Overcoming Self-Doubt As A Self-Taught Graphic Designer

Let’s talk about Self-doubt.

If there’s anyone who’s fit to talk about self-doubt, I really think it’s me.

Back then, I used to quit really easily. Every single mistake I did made me feel like a complete failure. Every time I did something wrong, I’ll tell myself, “Ok no, this is not for me. I’m definitely not cut out for this.” And I never gave myself a chance to  prove myself wrong so I took the easy way out and quit.

I also took a very long time to get anything done because I used to think that every single thing I did was not good enough. I was so, so afraid of what people would think of me if I did something wrong. 

It got really bad to the point that after I quit yet another great job, I sat down and I asked myself “was I really that incapable?”

Well, the answer is no, I definitely wasn’t.

I’ve come to realise that all the things I used to think I couldn’t do were all just in my mind. I still do battle with self-doubt once in a while but I’ve learnt to cope with it a little better. Here are five things that helped me overcome my self-doubts and led me to start Lookeesan Creatives on my own.

1. Rationalise with yourself

Now, the next time you tell yourself you can’t do something, is it really true you can’t do it because actual circumstances not allowing you to do it or is it just your mind telling you that you can’t?

You see, our brain works in such a way that it’s trying to protect us from danger, from unpleasant situations – like rejection and hurt. Your brain would probably tell you “no, you can’t do this anymore” because it’s trying to protect you from getting rejected again. So the next time you doubt your own self, it could probably be your mind trying to keep you safe within your comfort zone. But we all know that staying in your comfort zone is not a good place for us to grow.

2. Talk to someone about it

Sometimes, when I’m too deep inside my bubble of self-doubt, it’s really hard to talk myself out of it. So that’s when I look to my awesome husband for support! It really helps to have your own personal cheerleader cheering you on. You can talk to your partner, your close friends, your family members, anyone who you feel can support you. 

You may actually find that by verbalising your thoughts it will make you realise how farfetched your thoughts are, how exaggerated they can be. 

And if let’s say you are talking to someone who’s supportive, they may even be able to give you another perspective altogether, which is a great Win!

3. Stop comparing

This was and still is the hardest for me to get over. Especially since I’m a self-taught designer, I often find myself comparing to very seasoned designers out there who have been in the industry for so many years. It’s actually not fair for me.

The moment you compare and you feel lousy and you’re not good enough and you’re not cut out for this, then that is when you should stop comparing. Instead of comparing with other people, who have gone through their own set of struggles, why not you compare with your own self – like from when you first started to where you are right now.

4. See any setback as temporary

You are not a failure just because you failed. Setbacks actually happen to everyone who takes chances – sometimes things go well, sometimes things don’t go so well. Don’t make that failure as part of your identity.

What I’m trying to practise right now is to view any setbacks or failure as data like a scientist, you know. Instead of feeling defeated that something that didn’t go as desired or as planned, I’m trying to take a step back now and think what actually went wrong and what can I do to make it better.

Try not to get too emotionally attached to it. Detach yourself from the situation and look at it from a more analytical point of view. I’ve tried this and trust me, this helps a lot more than just sitting back, feeling defeated and whining or complaining.

5. Keep learning new things & sharpen your skills

This is the ultimate confidence booster. If you think you’re really that bad, then get off your butt and start honing your skills! Learn something new, or try to do something out of your comfort zone. Because every single time you do that, it’s going to boost your self-confidence even further. Just don’t give up and continue trying.

Believe me, you are really not as incapable as you think you are. Just because you’re not good at something, doesn’t mean you’re not good at anything else. So just continue trying. The world is so huge and full of possibilities so don’t limit yourself to your own comfort zone and bubble of self-doubt.

I really hope that these tips can help you overcome your self-doubts. Do you have any other tips on overcoming self-doubt? Let me know in the comments below!

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