The art of letting go

The idea of having to let go and be imperfect has always been a difficult one for me.

The art of letting go

The idea of having to let go and be imperfect has always been a difficult one for me.

I've always had this need to do everything perfectly, whether it's in my personal life or my work life. It sounds silly but the thought of letting something less than perfect go makes me feel like I'm not doing enough.

Being a good designer is very different from being a perfectionist.

Perfectionists will never let anything go because they think it isn't perfect enough, whereas someone who cares about their work will be able to recognise when something is completed successfully, despite still having some flaws in the design.

If you're consumed by your need for perfection, you will never have a chance to do anything. You won't be able to finish any projects because nothing is ever good enough and you'll never get the confidence that comes from finishing something successfully on your own.

It can take some time but eventually, you should learn how to let go of those feelings of being perfect and just focus on the work itself.

How does perfectionism affect designers?

The pursuit of perfection can negatively impact any designer since there will never be a point at which you will feel satisfied with your work.

It might be that the client has high expectations and you aren't able to meet those standards because everything takes longer than expected, or perhaps the client won't care as much about minor details since there is no need to stress over them.

If you're consumed by this need for perfection, you won't be able to accomplish anything.

The key to design success

The key to design success is being able to let go. It's about realising that the work you've done is good enough for whatever purpose it serves and allowing yourself to accept when something doesn't matter, even if you think it does.

There are some people out there who will never be happy with your work no matter how hard you try, so you have to learn how to recognise when it's time to let go because if not, your work will never get done.

How to let go of perfectionism

One of the best ways to let go is by setting deadlines for yourself. If you're not an employer, then ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to help motivate you as well.

It's easy to fall into this trap where everything takes forever because you want it done perfectly but there isn't any reason why that has to be the case.

You can always go back later and edit things or even continue working on them but you should learn how to prioritise your time well enough not to allow yourself to fall into that trap in the first place.

Wooden letter tiles spell out Done Is Better Than Perfect

Designing for yourself vs designing for others

Designing for yourself is a lot easier in the sense that you don't have to worry about being perfect and if things aren't going well, it's not a big deal.

You can take your time with everything and spend as much time as you want on whatever project because no one else will be looking at it or caring what happens to it.

Designing for other people can be a lot more stressful because you have to meet whatever expectations they might have and if something isn't good enough, then there's no point in doing anything at all.

How perfectionism affects your personal life

Additionally, perfectionism may harm your personal life because you may feel like putting all of your energy into whatever work project you're working on instead of spending time with friends and family.

If you have a hard time managing your work-life balance, you need to prioritise better or be willing to give up things outside of your control so that you don't burn out, because there's always something else for you to do.

Tips on how to get over your fear of failure or criticism in design

You shouldn't let fear of failure or criticism hold you back from doing what you love as a designer.

Whether it's your first time working with someone who is paying for the service, having to deal with that person on some level can be intimidating but if they are unhappy about anything then it will reflect poorly upon yourself and your business moving forward. It's important not to let fear of failure prevent you from doing what you love.

Some tips that can help with this:

  • Remind yourself that criticism is good for growth and understand the difference between someone who is trying to be helpful versus an outright hater;
  • Be willing to take risks as a designer because if you're always playing it safe, you'll never grow as a designer;
  • Don't be afraid of taking on more work or getting better at the things that make you uncomfortable. You need to learn how to push yourself if you want to become successful.