial at times, but sometimes it prevents us putting ourselves out there. This in turn prevents moving forward.
Things don’t have to be perfect. There is no such thing. It’s hard to let go of that though. There’s a fear there, that being good enough isn’t good enough! Even though more often than not, good enough is better than good enough.
If that “good enough” something never sees the light of day because it’s not “perfect” then a lot of its potential gets wasted. Even if you put it out there and no one sees it, at least it’s there in case. At least then when you’re looking for a job, or a client, they can see that you’ve been doing things, that you have thoughts and ideas. Even if they don’t agree, even if they don’t like them.
Their opinion of the things isn’t necessarily what matters. Doing things for yourself and having them out there gives you more of a chance, gives you more potential opportunities. So why don’t we? Why haven’t I? Fear.
So many folks in our industry will tell you the importance of writing. It helps clarify your thoughts, it can help you remember things and it can be useful for others. I have actually written a lot of articles over the last couple of years. Hardly any of them have made it on to the ‘net.
This post on my personal blog goes half way to explaining that. When I was 11 my English teacher told me I had “too much imagination”, amongst other things, which really shattered my confidence in my writing. 15 years later I’m still trying to claw that confidence back.
The other half of the fear, more related to our industry, is the worry that people will think I don’t know what I’m talking about. That I’m full of crap. Some kind of fraud. Well I’m not a fraud, obviously, or I wouldn’t get paid for my work. I suppose sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about, but if I don’t put these things out there how will I learn when I’m mistaken?
I am now at a disadvantage. Maybe if I’d been posting all those lovely posts (including conference reviews, design tips, photographs, ideas, mini projects) I’d be closer to being able to really push for the kind of job I want. As it is none of it is there for anyone to see, it’s going to be harder for me to prove I’m worth hiring. Don’t make my mistake, it is vital to get your stuff out there!
Well, screw you fear. One of my new years resolutions (blech) is going to be to get more of this stuff online. Make the time. Put it out there. Hope it’s useful for someone. Enjoy the process. I’ve already started a bit, just gotta keep pushing!
Life is too short for fear, really. Might as well just get on with it.