| Sr Product Designer


Creating Confidence and Coping with Stress in the Workplace

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.
— Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is a renowned thought leader that writes on leadership and management. His immense knowledge of human psychology and behavior allows him to provide invaluable insights that applies to the field of UX. 

Simon recently did an interview for Inside Quest on "How to Get People to Follow You" (click image above to take a listen). A particularly impactful part of his interview is The Millennial Question. When asked what his response is to that ever popular inquisition "How do you manage millennials?" Simon provided a fresh perspective to what we constantly hear about millennials in the workplace. He explained how upbringing shapes millennial expectations in adulthood, the negative impact of social media (and its easy access), and the imperativeness of how management should learn to manage millennials in their work force. A large part of his response places accountability on managers on changing the conditions of the work place.

I agree with his perspective and believe the entire interview deserves a listen if you are in a management position on your team. Simon shares some tips and talking points for managers but I know first hand how difficult it can be to navigate work culture and political systems and wanted to share 3 tips for peers who feel that they're floundering on their teams. 

Minimize negativity by substituting gratitude

One marker of insecurity is being overly apologetic. It can range from major transgressions such as being late to a meeting, or petty ones such as missing a detail on a wire or comp. Either way, the message your reaction sends is important. Saying "Sorry I'm late!" or "Sorry, I forgot that button." highlights a mistake (and probably makes you feel defeated). If there's an opportunity to express gratitude instead, try to shape the situation to that perspective. For instance, if you're late say, "Thank you for your patience!". If you overlooked a detail on a deliverable say "Thank you for highlighting that missing button! I appreciate it." Sharing gratitude includes the people you're interacting with in a positive experience, instead of adding an exclamation point to a short coming. 

Gain credibility by providing research

One drawback of being on the younger side in the corporate workforce is Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome can feed insecurity and anxiety. One method I find that helps me to confidently share my perspective on design strategy and helps to build a trustworthy representation is to state my opinion, state the decisions that I made, and back it up with research. It shows that you have the ability and passion to investigate a problem space and it gives you a stronger stance when presenting. 

Find Your Glory

Above all else, what creates confidence in yourself is working in your passion or "Finding your Glory" as I like to call it. Earnestly try to find aspects of your day - to - day job that you enjoy. It doesn't have to be the work itself, maybe there are aspects of the work culture or co-workers that lighten your spirit. If you truly can't find bright spots in your career, try immersing yourself in passion projects outside of work. Once you find your passion and live in it, it resonates through every area of your life and helps you to be creative in your day-to-day job. 

I hope these tips help! I know what it feels like to be young in the corporate workforce and these strategies helped me to re-focus my energy and come out of my slump.