I’ve been around the block for quite a while, and although my design chops might not be as sharp as they once were, and keeping up with trends can be challenging, I like to think that what I’ve lost in speed, I’ve gained in wisdom. So, I’ve put together three pieces of emotional advice that I believe you might find valuable—or at the very least, use as a guide for what NOT to do.
- Trust your instincts, but don’t let them boss you around.
We must listen to our gut, especially when it sends us persistent alerts that something might be wrong. We live in a world that often values rationality over intuition, but our gut feelings have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to protect us from potential threats. Dismissing these instincts can lead to regret—many times, this has happened to me, and I’ve learned my lesson. That said, it’s important not to act impulsively on every gut feeling; take time to evaluate the situation before making a drastic decision. But, from my personal experience, more often than not, my instincts are right—it’s kind of annoying.
- Embrace your emotions and stop the blame game.
Our emotions are our responsibility, not someone else’s burden to bear. Instead of blaming the team for not understanding the value of design or for missing something obvious to us, we need to step up and teach that value through demonstration. Sure, we might have read the most insightful book about design and may want to share everything about it, but others will only care about the theory if they see it in action. Remember, a basic clickable prototype speaks louder than a massive Notion doc. Your patience and persistence may be tested, but each change that champions our users and creates a slightly more beautiful experience is a victory worth celebrating. So own your emotions, stop playing the victim, and focus on making a positive impact. Also, it’s kind of cringe to see someone blaming others—boo!
- Fear isn’t a sign that you’re on the wrong path.
When you feel fear or self-doubt and find yourself second-guessing every step, it often means you’re moving towards something you love, but your old beliefs or unhealed experiences are getting in the way. I would say indifference—not caring about anything—is the real danger. Fear means we’re pushing our creative boundaries and facing our insecurities. Hug your fears and grow together–it’s cheaper than therapy.
I’ve experienced this myself; before giving a presentation, self-doubt tries to hold me back, with fear attempting to tackle me before going on stage. For example, I recently gave a talk in Brooklyn to a hundred top designers in the industry—the crème de la crème. The Designuminati. And for some idiotic reason, I decided to do it about my messed-up mental state—a look into my recent psychiatric journey. Oh, no—why? I felt like it was a disaster, exposing my vulnerability to designers I admire. Yet, I did it. Perhaps I needed to share the weight I’d been carrying, even if it meant baring my soul to my peers. Afterward, I felt drained and thought I’d made a huge mistake I would regret forever. But then, people approached me, thanking me for opening up and sharing feelings they’d experienced too. That fear almost stopped me from going on stage, but overcoming it made a difference to others—something I’ll always cherish.
That’s it. Three short (perhaps obvious) tips to help us navigate our emotions. We should trust our instincts, stop the blame game, and embrace our fears.
Good vibes only. Keep creating!