I remember the past 8 years as a constant battle against never-ending anxieties. Being a creative person, I always found the most imaginative ways to boycott what should have been an enjoyable journey. I work in the video games industry as an artist and have met the most incredible people and lived amazing experiences thanks to it. Still, until very recently, I haven’t been able to realize this.
Of course, not everyone with a creative mindset has this problem, but I also know for a fact that I am not the only one with this issue.
Many of the people I have worked with share similar issues. We aren’t able to easily control our fears and insecurities. Sometimes the consequences of these mindsets have been severe.
Insomnia, unsuccessful relationships both with co-workers and managers, becoming defensive on a feedback session, or leaving a job because of unsupported suspicions of being unvalued are some examples of very toxic behaviors that can occur due to this.
In this article, I want to share some of the thought processes I’ve put together over the years to solve these obsessive issues.
These came from many different sources. While some of my managers and co-workers gave me these pieces of advice, most of them have been gained from endless moments spent thinking about what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t enjoying what I had always pictured as my dream.
Segment 1 - Find your limits and be mindful that you did your best.
A person can only do so much in one day. This is one of the basic rules I follow when I am not sure about my performance. If you constantly go home thinking that you could have done more when you already had done your very best, you are then putting too much weight on your shoulders, and that’s never good. This can lead to taking desperate measures to fix an issue that can easily be avoided.
If you are thinking about spending more time in the office to get things done and “give the best of you,” then you are tackling the issue by risking a big burnout.
Working days usually last 8 hours, but a good professional can only give the best of them for around 6 hours a day during the day. The more you spend, the more you are introducing the circle of stress into your life. You are less performant because you are not relaxed, so you spend more time, which makes you tired and weak of mind.
Spend 6 good hours, where you know you have been doing great, and take regular breaks to drink water and eat a piece of fruit. Rest your eyes and sleep well. These are pieces of advice that my psychologist gave me, and they work like magic.
Something else you can do is set goals for yourself. This has to be done properly tho. Sit down with your lead or line manager and plan what you will be doing for the week. Then break down these tasks for each day of the week. If you have completed them all, you are good to rest when you are home as you achieved your goals for the day.
When all fails, there can be many factors that influence our bad performance. Let’s now focus on a crucial part of growing as a professional. Asking for help.
Segment 2 - Seeking help doesn’t devaluate our professionalism.
When things are out of our reach, or we weren’t able to complete a task, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not fit for a job. Bad time management, tools failure, being tired… At the end of the day, there are many factors that we aren’t able to control. We are humans, and we fail often.
If you cannot communicate with your managers about this, chances are they will not know what is going on with you and take measures that don’t solve your specific issues.
To avoid this, you have to be upfront about your insecurities and talk about them with the pertinent person. Be mindful that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help or advice or even politely turn down a particular task because you think it’s too big for you. Of course, you should really be convinced that this is the case. It’s better than them realizing you aren’t and taking the assignment from you.
I’ve had assets taken off me a couple of times, and it’s not a good feeling, so I always try to avoid it by communicating. It will leave you in a higher position than the opposite situation.
The moral of the story is, don’t reach the point where you don’t want to continue to do what you once loved. It is absolutely miserable. When it happened to me, I felt lost like never before, and it took me years to recover from it.
After applying these two simple rules to my life, I was able to go back to being a happy worker and live my dream.