success

Real Talk

THE LONELINESS OF SOLO BUSINESS

 
Real Talk by Kitiya palaskas.jpg

As a solo business owner, there are certain parts of the job that can get a little lonely. Many nights and days are spent hunched over your computer or phone, hustling, making connections, wearing all the hats and all the while remaining the ‘effervescent and impossibly fresh’ face of your business, championing it till the cows come home. This is tiring stuff!

Having someone to bounce ideas off, splitting tasks, dividing accountability so you can bolster each other up are things I dream about. Of course there’s amazing things about going it alone – you can take things in any direction you like, whatever you make is yours and you only have yourself to rely on. But there is definitely a sense of isolation that comes with it. I’ve found that the single most important thing to remember in combating this kind of solitariness is to look after yourself. If it’s just you then you’ve only got you to worry about taking care of (besides all your clients and networks and family and friends of course!) But before all them, you come first, because if you’re not on top of your game, you have no chance of doing the same for those around you. I’ve put together a few of my go to coping mechanisms below:

  • Constant journaling: I write everything down. Whether it’s a task on my to do list, a note to myself, or a quote I like. I try to regularly (mostly it’s down to weekly unless I’m on a roll), journal about how I’m feeling, what’s happening for me and what I think about certain situations and events happening in my life. Getting it down on paper and out of my head definitely clears out a lot of the thoughts that swirl around making it hard to concentrate.

  • Talking to people: call a friend. Call your mum. Whoever it is that you can talk openly and freely about what’s going on for you, call them! Or visit. Or meet for coffee. There is something so comforting about human connection, and simply having someone that you trust hear what you’re saying, relieves you of so many burdens. Knowing you’re not alone is a very powerful thing. And I can absolutely say with confidence, you are most certainly not alone.

  • Following on from that, I think it’s important to surround yourself with trusted people that you know you can rely on for advice, help, support or just an ear to listen. Humans were supposed to belong to tribes, so it’s no wonder we thrive on having one around us. Find yours and utilise it.

  • Let yourself feel things: so often we feel an emotion arise and we’re either too busy or too embarrassed to let it just come out, in all its glory. I always try to let myself feel an emotion as it comes up. Even if it’s just for a short time, I find that if I let myself feel it, I can more quickly move through it. It also is great practice for understanding your emotions and triggers. Feel the feels.

  • The last one is to try not to be too hard on yourself. This one is, funnily enough, the hardest one for me, as I am typically extremely critical on myself. It’s in our nature to compare ourselves with others, which is totally fine to do, but when it consumes you, you can run the risk of losing yourself in the process. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed with what I’m doing/not doing and what everyone else is doing/not doing, I take a literal step back (I stand up from my desk and step back, sounds silly but it works), and take a look at all the things I currently have and what they’re allowing me to do (what I’m grateful for having currently) and I remind myself that I am not other people, that I’m unique and they’re probably going through the very same stuff at the same time about someone else. Everyone’s just on their own ride and we’re all trying to work stuff out.

Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re doing it solo or with others, remember that you’re doing an amazing job and you’re going to be ok.


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Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!

 

Real Talk

SOCIAL MEDIA AND SUCCESS

 
Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

The effects of social media on our creative wellbeing is a topic I could honestly rant about for days, because I have a real love/hate relationship with social media. While I can't deny it's been instrumental to me for brand exposure and has helped me book a lot of jobs, it's also fuelled so many of my creativity-based mental struggles over the years. I'm sure many of you can relate! Social media seems to play a big part in a lot of wellbeing issues actually, so for this reason we'll undoubtedly talk about it again in future themes, but today I wanted to write about social media in the context of how using it can affect our views on success. 

