A journal entry from a humbled designer
In an ever-changing professional landscape I’ve found it hard to define my role, aspirations, and a path to get there. The vision I have for today is proven irrelevant tomorrow. The thing I can count on is that the personality traits I have as a designer and human being will deeply impact the quality of my work, the people I work with, the people at home who support me and my enjoyment of life. These traits are what makes me the best, authentic version of myself.
I’ve tried to jump outside of my authentic self to fit a mould that I’ve felt is required of me. It backfired and caused pain to myself and those around me.
In my career I’d started to doubt that my work and impact wasn’t good enough and that I had to try be like others around me to get to the next level. This caused me to try to take on personality traits which were totally unnatural to me. They caused me to be more competitive, more extrinsically driven and more focused on the wrong parts of my job.
They came with a heavy cost. A negative impact to my wellbeing, my relationships at work and home, the output of my work and my career progression.
When this was at it’s worst I had some great advice from a colleague with whom I’d confided in. He knew the person I was and could clearly see what was happening. His advice was “just do you”.
“just do you”
So simple yet so powerful. A small reminder in an Uber on the way to Changi airport led me to realise that the traits I thought I needed were turning me into something inauthentic.
As I slowly came to this realisation I became more self aware, understanding of what drives me, my why, and what drives others, their why.
This understanding has helped me get back on the right path, not letting the actions of others negatively impact me and allowing myself to output the most genuine work. It has also helped me have better relationships with my colleagues, being more open to their actions even if at first they seem challenging & confronting, seeing through the words to see where it comes from, their motivations.
Just do you as well as you can and the rest will come naturally. Don’t try be someone else in order to tick some box that you think is required for your career, if those boxes are actually required then maybe that role isn’t what’s best for you.