“True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” – CS Lewis
Humility is a modest view of one’s importance. Humble designers realize they are no more important than others – putting their pants on one leg at a time too. They also realize that they are no less important than others either.
Understanding this balance between valuing yourself and valuing others, I believe, is essential to collaborating well with others, whether you are a junior designer or chief designer officer.
The foundation: being secure with who you are (and are not)
Humility, fundamentally, to me, starts with accepting yourself as you are and as you are not.
When we don’t accept ourselves, we work hard at “looking good” — trying to make sure we are seen in a certain way.
A good example of this is when we join a new company, group, or start a new project. In this case, we have all felt a desire to be accepted and to “look good” amongst our peers. This involves wanting to present ourselves as exceptionally competent and capable. We may speak up more and try and present ourselves as “smart”. Or, we may begin to feel anxiety and be hard on ourselves. After all, it takes energy to try and present ourselves as perfect! Or, we get overly sensitive. Someone’s feedback to us feels like harsh criticism and we take it personal, when it is not.
In the end, our mind is all over the place and we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to get others to acknowledge and accept us.
Ironically, the three challenges I mentioned above, speaking up too much, feeling anxiety, and being sensitive – end up not helping us to get others approval. People can see through our issues (often I have found, better than we can). Our concern for “looking good”, repels others rather than attracts them. The possibility of collaboration is hurt.
This article will cover ways to accepting yourself more fully, so hang tight and read on.