Using social media to gauge success in any way can be problematic at best. For starters, reality is questionable on social media. Is what we're really seeing or reading an accurate depiction of real life? Also, we choose what to share and when. You might come across a feed with hardly anything in it, does that mean that person is less successful than someone with hundreds of posts? They could just be choosing not to share all of their achievements online, all the time. And if you don't use social media at all? If success is defined by what you share and you don't share anything, does that mean you suck? And what about interaction? We know that having a lot of likes and comments can help propel the success of your brand, but with algorithms controlling a lot of social media content these days, can we really measure the success of a brand accurately based on interactions? Like I said, it's problematic. 

When machines define success
So, algorithms. We know they play a big part in how our audiences are seeing and interacting with the content we share on social media. This is an accepted fact. I hear so many creative people stressing about how algorithm changes are affecting their ability attract customers and clients. I have definitely noticed this myself as well, and sometimes when I'm thinking about it, my thoughts spiral out of control and I wonder whether it's actually not the algorithm at all. Maybe people just don't like me anymore? Then I feel really shit and  have to snap out of it because this kind of thinking is NOT productive! We seem to spend an insane amount of time measuring our success on likes, and it seems that less likes = less successful. We know algorithms control likes now, and an algorithm is controlled by a machine. So, are we letting a machine dictate the way we feel about our own success?!  Guys, that's f*cked up! But seriously, laying it all out like that kind of gives some perspective on the whole thing doesn't it? If we can realise just how ridiculous the concept is, maybe we'll attach less importance to likes and other similar interactions. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't define you, it's just a heart on a screen.

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Dealing with 'unreality'
You can't scroll far on social media without coming across some kind of unrealistic portrayal of perfection, success or happiness. We all know this phenomenon exists and we've all bought into it to some extent.  I mean, if i had to choose between sharing a picture of me looking fresh and fancy on my way to da club, or my hangover photo from the next morning, we all know I'm opting for fresh and fancy because nobody wants to see me hungover (trust me). We buy into this when we double tap on (or post) photos of impossibly tidy studios, immaculately styled Work In Progress shots, and beautiful hero images of new projects. And why not? In a lot of ways, social media is an extension of your portfolio, and a legitimate place to attract potential clients, so of course you're going to want it to appear at its best. I don't think there's anything wrong with portraying your brand in its best light on social media, or for that matter wanting to look at something pretty rather than something hungover (because there's enough of that in the mirror thank you very much!). It's how you choose to process this content that matters. 

I know that seeing all this perfect stuff on the regular can make us feel inadequate, like we're lacking in some way because our lives don't look like what we see online. This is where the problem occurs - when you start believing that this is what people's lives look like all the time, and that the story stops at the point of posting, at that point of perceived perfection and success. But let's tell it like it is, no one's life looks like this all the time! Repeat this to yourself until it sticks! I can guarantee that just out of shot lurks the studio rubbish bin that hasn't been emptied for 3 months, the 5 other WIPs composed mainly of stick figures, the fuglier version of the hero shot before Photoshop, and any number of other things that were too real to make the cut. If you can take what you see with a grain of salt,  it might lessen those feelings of inadequacy and let you enjoy social media for what it really is, a curation.

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Comparison kills creativity
Comparison is an evil offshoot of inadequacy. When faced with an endless scroll of everyone's achievements and accolades it's easy to fall into the comparison trap. This is a really hard one because once you start comparing yourself to someone else it can be really difficult to shake it off. Comparison can also be a total creativity killer. It's hard to produce work you love when you're pre-occupied with comparing it to everyone else's. And not producing work you love will probably make you feel more shit, am I right? This all sounds pretty bleak TBH, so how can we combat this? This is the point where I'll repeat the life lesson I shared in our first article this month: SUCCESS IS RELATIVE!  Stop scrolling, seriously mate stop, breathe, and spend a few minutes reminding yourself of your own incredible achievements. Remember that everyone's creative path is different and that something amazing that someone else just posted has no bearing whatsoever on how successful YOU are. 

Image:    Giphy

Image: Giphy


Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!

