Don’t sell yourself short

We all question our abilities to be creative.

When a new creative brief drops into your inbox, it can be a mixed bag of emotions, a feeling of a new challenge and a chance to make shine. Sometimes it will push you into something you’ve never dealt with or done before. This can stretch you further out of your comfort zone than you’d like, which can bring excitement and dread for new creatives. You experience that feeling of dread, you simply feel overwhelmed by the whole thing and the question of ‘can I do this’.

As creatives, most of us feel the ‘Imposture Syndrome’ (IS), doubt our creative minds over others. That’s before you’ve even started. Some overcome this with great confidence, all in approach. But, not everyone is like this, not all of us have 100% self-confidence like some.

Recently, I received a creative brief requesting my design skills in a field that I’ve never done before. My first thought was brilliant, I get to create and design an environment that I have control over along with the client’s permission. The perfect relationship, a client willing to hear your ideas and to run with it. But, could I create the vision in my head, will the result ‘reach my expectations’. That’s when that little voice pops up and the whole thing starts to feel daunting.

I skirted around the edges of this project for a few days. Not wanting to be disappointed if I cannot create the vision in my head. Really I should be diving in, that’s really what is needed. Tell yourself screw it, dive in, explore, make mistakes. Break down the barriers of your fear and expectations. Fear and mistake mean you’re growing, your first designs or strokes will not be your final ones. It’s only in the doing that you can find your confidence. Start small, pick a part of the project you know you’ll enjoy, deal with it and be happy with what is produced. You will learn and find new ideas along the way. Working on the smaller parts of a larger project will help you find your groove and feel more comfortable with the whole experience. Just like an artist with an empty canvas, you have to make the first marks to break the barrier of a blank canvas. These marks will be covered, your vision will change, and eventually, a masterpiece will start to emerge.

I’ve been creating work for many years, yet I still suffer from confidence or ‘IS’. I have no reason to, I’ve never had a client dislike what I’ve created or had any reason to doubt my abilities, but I still question myself. Am I good enough? is because I care. I care about what is produced and to make my client happy. Design and art are subjective, skills and experience shape the work produced. You have to tell yourself, a client picked you because of your skill and the craft you have. It is only your self-doubt that really holds you back, only if you let it.