Want to Become a Designer? Insecurity and Passion Is All You Need

Today I received an email from a project manager that actually wants to be a designer. Unconfident in his skills, he worries if he is good enough to make a living as a designer. While replying to his email, I thought this might be helpful to read for other people who want to start a design career but are afraid that they are not ‘good enough’. This was my reply:

I understand your dilemma. My situation was maybe a little bit different as yours, but I see similarities. I was a psychologist with design just as a hobby. I wasn’t confident enough in my design skills to call myself a ‘designer’. Although at the time I totally sucked at design, in my heart I was so much more passionate about creating and designing things than observing people with my psychology job.
That period of time in my life I was unhappy with my job and restless and awake every night, because I was always worrying about my career. I wanted to be a designer, not a psychologist. But where to start and surely I’m not good enough.
A meeting with an advertisement director changed my attitude. Basically he told me you will never be good at anything if you’re not passionate about it. Passion and insecurity is all you need. If you have a passion for design, you will feel always an uncomfortable feeling that your designs are just not good enough — I have that with every design I create till this day. But this uncomfortable unconfident feeling is something that thrives you to become better at what you do. You need an unhappy grumpy voice in your head that always tells you “you can do better”. Cherish that voice.
If you want to become better at design and make a living out of it, just do it. Be comfortable with your feeling your work isn’t good enough…that voice will push you to become better and better. Please realize nobody knows what they are doing. Be passionate and put in the time. Start with calling yourself a ‘Designer’ and take on every project you can get your hands on.
Cheers,
Wouter

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