03.10.16
Bonnie Siegler | Dear Bonnie

Diffident in Detroit

Dear Bonnie,

How do you deal with self-doubt and insecurities when it comes to your work?

Diffident in Detroit

Dear D.,

The most important thing to remember is that everyone experiences self-doubt. The only difference is how we cover it up. Some people ignore those voices completely and plow through. Others overcompensate by being loud bullies. Still others are overwhelmed by them. If you remember that your boss, your colleague, your neighbor, and your client are all walking around wondering if they are smart enough, deserve the job they hold, have too much make-up on, are too young or too old, speak too much or too little (the list goes on and on), it gets way easier. If you can accept that it is a universal condition, maybe you can push your insecurities out of the way and get back to work. Self doubt will only get in the way of doing good work, so if you want to be good, listen more to the voice that tells you that you have talent, and choose to ignore the voice that tells you that other stuff.

Confidence really is key. It’s imperative that every time you do anything creative you assume you are great at it. If you still can’t convince yourself, just pretend that you are better than anyone at what you are doing (and it’s true that nobody could be better than you at being you) and proceed with vigor, kicking doubt out the door. Doubt is your internal critic. Critics are not allowed in the room where creative work is being done. Sure, after you’re done you can put on your critic hat and ask who made this mess, but for the making you must muster all the self-confident bluster you can. Look at Donald Trump, he’s nothing but self confidence and blubber, er bluster. 

Even the question of self doubt must be banished. Even if your self confidence is pretend, you will like the feeling. It will put wind in your sails and it will inspire others to fall in line behind what you’ve done. The same work presented by a meek soul and a confident one will have a different reception. People really respond to self confidence. As the great Mel Brooks once said, “You either hit ‘em over the head or stay home with the canary.” 


Posted in: Design Practice


Comments [1]

So much useful info. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
Taposy Rabeya
03.12.16
03:07



Bonnie Siegler Bonnie Siegler is an award-winning graphic designer. She is the founder of Eight and a Half, a multidisciplinary design studio based in New York, and before that, was the co-founder of Number Seventeen. She got her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, has taught in the graduate design programs at Yale University, RISD, and the School of Visual Arts and was the 2014 Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts at the University of Hartford.

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