Let’s talk about self-confidence and psychological misconceptions that may hold web designers and web professionals back from getting ahead in their career.
When it comes to daily routine tasks most of us are not that diligent and logical as we used to think (or want to think). Everybody knows what to do, but somehow we try to avoid following our own pretty plan. The good news is that most people are actually able to get themselves together and control the balance of work and rest. However, there are some creative beings who are just too creative for that – they feel depressed when they need to strongly manage their activity. You must admit that such feeling is pretty much one of the biggest traps for all of the beginnings.
Whether you are subjected to psychological stress or not it’s always better to know the threats that can hurt you (even if you think they have nothing to do with you). So let’s go ahead and examine the most typical self-confidence failures and try to find the solutions that everybody can accept and apply.
Trap #1. Mania to Meet Client’s Approval
Sometimes people are so dependent on pleasing others that they stop thinking critically and ignore their own experience, knowledge and point of view.
On the web there is a lot of examples of bad web designs that were probably made under pressure of clients who were too pushy about their vision of designs. Sometimes it’s really easier to accept the client’s vision of design and walk away than to explain him why this or that is a bad idea. But every time you say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’, remember that this design becomes a part of your portfolio regardless of your wish.
Rule of thumb: ask yourself whether you’d be ready to proudly show the result to potential partners. If the answer is no – try to convince the current client somehow.
Moreover, clients will blame on you in case a new design doesn’t work well. They wouldn’t care that the idea was not yours – it’s still you who they will be angry at for wasted money. So again – you’d better try to convince clients of the effectiveness of your suggestions at the very beginning.
See also: Communicating with Indecisive Clients
Trap#2. Lack of Face-to-Face Communication
Let’s face it and be honest with ourselves – when sitting at the computer for hours every day, designers and developers kind of lose touch with reality. They chat, send emails and instant messages, comment on Facebook and tweet news. They don’t have time for real communications that distracts from virtual reality. The lack of real life becomes your comfort zone.
It’s easy to imagine a situation when 4 people are sitting in front of monitors in one room and discuss a problem in a group chat. It never occurs to them that actually talking to each other will solve the whole thing faster. All emotions are transformed into simple emoticons. This story is not a fiction or anything, I’ve heard it from many people I personally know (in emails and IMs of course).
Rule of thumb: get out there and talk to people. For a start, just talk to them more often than you have been doing before! Communication is a skill that needs constant practice and disappears when you stay isolated from the real world. Don’t wait till relatives, partners and clients start stumbling over you – keep smiling and say hello to them!
Trap #3. Avoiding Contacts with New People
When you’re not self-confident enough it’s easy to start having second thoughts about your proficiency level, previous works quality and clients loyalty. It’s always easier to play it safe and only do stuff that you’ve done before. The same goes about reaching out to new people. Right? Not quite so!
When you’re not able to initiate new contacts you lose many opportunities. IT professionals are inclined to work individually and the danger of locking up inside their shells is more than realistic.
Rule of thumb: remember that you’re not alone and web design community will help you solve almost any problem as well as find inspirational ideas. There are many communities whose only aim is to have designers and developers communicate with each other, and these communities are real good at their job. You may start with StackOverflow, Behance, Dribble, Quora, GitHub, Freenode or whatever you like most.
Trap#4. Concealing Your Thoughts from Others
Not pleased with your salary? Ask for more!
It sounds so easy, but the truth is most never try it. It’s almost too easy to be true. People, especially those whose work doesn’t imply rich communication, can’t ask for something. They are afraid of looking unprofessional, unprepared or just stupid. Moreover, it may not show their work at its best light and a client/partner will reject them with all the creative ideas.
However, the skill of asking can improve your work dramatically. A project manager will never know that your computer needs updates for software until you tell him about it. Of course it can be rather uncomfortable to ask for something for yourself.
Rule of thumb: try to think of it from another angle. That little personal improvement will help you be more effective – therefore you’ll design a better logo or code an app that’s more valuable for the company.
Trap#5. Savoring Past Mistakes
Feeling embarrassed about past failures and being afraid of them is a frequent trouble of creative personalities. Web designers are also likely to fall for that. They clearly remember their worst projects and clients who drove them crazy. It’s kind of fun to tell such nightmare stories to other developers and to observe their reactions.
Rule of thumb: just relax and forget it, will you? All designers and developers had some negative experience in the past. But being able to get over those failures and move on is a real sign of professionals. Head over to LinkedIn.com, connect with other designers of different specialties and ask them about their mistakes. You’ll be surprised to see that there were a lot funny incidents and serious troubles, so you’re able to get through them too.
Everybody procrastinates… Sometimes.
But there is this kind of people who start acting just before a deadline. A hard stress and a lack of time are strong motivational triggers for them. These circumstances artists and designers think they can conquer the world and inspire them for outstanding achievements.
When you’re designing a website or an app you usually work in a team and other people depend on you. Thus a small delay from your side can entail serious failures of the whole project… Is procrastinating really worth it?
Deadlines are quite strange things. They are good and bad at the same time. From one point of view strong deadlines help team members be more productive. On the other hand, a strong need to do something brings frustration to a lot of creative people. It’s really hard to stay inspired in a ‘do or die’ environment.
Rule of thumb: Choose a time period you’re able to allow yourself to relax and then start working. This little trick may help a lot. Probably some of you will prefer having a random but short lunch breaks – that’s also great. The idea is to finish a project on time without a disproportionally large amount of efforts. As a result, you’ll complete a design faster and more efficiently.
Trap #7. Being Too Shy
Web designers and developers are rarely as sensitive as other people. Coders are too logical and designers are too inspired to ‘normally’ react on reality. Thus they may feel a bit shy about contacting other people, getting public peer reviews and negotiating.
There are more and more talks about Shy Developer Syndrome that means professional developers are afraid of working in public places (office space is also a public place in a way). For them software environment is much better than joining actual environment of actual people. Generally coders have problems with communications because they didn’t learn it in tech colleges and had few chances to practice real-life interactions. Online world and work pace have become more real for them than everyday living.
Rule of thumb: The most common solution for such people is to practice talking and writing in addition to coding. Preferably, you should start with writing because it doesn’t require constant interactions with others and you have more than enough time to think over the reply. This will change the way people think and help them feel more comfortable among clients and co-workers.
Remember: You Create Awesome Stuff Out of Nothing
Let’s not get carried away by all these self-confidence traps and mistakes. I’m pretty sure people will get over them sooner or later. It’s just a matter of whether you’re ready for that. And don’t forget about the most important thing – you create awesome stuff out of nothing. That alone is a lot more of an accomplishment than many people achieve in years. Don’t be afraid of anything and forget unnecessary doubts – go on and create!