 

Real Talk

I FAKED MY WAY IN HERE: SOME THOUGHTS ON IMPOSTER SYNDROME

 
Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Last year I got invited to speak at a BIG conference. It was the sort of event where there were maybe 2000 people in the audience and even more watching live from around the world (so no pressure or anything!) On the day, when I entered the green room to prep for my talk, I found it already full of other speakers. I knew them all by reputation already of course - they were heads of design agencies, industry game changers, and successful creative entrepreneurs that I had been fan-girling out on for ages prior to this moment.

As I introduced myself, hoping I didn't have lipstick on my teeth (which always happens to me in situations like this), I thought: "I hope I can be a successful designer too one day. I wonder what it feels like to be legit and speak at big conferences like this..." Then I remembered, DERP, I was speaking at this conference. I was here for the exact same reason as them. So how come I didn't feel as legit?

Don't get me wrong, in general I am quite comfortable with owning my talent and skills and recognising that I am a legitimate designer, but sometimes, in moments like these I can feel like I've somehow faked my way into this scenario and someone will eventually realise this and expose me for the fraud that I am. Standing there in that room, my brain started to churn with thoughts like: "Is it a mistake that I was invited?", "They're probably all wondering what I'm doing here", and  "I don't have any actual talent like these guys, I just hot glue stuff!"  I know this sounds ridiculous, but hey, imposter syndrome IS ridiculous. And yet, it's a thing! 

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

According to the dictionary imposter syndrome is a term used to describe "a false and sometimes crippling belief that one's successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill". I feel you dictionary. I feel you. But where does it come from? No one at that conference was actually sitting there pointing at me being like "She faked her way in here! Get her off stage!", and yet I found myself believing it to be true in that particular moment. Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? When does it manifest for you? It may not happen in every scenario, but if it does, I find it's usually at times when:

  • I'm being praised or recognised for my work or achievements

  • I win a pitch for a job with a big client

  • I achieve something or get an opportunity that's so awesome it feels too good to be true

  • I find myself in a social setting with big-name people from my industry and get asked "So, what do you do?"

  • I put something completely new and big out into the public for the first time (like starting this project for example!)

In writing this list, it's occurred to me that imposter syndrome usually doesn't come from anything anyone else thinks about us, it comes from inside ourselves. When someone gives us an amazing opportunity, a reward, or some kind of positive reinforcement and our negative self-talk happens to be too loud and overpowering in that moment, imposter syndrome kicks in as a manifestation of our self-doubt. 

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

I believe that identifying what imposter syndrome is,  and understanding where it comes from and when we're likely to be more susceptible to it can help to lessen it's effect on us. Recognising that it's just a by-product of our self-doubt, and that our self-doubt might be raging in this moment because we're about to do something we may be unsure of, and that these feelings are all completely normal will help to diffuse it.

One way in particular that I've personally found helps diffuse imposter syndrome-y feelings is to take a look at my portfolio of work as a whole. Whenever I'm revamping my website to add fresh work or edit out older projects, I find myself realising just how much I have actually achieved so far in my career. Looking at the body of work I have created from that zoomed-out place is a great way to gain a wonderful perspective on everything I have accomplished. I'm usually zoomed too far in on the details of things to see it like this.

In relation to this, I also feel that it's super important to make sure we celebrate our achievements, no matter how big or small. I think this is something that we as creative people often neglect to do, because, as I said, we can get so zoomed-in on certain details, or are already looking ahead to the next project without pausing to reflect on what we've just accomplished. We might still experience imposter syndrome at times, but in reminding ourselves regularly of our value, those fraudulent feelings might just be fleeting rather than forever. Taking time to truly acknowledge and celebrate each achievement is a great way to serve ourselves some ongoing validation that we are in fact legit, we do know our shit, and we definitely deserve to be here.


Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!

