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Know Your Worth As a Designer

Posted on in Articles · Creative Advice


Attend To Your Weaknesses; But Don’t Forget To Celebrate Your Strengths

It’s usually more urgent for us to evaluate our shortfalls and fix our weaknesses. Mistakes need to be fixed, otherwise we can’t meet deadlines, fulfill a budget, or complete a project. This is a mindset most creatives have gotten acquianted to. But do you truly know your worth as a designer?

In this fast-paced, time-poor society, we often neglect to celebrate our accomplishments. As Designers, it is still important to evaluate our success factors so that we can replicate future victories.


Please, please Me

Image source: Troy Witte

From childhood to adulthood, we’ve been programmed to please others – family, friends, colleagues, bosses, clients, partners and so on. That’s fine, up to the point where we try to please everyone but ourselves.

In many challenging jobs today, we’re constantly playing catch-up. For example, “Our shortfall in revenue versus target is currently $50,000” or “We’re two weeks behind the targeted completion date for this web application project.” With that in mind, it’s quite common to remind ourselves to buck up.

Before you know it, your self-talk may sound a lot like a drill sergeant. If that’s the case, you need to learn to forgive yourself. Sure enough, intelligent people should learn from their mistakes. Better still, a wise person once gave this advice about painful failures – “Remember the lesson, but forget the details.”


Recognize your strengths

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced designer, never undervalue yourself. List down your skills, knowledge and accomplishments and compare it with other professionals in your environment. You will realize that you’re way more of an expert than you give yourself credit for.

Ask yourself questions like:

1. What are my strengths that have consistently earn me compliments?
“I trust him with his decision-making skills. He is able to convert ideas into decisions that have improved sales in our organisation.”

2. What are the types of tasks regularly assigned to me?
This shows people have confidence in you in those areas.

3. What areas of my work do I enjoy doing?
Be it coding, or designing creative graphics; we each have unique skills. Find ways to improve those skills so you get even better at what you like doing.


Inspiring influence

Have you heard of Nancy Matthews Elliot? She was a housewife with seven children. Her youngest child who had a wandering mind dropped out of primary school after just three months. She persevered and educated him at home anyway. Her son, Thomas Edison, grew up to be the inventor of over 1,000 inventions patented in his name.

Portrait of Edison by Abraham Archibald Anderson (1890), National Portrait Gallery

Even if we inspire only one person, we have no idea how far-reaching our influence may be. Perhaps you are touching the lives of others without being aware of it. So why not appreciate yourself a bit more?


Demonstrate your value

If you have won an award, or a client just gave you a very good testimonial for a recently completed project, you should feature it on your website or profile. Take your achievements and create an online presence (not in an elaborate or overly self-promotional manner though)  that’s reflective of your values. Show your confidence when speaking about your goals and achievements; then other people will respectively show their confidence in you.


My thoughts on self-worth

I recently read a newspaper article and there was this amusing quote: “God has wisely designed our bodies so that it’s hard to pat our own back and kick our own butt.” So while you are in the midst of chasing your goals and dreams, remember not be too hard on yourself either. Sometimes we need to pause for a moment to smell the roses. This way, we can learn to appreciate ourselves and acknowledge our own value regularly. It will then become clearer how you can touch more lives and inspire more people to do the same.




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Currently based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Hazel Lee is a designer, digital marketer and founder of YDJ. This blog was launched in June 2015 with the intention to inspire and support the careers of artists and designers.

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