Building Self-Worth as a Graphic Designer
Freelancing as a graphic designer isn’t all roses. On the contrary, the road is usually filled with obstacles, and things will often not work out the way as expected. You might have ‘dry’ spells when projects just aren’t coming your way, or be frustrated by the feeling that you aren’t really as good as other designers there.
In such cases, it’s not unusual to question your competency and whether you will truly find success as a freelance graphic designer.
MONEY AND SUCCESS
Success to you is probably about how much money you make, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, you need money to live comfortably and keep freelancing as a graphic designer. As such, it’s easy to get disheartened when you don’t have any projects and aren’t getting paid. While there’s nothing wrong with measuring success based on your income — it should only be seen as the first step towards building self-worth as a freelance graphic designer.
The fact is that you will always want more money, but you have to realize that you might be just trying to adhere to society’s definition of success. Put your financial situation into perspective by managing your money and budgeting. By knowing how much you have to in order to live comfortably, you set a goal that when reached, will allow you to seek out other ways to define your self-worth.
Believe it or not, you have many merits as a graphic designer besides how much you earn, such as the ability to think creatively and create visual ideas. Conversely, identifying your weaknesses allows you to understand exactly what you need to work on in order to become an even better designer. In other words, building self-worth is about appreciating yourself, while taking steps to improve yourself every day. Once you feel confident in your work and abilities, you won’t feel the need to seek approval from others or keep stressing out over nothing.
Look deeper into yourself and discover what you really want as a graphic designer. You will find that besides money there are usually other basic desires, such as power and independence. Professor Steven Reiss, a well-known American psychologist, proposed a theory on 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior. Once you understand what drives you, it will be easier for you to come up with goals and objectives to meet such desires. For instance, if you desire power then you might want to consider opening a studio and becoming a creative director.
Next, realize that you are brave enough to pursue your dreams, which is something not many people are capable of. As long as you keep doing what you love, you will be successful in the end — simply due to the fact that you refuse to be controlled by your insecurities.
Nothing makes a better teacher than experience. You will make mistakes in your freelancing journey, but always use them as an opportunity for learning and growth. Also, take time to travel and open your eyes to the world of graphic design.
In fact, I would argue that graphic design is one of the more valuable skills out there. Unlike some industries where automation is replacing human workers, creativity is probably the one thing that can never be truly automated. Because every designer views the world in a different way, your work will always be unique to you — it’s just a matter of finding the right people who will value your skills and help you on your path to success.
THE PROCESS OF BUILDING SELF-WORTH
Building self-worth is a long process, but be honest with your work and keep pushing yourself every day. You will get more motivated and enjoy your work more as you start to improve. You will never stop getting better unless you give up, and as long as you improve, you will always be above the people who don’t make the same effort.
Over time, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come, as well as all the skills and knowledge you have gained in the process.
It’s also important to learn how to avoid procrastination. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. You should always be motivated enough to finish the task at hand. If you don’t, the negative implications of not meeting client expectations will hinder your success.
See also: How to Avoid Procrastination
In addition, you don’t want to obsess over perfection because there is no such thing as perfection. By pursuing perfection you will feel like you are never good enough, which will destroy your self-worth. Instead, focus on doing your best work — people will acknowledge your efforts and be more than willing to pay for your services.
As you get your work out there, you are bound to receive feedback, both positive and negative. A few people will try to put you down, but almost everyone else will help you improve in one way or another. As such, you should view any feedback as a learning experience instead of a blow to your self-worth.
See also: Managing Client Feedback
Similarly, comparing yourself to others is a downward spiral into depression. There will always be someone better than you. Instead, observe other people’s work, learn from them, and use that newfound knowledge to help you improve as a graphic designer.
You should also surround yourself with people that will motivate you towards success. Go out of your comfort zone and make friends with people who have similar aspirations. It’s not just about them encouraging you in times of frustration — you should also do the same for them without expecting anything in return. Nurturing those bonds will do wonders for you in the long run.
In the end, there are many ways to define your self-worth as a freelance graphic designer. As long as you know what you want become and take active steps to pursue your desires, then you will surely find success in both your career and life.