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I’ve been working as a designer for thirteen years. And while I’ve dived into a lot of technical material that made my work better, there are some things that are not talked about that much. I realized that design is not just about visual elements, colors, features, testing etc.
Another key component of a good design is the designer’s approach. When a potential client is looking for the ideal candidate to do the job, the price or experience may not always be the determining factors. For some of them, one of the most important things is the vibe that the candidate gives off. And let me tell you, being arrogant will never help you land a job.
It’s all related to pride. Some designers take too little of it, some take too much. It’s a double edged sword that we should really reflect upon and ideally find the balance that will enable us to provide balanced outcomes.
It’s completely fine to feel proud when you complete a difficult task. If you continually underestimate your skills (and the potential client feels it), you will never be able to land your dream job. What’s even worse: you won’t ever feel the joy of your own recognition. You can lose all the motivation and start to find your work absolutely boring.
Being proud is something completely different. It’s a constant state of overestimating one’s capabilities that leads to being arrogant and egocentric. Be very careful about the position pride has in your life. If you take too much of it, people will hesitate to cooperate with you and establish a relationship of any kind.
As I’ve said, feeling proud is very healthy and motivates us to do better. It provides us with confidence that will allow us to stand our ground and believe in our capabilities.
However, being proud is like a poison. This kind of pride will diminish your self-awareness and the capacity to self-reflect.
I think that a balanced relationship with pride is quite rare today. Most people are so overwhelmed with work that they fail to spend some time self-reflecting. All the people who are really good at their job have one thing in common. They perceive self-reflection as a crucial tool to make their services better.
They take the time to analyze their work and the benefits, as well as possible shortcomings they bring. They’re not reluctant to get feedback upon which they implement changes that have a direct positive impact on the quality of their work. If you’re firmly convinced that your work is always perfect, you will hardly make any progress.
Is there a way to balance the relationship with pride? Of course, but let me tell you that it can be a daunting task. If you think you’ve got a problem with pride on either side of the spectrum, start reflecting upon what pride means to you. Start thinking about where your pride could have taken a toll on your work life and working with clients that you perceive as perspective.
If you had the chance to get the job again, what would you do differently? Would you give the client a convenient discount? Present your portfolio in a more comprehensive way? In a lot of instances, pride was actually one of the things that led to a negative outcome.
Keep in mind that the difference between feeling proud and being proud is pretty big. The first one is the joy of a job well done. The latter is a distorted version of who you really are. Try to keep an eye on where you take too little or too much pride. Then reflect upon it.
If you balance your approach to work, get ready to gradually get more clients. More clients mean more money. And money is another element that motivates us to become the best version of ourselves.
You’re putting yourself out there. In an enormously competitive environment – and the one who provides the most value is the one who will always stand out among other competitors.
And after all, designers create projects for human users with specific needs. You will never fully understand your target user if you don’t empathize with them. Excessive pride means feeling superior to others, which closes the doors for understanding the users, as well as the input that we’re working on.
It doesn’t mean that you ignore the data. They should always be the primary catalyst for the next moves, but having a healthy relationship with your work and clients will enable you to have a broader understanding of the topic. And people are willing to pay for that.