How Being Uncomfortable Can Make You a Better Web Designer

Many of us crave comfort. That could be a favorite food, a warm blanket, or our ideal work environment. We feel at our best when at ease.

But it’s possible to become too comfortable. OK, maybe not when it comes to food or a blanket (one can’t have enough snuggling and pizza, right?). But it does apply to your career.

Getting too comfortable in web design leads to becoming stale. It’s easy to fall behind the times. Continuous evolution is necessary to attain long-term success.

So, how do we fight this menace? By doing the opposite. There is great benefit in putting ourselves into uncomfortable situations once in a while.

Today, we’ll look at why this works. And we’ll suggest some things you can do to shake up your career (in a good way).

A Lack of Comfort Isn’t Always Bad

We may associate a lack of comfort as a bad thing. That is true in certain instances. For example, sitting on a couch with a spring poking you in the backside. But that doesn’t apply to every situation.

As web designers, we might feel uncomfortable with many things:

  • Working with a tool we don’t like or know much about;
  • Using an unfamiliar programming language;
  • A client that requests a feature you haven’t built before;
  • Collaborating with a colleague you deem to be better skilled;

There’s a positive aspect to the above situations. They offer an opportunity to expand your horizons. And, with the right attitude, any misery they cause will be temporary.

Unlike that faulty couch, these types of situations can get better with time. They often require getting past the initial fear and uncertainty.

Do that, and things suddenly become more palatable. The skill that once was beyond your grasp is now a valued part of your repertoire. It’s entirely possible!

By exposing yourself to uncomfortable situations, you can ease your fears

Activities That Can Help Ease Your Fears

You can become a better web designer by letting yourself feel uncomfortable. Let’s take a look at some activities that can ease your fears. They’re small steps that can make a big difference.

These suggestions aren’t one-size-fits-all. But you may find one that fits your personality.

Identify Your Weakest Link

Are you struggling to learn JavaScript? Or maybe one of those new-fangled CSS layout techniques (like CSS Grid or Flexbox) has you perplexed.

Start by identifying what skills you’re uncomfortable with. Then dedicate time to learning about them.

Don’t feel like you need to become a full-on expert, however. We often put off learning because of how vast a particular subject is. There might be a fear of not measuring up to others, as well.

Every skill has a unique learning curve. And we all have different learning styles. Regardless, even incremental progress can make a positive difference in your career.

Get Out of the Office and Socialize

Web design can be a bit of a lonely profession. This lifestyle impacts freelancers who work from home particularly hard. Thus, getting out can be a big deal. And getting to know others in the industry is beneficial.

It doesn’t matter where you go. You could attend a small meetup or a large design conference. The point is to interact with fellow web professionals. And do so in a different sort of environment.

Meeting people can be stressful for some of us. But it’s an important step. You’ll break out of your echo chamber and learn about others. You can gain new perspectives, discover new tools, and commiserate with those who have faced similar challenges.

Socializing with others can help you learn new perspectives

Conduct an Experiment

This one can be both fun and scary. Think of a project that you haven’t attempted and build it. It can be related to your niche or not. The sky’s the limit.

There are many directions you can go. Let’s say your specialty is WordPress development. You could try to use the software in a new way.

Perhaps you could build a “headless” install to generate a static website. Want to go in the opposite direction? Create a JavaScript UI with a library such as React.

The process can be intimidating. But it can also be a great motivator. It might help to boost your creativity.

Contribute to the Web Design Community

Want to shake things up? Share something with the web design community. This can take several forms, including:

  • Posting your design work on a community site such as Behance or Dribbble;
  • Building an open-source tool or contributing to an existing project;
  • Blogging about your thoughts and experiences;
  • Become a mentor to others in the industry;

To a degree, this makes you a more vulnerable person. And there’s a risk of not liking all of the feedback you receive. But the experience can still be very rewarding.

You’ll have the opportunity to interact with some interesting people. It might even spark a desire to keep on contributing.

Contributing to an open-source project will boost your confidence

Keep Moving Forward

The whole point of making yourself uncomfortable is to inspire progress. You don’t have to spend every day doing something that makes you squeamish, though.

The activities mentioned above can be done at any time. And it’s OK to take it slow. The experience is valuable – even in small doses.

This, in turn, will help to keep your skills, creativity, and enjoyment of web design at their peak.

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