WIP - PART III: Starting From the Bottom

Paving Your Own Path

I have been feeling a little depressed lately. My schedule has been very hectic with work so inconsistent. I feel anxious most of the time. I try to do what I can and yet I know there is more I can do. When I look at that list of must-dos, I get overwhelmed. Breaking down these goals into tasks helps. But with every day posing its own challenges, things are moved back. This is where I found this blog going. There was not anything positive coming through what I am going through. I kept thinking if I want to write and share about something, I want it to have some value for others. How can depressing feelings and failures motivate anyone?

Because it is the truth. I think there is value in being honest and the truth is that paving your own way is hard. Like every success story, there are setbacks, inconsistencies and failures. I still believe that I can make the most of what I have. There are still many opportunities out there, but seeing them and taking advantage of them is what is difficult. I am still training myself to build a consistent routine among the chaos. And trust me, there is a lot of chaos in everyone’s life. All we can do is what we can.

 

What I Have Been Struggling With

There are many factors that can affect us and our work - professional and personal. Most of my own fears is anxiety and self-worth. A little anxiety keeps us on our toes. A lot of anxiety can cripple us. I have been trying to focus my anxiety into work: new portfolio projects, project proposals and other client work. But with projects coming to a close and familiar accounts drying up, I worry for what is next. What is next? I tend to think of the worse before something better. I am working on this kind of attitude. Maybe it is because I want to be realistic, but having hope or positivity does not hurt. In fact, it can be the solution to anxiety.

Another doubt of mine is self-worth. In sales and marketing, we are showcasing and highlighting a product or service and explain why someone else would want or need it. As a freelance graphic designer, I should be doing that daily. Why am I worth what I am? What value can I offer someone else? What is my work desirable over someone else’s? It is hard to separate these branding/marketing questions as business or personal.

Business is between people and people not people and things. This is what I have come to learn. When you encounter someone, you encounter a person with ideas and values. You come to learn of their ideas and values through that person. So if I am a person who is self-conscious and anxious, will someone be able to take me seriously? If the work I produce is of low quality or inconsistent, can I be trusted to respond and lead? Building a brand is more than just developing a logo or aesthetic. It is finding out who you really are and what you can offer to the world.

 

Working Through Things

I find through writing and talking that I can discover solutions to my problems. It is like there were always inside me (or inside my head). It is like forming a question in a new way, finally understanding it and now knowing the solution. The answers can be very clear and simple despite over-complicating the question or circumstances. Most of the time, my worries are all in my head. I am human and I do not know all the answers.

You are not the only one if you think this. So many of us can get lost in the fog. Some give up. Some just go back to what is familiar. Some ask for help and work it out. Getting other people’s opinions and ideas on these issues is a good idea if you feel comfortable opening yourself to it. Just like I said, it might just be in your head. We can be very hard on ourselves, when we should not be. There are things that are in control and other factors that are not. Discerning the difference is important.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
— Matthew 26:41

Applying the solutions is the next daunting task. This is where I get into a rut sometimes. After listening to podcasts and reading up on new business books, implementing these new habits is not easy. It requires changes, flexibility sacrifice, and perseverance. And most especially, I think, change requires time. When I joined Communo, a professional community for professionals in marketing and business, I was surprised to hear from other members that they were happy that I was so open for my age. After reflecting, I guess it is because we can easily become set in our ways that change, even for the better, comes harder as we get older.

Working through your own problems can be solved by learning through someone else’s experiences. I am learning through the Communo community that there are people who believe that our personal success is a success for everyone - whether that be in your respective field or industry, country or world. Great artists, musicians, doctors, technicians and world leaders have not only changed our minds on issues but have also influenced our ideas and opinions. There is something only you can offer and with you, when you do not fulfill your purpose, the world loses the gift that you are meant to give.

 

Something to Offer

Everyone has something to offer to make the world a better place. These gifts, talents and skills may be valued through money, influence, inspiration or admiration. Whichever way, you are someone with a choice. You can struggle, work and achieve something worthwhile in this life. It will be hard and difficult. The answers are hidden in your life experiences. You will be demanded to sacrifice you time, money and effort. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Perhaps. But what is the alternative?

Wallowing in depression is dangerous. I have been there. I know what it is like. I can empathize - to an extent. Because I believe in the human spirit. I believe anyone and can be anything despite the circumstances, that we can rise above and succeed. Yes, the days can become dark. But the seasons change. And change is coming, if you let it. ■

Patricia Atienza