Answering an interview this morning for Laura, i was asked what was one of my biggest challenges as a freelancers and how i overcame them. And although there were quite a few downs and difficult times, one of the biggest challenges was my self doubt.
When stepping into the freelance life, without having someone to guide you and especially when you're a self taught designer, you are always going to self doubt yourself. Because you simply don't know what you do is right, or wrong, if you're good enough or if you know enough. Slowly i realised that no matter wether you're self taught or not, we all end up learning things from scratch when freelancing. All is new, and we are building the steps one by one, discovering what works for us. When you become your own boss, you definitely gain a good deal of confidence.
The only person standing in your way, is you. So choose being on team "you". Nowadays, although less, there are those self doubt moments, but it's so much easier to get out of it.
01. get rid of negativity
Oh, i know this one too well. When feeling down, being negative about yourself is the easiest thing to do. And the worst. Try to balance those negative voices in your head. What really works for me is to take a break and distance my self and my mind from what's getting me down.
Stop thinking, take a walk or take a nap. Distract yourself by doing something that will relax you, why not mediate? Eat something that will make you smile and do something that will make you happy. Once you're in that good place, write a small list, top 5 things that you feel proud of.
02. stop comparing yourself
Most of the times self doubt comes from your need to compare yourself with other designers. And although i believe comparison is great to make you more determined and passionate, when it makes you feel bad about yourself, just stop it. We are all different, and work in different ways.
Focus on writing your own history, discovering a way that works best for you, expanding your skills or perfecting them. Choose to to put more thought into yourself in a positive and constructing way.
03. surround yourself with people who know you well
Not to have them tell you how awesome you are, but remind you the things you will forget. I'm so lucky to have my husband at those times. He knows me better than anyone, always bringing me back to my sanity. It's very important to wrap yourself with positive and inspiring people to look up to and to be inspired by their positive spirit.
04. choose a path and go with it
In my first year as a designer, i was doubting myself 24/7. Was i creating the logos as i should? was my process as it should be? what files should i have? I was googling and searching desperately for someone to tell me what i should have and what i should do.
In the end, i ended up going with what i knew at that time and getting the work done. Slowly, my process and way of working developed depending on my needs. What i'm trying to say, is that when you doubt yourself about something, just leave it to the side. Do what you gotta do, and you will get it right along the way.
05. understand what makes you doubt yourself
Creating awareness about what triggers it, is pretty crucial. Is it your lack of skills, is it just your mood? Once you can identify what triggered it, it's going to be easier for you to get over it. When you're being emotional, everything will seems more tragic, but when you see everything with logic, knowing why you feel the way you feel, you'll be able to overcome self doubt in just a second.