Asking Other People Their Opinion About Your Work Is Tricky Business

 
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We, as creatives, have a tricky job: keep inventing amazing things and top our last killer idea or design ... we are basically our own competition along with our actual competition.  I don't know about you, but I am typically 'over' my last great idea and onto feeling the need to make the next one even better!

THAT CAN BE VERY DRAINING

When I'm feeling 'on the fence' about one of my ideas I have been known to show them to people I trust and ask their opinion of my work ... I'm guessing most of us have done this or do this regularly to get a pulse on:

WHETHER YOU SUCK OR NOT

... am I right??  Now, sometimes I make the mistake of doing this:

"WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS?"

... instead of this:

"DO YOU LIKE THIS DESIGN BETTER WITH THE LINES OR WITHOUT THE LINES?"

... see what I did there?  The first type of questioning is 'open ended' and let's the other opinionated person say whatever they think ... coming from a 'non website designer' point of view and picking my work apart when I didn't even want to know most of everything they are saying ... which leaves me feeling defensive :(  and it's not their fault because I asked an OPEN ENDED QUESTION which wasn't super smart on my end. The second type of question is FOCUSED and DRIVEN to the part of my work that I am having second thoughts on and leaves the person answering to only focus on that bit of my work ... and whatever they say won't offend me because I truly want to know!

Now, there are people out there who:

ASK QUESTIONS SO YOU'LL TELL THEM THEY ARE AMAZING

Oof.  Here's the issue with that ... if you are asked: "what do you think of my work ..." by a person who is really wanting to hear you say: "it's awesome, perfect, lovely ... wouldn't change a thing" and you are the type of person who will honestly answer a question ... welp, it's gonna get super awkward ... so here is my advice:

DON'T DO IT

In my experience it's much better to be guided when answering open ended questions ... so if someone asks you for your blanket opinion you might consider doing this to save yourself from getting into trouble with a 'foot in your mouth' sandwich:

  • Get clarification with questions back like: which part are you concerned about?
  • Ask them if they are really looking for your opinion: which sounds bitchy, but throwing a laugh in while you ask will soften it up a bit ;)
  • Stay in the safe zone and tell them you love it: not my favorite, but definitely a safe bet!

I hate open ended questions unless I know I'm answering them because the other person is REALLY LOOKING for my opinion ... it always feels uneasy going into 'unchartered question territory' without a real lead on what you are really responding to.

HAVE YOUR PEOPLE

I have 'my people' who I always ask when I'm feeling 'stuck' on something ... as a creative it's necessary to have people who share your level of standards ... who you trust and share opinions with but who also help you grow creatively and help you see something you didn't even realize or see yourself!

I always laugh in the episode of 'Sex and the City' where they are discussing therapy and Stanford names all the different types of therapists he has depending on the 'mood' or 'needs' he has in that moment ... one to coddle him, one for tough love, and one when he just wants to look at a handsome man ... that is true in business and asking for opinions too ... have your people and know which one you need in your specific moments ... it's also important to know yourself and be honest as to what you are looking for in answers:

DO YOU WANT THE TRUTH OR JUST TO FEEL VALIDATED THAT YOU DON'T SUCK

... and it's ok to have moments where you just want someone to tell you that you are great at what you do :)

BONUS BLOG POST

... a great follow-up post to this one is when I blogged about who you are asking advice from <<

XO~ Heather