Asking for exactly the help you need
Six weeks into Phase 2, I decided to take the reins and ask for what I really needed — a break, and a change. It was time to acknowledge that, while I hadn’t yet solidified the processes that work for me, I could definitely identify the ones that weren’t.
I took a calculated look at my own career goals, and determined that they weren’t necessarily aligned with that of a “typical” newbie UX designer. Personally, I’m hoping to fold my new skills into a freelance career, rather than a standard nine-to-five. Inevitably, this would mean wearing more hats, and remaining flexible in my approach to creative problem-solving.
So I made a list of my strengths (research, narrative storytelling, and high-level design strategy), along with my weaknesses (time-management, logo design, and a tendency to overwork things and get lost in bottomless design rabbit holes). I decided that it was time to stop trying to make my creative process mirror another person’s, despite their obvious success. Their processes worked for them, but it was time for me to find the ones that would work for me.
I requested a new mentor, and after working with three incredibly knowledgeable and talented men, I specifically requested a woman, curious if there would be any difference in mentorship style.
Within minutes of meeting Vesna, I knew she and I were a great fit. She introduced me to Scrum, an agile framework for project management often used by software developers, and reminded me that my process may be different from hers or anyone else’s.
She also made me feel more sane. Designers have a reputation for being methodical and logical, which often reads as cool, calm and collected. I, on the other hand, feel like I’m cut from a different creative cloth — prone taking on too much, regular procrastination, and frequent distraction breaks.
In our first chat, Vesma reassured me that I wasn’t a square peg surrounded by round holes, and shared some helpful insights into her own process.
“Usually I just mess around for two days, and then do everything crying in four hours,” she said.
Of course, completing the course — just like succeeding in all work — would take some effort, but it seemed much more attainable after I took a step back and reevaluated what wasn’t working, what was working, and what I would need to move things forward. And having a mentor in my corner who matched both my personality and my personal work habits, was already making the learning that much easier.
It all comes down to finding what works — which I’ve found Designlab will help you with — and building things from there.
“You have to make some effort, then I can pull you up,” Vesna said. “But I cannot push you up!”