It’s harder to do the work when there’s nobody around you pushing you forward and onwards.
This is where the magic of external deadlines come in.
External deadlines are less lenient with you. They don’t let you off the hook as easily as an internal deadline with yourself. If you’re a freelancer, working in a team of 1, missing an internal deadline feels more okay than one given to you by someone else.
That said, if you’re looking to do important work, gather 5 of your working friends and create a collective external deadline for each other.
Don’t hold back. The external deadline is for you.
Not all designers have spectacular taste in aesthetics or visuals, but that’s besides the point.
What design does for people, is provide empathy (something every person needs).
The great news is that you don’t have to be a designer to be empathetic. Plenty of marketers, nurses, elementary school teachers, authors, servers, painters, coaches, HR managers, bosses, accountants, developers, engineers, actors, directors, musicians, stylists, and hairdressers have empathy for the people they work for.
Design needs a new meaning.
Because you’re reading this, because you’re a part of this audience, you also are a designer.
Whether you went to design school or not, it’s been inside of you all along.
You can use your ability to be empathetic by listening to the other side, and creating things that they need. Not what you need, but what they need.
And by doing so, the inner designer will come out and say, “Here’s what I heard you say. Is that right?”
By stepping over to the other side, we get to take the role of somebody helpful, and somebody who listens.
Only then, we can suggest solutions that might help and say, “I heard what you said, so I designed this for you”
Creating work for somebody else just to satisfy your ego makes for a fragile connection. What happens when they don’t like it? Do you throw a fit? Do you cut ties with your client? Hurt feelings and cancelled projects?
Notoriety, prestige, titles, awards give the belief that you are trustworthy and reliable, but what does it mean to be an award-winning firm 5 years in a row?
Doing the successful work for a client vs. doing successful work to win an award is a subtle difference that goes a long way.