I’ve just spent the best part of a week wondering whether my outside-the-box logo design was a winner, having entered a staff competition to design one for my employer’s Diversity and Inclusion network. The winner should have been announced on Friday, but wasn’t.
At this point I feel like I’m in limbo, unwilling to move onto another project and so facing another pause in my prolific creativeness. On the flip side, this is a great time to reflect on what I’m feeling and where I go from here, and I’ll write about these insights over the next few posts.
Most work competitions involve a quiz or a guess the quantity of something, so a logo challenge excited me, closely followed by my well-rehearsed feelings of self-doubt – “five days isn’t long enough / what am I going to do? / will anyone like it? / my last one was terrible…” and so on.
When I was 15 I designed the winning logo for a local charity competition, and received lots of publicity, with my photo in the local press, and an interview on local radio. I even met charity patron Kathy Botham (wife of Ian), and the Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, who was appearing at the local theatre. I’d won prizes in several school art competitions before and after then, and decided my future was in art. However, another attempt at logo design was disastrous, prompting my sixth form art teacher to suggest I specialise in fine art instead of graphics. It felt like I’d gone over the highest peak of my artistic potential and had started the slow descent.
You can imagine why it’s often easier to walk away from a challenge, if only to quieten the critical conversation you’re having in your head. But I didn’t want to make up a pitiful excuse for not bothering (“my colleagues know I’m creative, they’ll expect me to enter”). My only choice was to try.
Lesson 1: Acknowledge your fear, and coax it forward, or it will hold you back.
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