This is an edited transcript of Episode 001 of Design, In Confidence, mindfulness & design podcast with Stefano Bellucci Sessa’s learnings on creative confidence, emotional intelligence, and mental health.
Have you ever had an idea, but never started it?
Like writing a book, planning a trip, change job, the culture of your workplace, or even start your own business?
But you’ve never done it because you feel that you’re not the right person, or you don’t know where to start from.
In confidence, it happens to me, too.
It happened so many times in my life. There are many things that I never started, or that took me a long time to have the confidence to finally start them.
I could hear a voice inside me like… Zazu from The Lion King.
“You are nobody to start.”
I still feel insecure about starting something new, even if I’ve just started my first podcast ever.
I feel that nobody’s going to care about what I’m sharing.
Design and mindfulness helped me understand why and how I think.
They make me pay attention, be curious and ask Zazu “why” I feel these things. And Zazu tells me:
“nobody will care because you will share your experience and knowledge”
and I ask:
“Why is that a problem?”
“well, because you don’t know that much”
I need to say that it’s actually true.
I don’t know much about podcasts.
I’m an absolute beginner. Just I needed to start somewhere.
On mindfulness and mental health, I’m not an expert.
But I’ll share what I am an expert of: my emotions and my experiences as a designer.
But I realised, also that Zazu questions how much I know about design, even if I’ve been designing for 10 years in my life. So I asked Zazu:
Going deep, I realise, that I feel I don’t have a lot to share is because I’m always unfair with my self-evaluation.
I always think about how much more I can learn and achieve.
“Well, because you’re a perfectionist.”
I apply that to so many areas of my life.
From the number of times I’ve recorded the first episode, to every pixel perfect, every interaction of a project, every project itself or how it needs to be run.
But most of all, I want to be perfect.
Which is impossible because perfection does not exist.
How thoughts get in the way
There are three different things that happened.
- I stop and do nothing.
e.g. I’ve looked about how I can sell T-shirts online with my illustrations.
- I learn a lot about it, but never get to actually start.
e.g. I learned a lot about companies I wanted to work for, but never actually applied.
- I stopped thinking, and I took too many risks.
e.g. I applied for a job, without even investigating enough about all the reasons why maybe I was a good fit.
I’m worried. And that’s ok.
It’s not about stopping thinking in a negative way.
I’m not suggesting you to silence “your little Zazu”, but to also starting to think in a positive and practical way.
Thanks to “your little Zazu” that you can address all the risks and the fears of what’s ahead of you.
It’s not about only thinking, “why not?”, but also “why” and “how”.
Once you start to think, why and how, it’s inspiring because it’s going to help you be motivated by imagining your idea better.
And then, it will help you break it down into smaller parts, that you can start planning individually — some soon, some later.
You don’t need to address all of them before you start, including the risks and fears. You will see areas of improvement and start with those that, maybe, you need to address before the start.
And it’s ok to address many others later. Once you see things as a work in progress, you’re going to realise that they don’t need to be perfect.
Starting means starting a journey.
I really started to see life as a journey, when I discovered this quote:
“Wherever you are in life, you have two steps behind someone else.”
– Unknown (To me: let me know if you know)
That quote brought me to teach, blog, and mentor others.
And this is also why I’m making this podcast for you.
I might be two steps in front of you, that are good enough for you to take those two extra steps.
I’m not the best. And that’s ok.
Hopefully, this podcast will help you make those two steps towards someone that is the best person for you.
Like a mindfulness or mental health expert, your line manager or boss. Talk with them.
The podcast might address topics that make you understand what they need to help you with to build your creative confidence.
They are the best people to help you.
Or maybe you are a leader or a line manager.
What I share might help you empathise with them – if I felt in that way, maybe they feel these things too.
Be mindful that I’m just good enough, and not the best person.
Talk to them – they are the best people to talk about their own experiences. Make sure that you don’t project what I talk about on them.
I’m simply aware of all the struggles of the creative process and I’ve been empathetic with those I facilitated in innovation and design projects.
I share what I feel, because of this quote:
And I invite you to do the same.
Some listeners/readers may be on a journey closer to yours than mine. They might struggle and looking for answers, that you might have.
Make of your mess, your message, by reaching out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share any tips reflections that you have about how you build your creative confidence.
I don’t know yet. And that’s ok.
And, in confidence, I don’t know how I’m going to share what you share with me until you have done it.
I have many ideas about this podcast, and this is one of them.
But I’m not allowing myself to think about it too much, because there are so many uncertainties that I cannot allow myself to figure it out before I start.
Start small, start simple, and start with something that is good enough to start with.
And it’s ok you start with something that doesn’t look at all like your idea.
In confidence, the Design, in Confidence podcast took many shapes in the past 2 years:
- As a blog where I wrote about mental health and design.
- As aninterview on the Being Freelancer podcast
- As talks at conferences.
- As a teaser webpage, asking people if they were interested in subscribing to the newsletter
- As a preview episode share with a few friends
All these steps helped me build the confidence and start to understand better how the idea of the podcast was meant to happen.
It’s not perfect. And that’s ok.
Let me know if you find the podcast (and this transcript) valuable, or how I can make it more valuable for you.
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I know that is a work in progress.
I just accept that I’m a beginner and actually, that’s the fun of it.
This helps me accept that this podcast is not going to sound perfect. Actually, if in a few weeks from now or months I’m going to listen to this podcast, and not hear how badly I sound — it will mean that I didn’t learn anything on the way.
I’m sure that will happen, and I’m sure that are going to make this better because of my perfectionism.
Yes, perfection does not exist, but my perfectionist does — and mindfulness helps me pay attention to it so they don’t turn it down but become friend with it.
In this way, I can control perfectionism to my advantage, instead of making it control me.
I’m going to channel it to help me imagine an ideal guiding star — which I’m going to place in the future, a little bit blurry.
It will first motivate me to start, but with something that is good enough to start with, and then motivate me to keep going on my journey, making it better enough to progress. Step by step.
Do I feel more than good enough to you?
If you believe that what and how I share doesn’t have many mistakes, it’s because unconsciously I’m migrating learnings from other things I’ve done in my life before.
And that might happen to you too.
So trust yourself.
You might have hidden potential that you are not aware of, or you struggle to acknowledge, that actually makes you more than good enough in starting what you want to start. So start it.
And let me know how it goes.
Let me know how you found the confidence to start something new or if you have any questions.
Reach out at email@example.com.
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Tell people why you found this valuable, and that you are a safe space to find support in building their creative confidence.
If you got this far, I’m sure you’re a great listener — which I thank you for.
And now, it’s time to listen to your thoughts after this episode.
And remember to thank yourself, for the time you spent to learn, and grow.