Imposter Syndrome vs. Doing Good Work
I had an interaction yesterday with a another designer whom I respect immensely about releasing work before it is considered good versus getting it done and pushed out. He advocated that work should not be released until it is considered good, valuing planning and “completion” versus my belief that work should be release when it is “good enough” and making changes based on feedback received. The interaction devolved into a less than stellar example of a friendly discussion with the accusation of selling crap and my confidence in how I work shaken. Queue the impending monster that is imposter syndrome, rearing it’s ugly head to have me questioning if it was even worth continuing to create anything.
More and more people today are recognising and speaking up about imposter syndrome, the feeling that you don’t belong. You are a fraud and it is just a matter of time before everyone realised and you are publically humiliated when it comes to light that you don’t know what you are doing. It is the flip side feeling of fake it till you make it. The feeling can come out of nowhere and hit you like a tonne of bricks or it can slowly grow, like an insidious cancer on your consciousness. Yesterday it hit me like a tonne of bricks. It is not that I want to release work that would be considered bad but I know that I live in my head a lot and I try to release my work before I over think it. Working on the Daily Logo Challenge was a way to combat this feeling. it causes me to have to stretch myself to make something every day and release it whether it is perfect or not. Frequently I know that the things I am releasing are not perfect. They are the best of the first run at a problem. I try to make sure that they are good enough for release, so that I can be proud that I got something out. It is the same way I feel about this series of posts. I want to be able to write something, edit it and push it out, waiting for feedback. I relish the interaction these posts can generate.
My company Creative Sidhe creates brand identities for companies. Our goal is to make our client’s stand out in a crowded market. This does not just mean creating the branding assets but to work with a client to strategically place their new brand in the market so that it gets maximum exposure. The best way to do that is through content and since it is such a crowded market, that content has to be out quick. I am striving to grow as a designer, a business owner and content producer. I don’t want to compromise quality of the work we do at Sidhe by releasing work I am not proud of. Some of the images I have created for the challenge have been released before I was completely happy with them but I knew that I didn’t have time to work on them any longer that day. I released them and they got a better response than I expected. Remembering that fact, is what took me out of the imposter funk. As a designer I am always looking to solve a problem with my work. I could sit for days and days working thinking and planning a project to perfection without ever actually producing anything. Perfect is the enemy of done but I do want to emphasize that when feedback is given on a project, the work should be looked at objectively with this new information. I try not to let my ego get in the way of improvements to my work. I have written before about the need for feedback. Publishing your work with this mentality will make you a better designer but you do have to release the work in order to get that feedback.
I don’t begrudge the opinion of this other designer, he is someone I respect and look up too but I do not agree with him in this instance. I will continue to take his words under advisement and try to use his philosophy as a litmus test against the work I do release. I don’t know what the next trigger will be for the feeling of imposter syndrome and I don’t know how I will cope with it when it arrives but I do know that I don’t want to quit with my work. I want to grow, learn, get better and continue to release work. Practice makes perfect after all.
This work can be viewed on Instagram here.