Today we’re entering the forbidden zone. We’re facing two of the biggest weaknesses of designers: ego and rejection.
Regardless of being a product, a web, a graphic or any other kind of designer (with the fanciest designation), often times with this profession comes a certain fear of being rejected; either by peers or clients.
Maybe it relies on the fact that design has some level of subjectiveness or maybe it’s because designers share common personality traits. Insecurity, self-pity, and introvert-ness are some of them (they are also anti-social beings with their own habitat and language).
On the other side of rejection, we have the ego.
Ego is the designer’s best friend. Or should I say the best “frienemy”?
When projects go well and we have some level of experience, our ego becomes this little pet that climbs into our back and wraps around our neck. We walk around with our head up and with pride from knowing that we are the best worker with the best ideas.
But all of the sudden the client calls: he isn’t going further with our proposal and it all falls apart. Ego just bit us in the ass so we can learn to stay humble.
Peacefully dealing with ego and rejection
I have an ego. I’m also a very proud and stubborn person to make things worse. So how do I deal with both of them? Perspective.
Rather than losing my mind when hearing the “I don’t like” argument, I try to understand the why behind that answer. Is it a matter of taste or is it because my solution doesn’t work in the context?
Ask yourself those question and step back for a minute or two before reacting.
If you are anything like me, the first idea that you have is the shittiest one, so you might need more time to mature things.
Also, stay away from extremes. On one hand, try not to succumb to the temptation of always being a people pleaser. That’s not the point of your work and there are other, more effective ways to do that (offering chocolate is often a good start).
And lastly and most important: don’t make it personal. You are not designing for yourself and you have to know when to compromise. Especially when those things are small and irrelevant to the big picture.
My final advice is: find your balance. Keep your ego fed but don’t make it obese.