 

Real Talk

THE CONCEPT OF SUCCESS

 

This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

I'm super excited to announce our first monthly theme, 'Success'! I felt this was a fitting choice for our first ever theme because it's kind of what prompted me to start sharing my real talk in the first place. Worrying about whether or not we are successful is a big thing for a lot of creative people. Our view on what success means can be affected by so many different factors - our backgrounds and experiences, other people's definitions of success, misconceptions, inner demons, societal pressures, what the media tells us and so much more. This month we'll be exploring the concept of success, its varying definitions, and some of the ways in which outside factors can affect our personal views on what success means to us. We'll hear from members of the creative community, learn about Imposter Syndrome and how it can skew our view of success, get real about the not-so-real aspects of social media, and so much more. 

To get the ball rolling I wanted to share some things that I used to think about success, things I personally thought to be true, but that I now (with a bit more time and experience under my belt) consider to be misconceptions. These views were actually quite damaging to a younger me, and made me put a lot of undue pressure on myself, which didn't contribute positively to my creative wellbeing at all! Maybe you've thought them too at some point or another. So here they are, along with some rebuttals from an older, and hopefully more wiser me. 

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

The more money you have, the more successful you are.
Ew, no. Sure, I like to be paid well for my work, don't we all? But to me, my career achievements and how good I feel about them often seem completely separate to how much money they brought in. There are so many aspects of my creative life that I consider successful, and most of those have nothing to do with money at all, so there.

Success is a portfolio of big-name clients
Having big names on your client list is impressive, but it shouldn't define success. Some of the most incredible creative people I know haven't once worked for a big name client, or even a client at all in some cases!  And what defines 'big' anyway? Even that is subjective. 

Success is creativity full-time, having a day job is for plebs
Ugh, triggering. I've done both (in fact I have a day job right now!) and I can safely say, I kicked goals and achieved amazing things regardless of my full-time or part-time status. Everyone's situation is different, and just because you have a day job doesn't mean you're any less valid than someone pursuing their creative career full-time. Both are great!

Success is finding one thing and sticking to it
I hope not, because otherwise I've failed big time! I'm someone who is constantly pivoting in their career. I have so many interests and I want to pursue them all, and no one can stop me dammit. Picking just one of these interests to pursue for the rest of my creative life makes me feel totally claustrophobic actually. Why not dream big and aim for success in all your chosen fields, you don't need to pick just one!

Success is being a martyr to your craft
Gross, no. We've all met a martyr. You can recognise them by how tired and unhappy they look. I know this because I used to be one. I used to feel like if I wasn't working on my brand 100% of the time, I was failing it somehow. But slaving away late into the night, not taking breaks, thriving on stress, not eating, not showering (ew), being too busy for your friends and family... none of this makes you a 'success', it just makes you burn out! We all go through busy times as creatives, it's part of the process. But realising the importance of finding balance, nurturing your mind and body, and not feeling guilty about taking time out will actually make you better at your job, not worse.

Success means constant motivation, inspiration and dedication
No mate. Having these things is lovely and feels awesome, but it's also normal if you don't feel like this 100% of the time. Creativity can come in waves, and sometimes you're just not vibing. You would never consider someone a failure during the times they weren't 100% jazzed about their creativity, so why would you think it about yourself? 

Real Talk by Kitiya palaskas.jpg

I think it's important to say that despite feeling like I don't believe in these definitions of success anymore, sometimes I can revert back to them out of habit, and I have to try really hard to snap out that damaging way of thinking. It's a work in progress!  But if there's one main message I want to convey this month, it's that SUCCESS IS RELATIVE. It means different things to different people, it can even mean different things to the same person (at different times in their lives). Some people might not think about it that much, but to others it could be the driving force behind everything they do. No one person is the same, and no single creative path is the same, so success is going to look different for each and every one of us.  I think it's important to define success for yourself, and try to not let external factors influence this. It's also important to be open to your definition of success changing over time, mine certainly did, and will again I'm sure.

I hope you enjoy the thoughts and resources we'll be sharing in this first month of Real Talk. There's a lot of juicy stuff to discuss, so let's get stuck into it!


Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!