I’ve had that nagging thought at the back of my head all my professional life. Never felt good, adequate, knowledgeable, and talented enough to belong with the rest of the design world. All I wanted was praise from my fellow designers and a sense of belonging, but what I did was look at what others were doing and create something resembling their work, as best as I could.
I was always comparing myself to every other great designer out there and never felt satisfied and accomplished. It felt like chasing my tail over and over again: instead of focusing on doing the things I wanted to create I was chasing some illusion of satisfying others.
After years of working on so many different things, on various projects, with different teams in different countries and cultures, listening to people way smarter than me, I finally understood a very simple fact:
comparing your work to the works of others makes no sense.
It just doesn’t work like that. All it creates is a constant lack of self-worth and self-doubt in your abilities, making you second-guess every fucking decision you make.
What’s even worse is that most of the times you try and strive to create something extraordinary with shitty ingredients you have at your disposal just to be told what to do by your client at the very end of the process anyway.
And it gets worse with age, trust me. If you’ve never felt talented enough wait until you hit a certain age and see what the next generation has to offer.
But once in a while, I do create something I feel deserves to be called “good,” and that’s what propelled me to where I am and what I do today.
Because it’s not about being great all the time.
It’s impossible to be great all the fucking time, and it took me years to come to terms with that (well, I’m still struggling, but it takes much less effort now).
It’s all about being consistent.