There is so much great work on the Internet—beautiful photos, stunning and clever graphic design, flawless writing—it's easy to feel like we don't measure up.
Social media reinforces these negative feelings. I've got friends whose tightly-curated posts portray lives of only Instagram-worthy moments. Their lives seem to be unicorns, rainbows and glitter. Meanwhile I'm dealing with dust bunnies and constantly overflowing in boxes. How can I not feel inferior?
In my heart, I know that not everything is good. Period. Life and business is imperfect, boring, dull—even sad.
I like to think that those less-than-perfect moments make the beautiful days, good times and exciting projects that much sweeter. Or for a simple analogy, I think back on the crayons of my childhood. One of my sisters hated the color Raw Umber. She thought it was ugly. Even then, Raw Umber was intriguing to me. I may not like it on its own, but when combined with other colors it makes exciting things happen. With Raw Umber as a contrast, other colors come alive. Things can't be jazzy and bright all the time. We need balance make other things soar. (You can also look at that photo at the top of the page. I shot it a couple of weeks ago in Maine. Picture the glorious blue sky and red and white lighthouse. To me the rocks, cables and dark water made the scene interesting—adding depth and mystery.)
I truly believe it is the same with business and life.
I've always been lucky to have a variety of projects to work on. Detail heavy information design, heavily-formatted sales promotion, true production work and more exciting logos and branding. My solutions are sound and they get the job done cleanly, neatly and efficiently.
I spent this morning combing through data to create sample sheets for a client. It took hours of focus reading small type, referring to product sheets and online resources. It also took a deep understanding of my client's product line and processes. The one-color labels don't look like much. But I know that by spending the time to do them properly they solve a real and true problem—and that is something to be proud of. Are you ever going to see them here on my blog? Not likely.
I urge you to remember this as you scan the internet. Don't feel envious or get discouraged. Take what you see with a grain of salt. It is OK to celebrate the good—we all should. For now, take a deep breath and do the best you can with what is in front of you. Bring your value to the project at hand. And if you aren't getting creative fulfillment from your work, find it in your personal life.