I remember putting my charcoal drawing up against the wall with everyone else’s. In art classes, you have to get used to having your work critiqued. I was proud of my drawing but, compared to others on the wall, I knew it was not the best.
I was in college studying graphic design, and drawing was one of the classes that I struggled with. To be honest, I didn’t believe in myself. Being surrounded by such seemingly effortless talent was downright intimidating, and it was very easy to convince myself that I was not as good as they were. It also didn’t help that I was my own toughest critic.
Well, fast forward to 2013. For almost three years, I’ve owned a small paper goods business that I’m proud of, and I now call myself a designer. I may not be the best of the best out there (yet), but I truly believe I was put on this earth to create, to bring ideas to life and to design. I love what I do and it lights my heart on fire. That is more than enough for me.
Do I still get intimidated by other talented designers? Oh, yes. Do I find myself comparing and wishing I had some of their design skills? You bet. In the past, I’ve let my fear of not being good enough paralyze me and stop me from making progress.
However, I am slowly learning that I am my own person. I have my own design aesthetic, personality and voice as well as strengths and weaknesses. What I can do is strive to be the best I can be and improve my skill set. I would definitely not be where I am if not for these doubts and fears that humble me and push me to ask more of myself.
Nicknamed by her best friends as Leen Machine, Paulene is a designer and runner on a mission to do all things with love. Her paper goods business, Leen Machine Paper Studio, provides her with a creative outlet to design simple, modern pieces with pops of color.
Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.