How to Build Confidence in Your Design Skills


Confidence is among the most important traits for a web designer. It’s part of what propels us forward and enables us to create amazing things. Yet, it’s also quite volatile. It can either appear or vanish in the blink of an eye.

Over the years I’ve found the ability to maintain self-confidence as one of my biggest challenges. Sometimes it seems to be overflowing, while in other situations it’s difficult to find even a drop. In talking with others, I have learned that I’m far from alone in this experience.

So, why is confidence so difficult to build up and retain? And, what can we do to bring it back?

Frozen in Fear?

Fear is both a symptom and a side effect. When we’re afraid, then we are probably not feeling very confident. As a result, we often don’t take the initiative. For example, we may be hesitant when it comes to finding new clients. Or perhaps we simply don’t act on an otherwise exciting idea or opportunity.

As if that weren’t bad enough, this inaction can do even further damage. Because we are afraid to take that next step, confidence can continue to sink (while feelings of guilt rise up). This can lead to finding yourself in a serious rut.

I’ve found this to be true in my own journey. Often, it takes the form of the infamous imposter syndrome. I tend to feel as though I’m not the best person to carry out a client’s vision or that it would be impossible for me to learn a specific skill. Every task seems to be insurmountable. The result is crippling when it comes to decision-making.

This is where it’s worth noting that there may be some times when a project or idea just isn’t a good fit. The difference is in how we approach the situation.

Fear often has us rejecting something without much consideration as to what’s actually involved. A lack of critical thought and analysis is what stands out. In other words: Without taking the time to fully research an opportunity, we may be selling ourselves short.

Therefore, taking a deep breath and some time to think things over can help us overcome those pesky doubts.

Woman looking out a window.

Find Your Favorite Remedy

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to boost your confidence when reserves are running low. Here are a few possible remedies to help you get your groove back:

There is a certain joy that comes with learning. It offers an activity that you can really immerse yourself in. And, as you start to understand new concepts and put them into practice, the excitement of it all can bring confidence roaring back.

Quite often, you’ll find yourself eager to implement what you’ve learned into a project. That leads us to the next confidence-boosting activity.

One of the best ways to bust out of a funk is to put yourself to work on something a little different. If you enjoy code (or want to learn), perhaps playing with some new CSS or JavaScript techniques might do the trick.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy doing more visual work, open up your favorite image editor and create something. Design a killer logo or even a website mockup. The project doesn’t matter so much as the experimentation process itself.

Seek Inspiration
Inspiration is a very personal thing, in that everyone is buoyed by something different. You might find it in taking a trip outdoors, while others recharge themselves by checking out the latest design trends. Some may prefer to escape with a good book or a movie. The point is to find something that works for you and enjoy!

Man sitting at a computer, petting a dog.

The Common Denominator

Working in a creative field such as web design, it seems only natural that confidence will ebb and flow. Design and development aren’t easy, and there is no shortage of obstacles in our way. Sometimes, they can get the better of us. But that doesn’t mean we have to take it lying down.

While each of the remedies above are different, they all have at least one thing in common: They require us to take some action. When you’re struggling with confidence, attempting to press along that same path can be very difficult – and might even make you feel worse.

Therefore, it’s important to find something that brings a change of pace. It will help to put you in a better frame of mind and feel like you can accomplish anything.

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