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THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES AS PRODUCT DESIGNERS AND HOW TO AVIOD THEM

(Written in 2014 when I was looking for a job in design. This might help you guys.)

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

Have you ever come across a family friend, who you never met before? And after talking to them, you were speechless and wished you met them sooner to help you make your product design career dream come true.

For months after my design degree I lived in a negative bubble. Doubting myself from left right and centre.

Constant self sabotage.

From endless portfolio emails to repetitive conversations with recruiters about my design thinking and concepts, rejection was about to destroy me.

I had enough. I felt like a failure.

One day my mum was determined to take me with her to a gathering with family friends.

Actually thinking back, was it my mum or was it fate pulling me to witness something magical that was going to take place in that evening.

My negative bubble was going to be demolished sooner than I had imagined.

1. IF I COULD JUST GET X, MY LIFE WOULD BE AMAZING…

The gathering began with the same old topics. Nothing new. There wasn’t any creativeness. Just negativity in the air. There wasn’t talk about dreams.

I couldn’t take it much longer, because it was boring. So I went to get myself a drink as I thought…

“If I could get better breaks in life, my life would be amazing.”

These are the lies we say to ourselves.

“If I had the money, if I was better looking, if I was taller, if I was slimmer, if I wasn’t overweight, if I was born in a rich family, had a better car, knew rich people – my life would be amazing…”

Lies which prevent us to see what we have achieved so far and what we can do right now, with what we have.

I suddenly saw a well dressed quiet woman walk past me. Her name was Andria. Throughout the evening she kept herself to herself. I thought she was a shy person, saying to myself “oh bless her”.

More like bless me.

Something happened. Andria said to me with a massive smile across her face…

“So I heard that you got a 1st class in product design… WOW that’s awesome! Can I see your design projects please?”

I was awkwardly hesitant just trying to make minimal eye contact with this woman, because I didn’t know how to handle the situation.

I didn’t believe in myself and there she was, this woman celebrating my design talent.

What was going on?

2. IF I SAY THIS OR THAT, PEOPLE WILL THINK I’M STUPID.

After she looked through my design portfolio on my phone, Andria was excitingly jumping up and down and said…

“Wow, wow, wow, Weaam you’re a genius designer! Adam come downstairs meet this product designer in the house!”

I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of my eyes.

Yes, I pinched myself.

This cool ‘quiet’ (well now we all know that quiet is the next extraordinary) man who was called Adam Taha (her husband), was looking at my design work.

He slowly moved away from me and Andria’s conversation. He didn’t have any face expressions just pure focus on my work.

For the first time in my life I felt that I had a purpose, a goal, and finally to believe that my design career can be possible.

You see, life can hammer at you a million times but it only takes ten seconds for you to find yourself smiling.

It only takes a person to have belief in you to make you feel like you can make a difference in the world with your design talent.

They didn’t talk about themselves.

It was all focused on my designs, what I wanted to do with my life and achieve.

3. NOTHING LIKE THIS EVER HAPPENS TO PEOPLE LIKE ME

Whether you think that experience with Andria was a coincidence or you believe in things happening for a reason – I truly believe I was sent a guarding angel to stop me doing the stupidest thing ever.

Listening to the lies I’ve been telling myself unconsciously and to waste my talent.

I’ve listened enough times to these lies and the perception that other people who can succeed in life and who can’t.

It would have wasted my design talent.

It turned out that the couple had an influence in the world.

Adam has been mentoring people from his early teens and now in his 40s. A secret mentor and well-known global marketer who helps people to develop their strategy and position themselves in the market place using the internet.

Andria is a fantastic computer programmer who has raised herself in the ranks very fast due to his mentorship and her hard work. She works for a large successful company.

It would have been easy to see how they dressed casual and think they are like everyone else I met.

Who ever said – don’t judge a book by the cover was smart.

4. I WOULD CHANGE BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE OF…

When Adam finished observing my design concepts he said…

“How bad do you really want to become a product designer?”

I paused and took a deep breath for a second, because no one has ever asked me such a question.

“I was born to be a product designer, it’s my life… its who I am…but I don’t believe that I am as good as you and Andria are making it out”

The couple froze in shock with their bottom jaws on the floor.

5. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING

Adam looked at my work, looked up at me and then looked at the concepts and finished product designs.

“Erm Weaam, so your telling me that you got a 1st class but yet you don’t know how good you are… are you feeling right in the head”. His tone changed into a firm question as he stared into my eyes without flinching.

I felt confused and embarrassed.

I left the couple to take a breather.

Half an hour later, they only went and left the kitchen leaving me wondering what I did wrong.

Was it too good to be true?

Instant negative thoughts were rushing in my mind. I thought…

I should have marketed myself better… but how… but no… I’m not that good of a designer anyway. Wait! I know what I’m doing. I’m a product designer. I know more about what can be achieved and what not in the design world…

It was time to go home and there was still no sign of the couple.

Just as I stepped outside the door, Adam walked down the downstairs and handed me five A4 sheets and told me to read them when I arrived home.

Well, surely I had a spark that he saw, which I couldn’t see myself at the time.

I didn’t know this back then, but this experience with Adam and Andria was the first step that would change my life forever.

The knowledge he was about to bring, the marketing techniques, the large team of marketers and web designers Adam had was about to open for me.

But before this ever happened, I still had doubts.

How can Adam really help me?
What can he do that others can’t do?
What if I fail?

What if a product design career is for rich people and not really for someone like me?

Can I trust Adam?

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK…

If you want to have a chat about my article or have been inspired to share your own story.

Please don’t be nervous and go ahead… message me anytime!