Episode 87

Nothing Compares 2 U

Hey, you! Quit comparing! This week on Overtime, learn how to boost your creative confidence, and start embracing the unique skills you do (and don’t have).

There are a lot of things that I’m just not very good at, and I spent many years of my career feeling really frustrated with myself...

But first, your weekly dose of design news… Are people under age 30 killing email or are they just using the internet differently? Then, we discuss an interesting concept shop that’s changing the future of retail. Tune in now!

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Meg: Heyo, baby, it’s me, your host, Meg “It’s Not Me, It’s You” Lewis, and hi! Welcome back Overtime. This is Dribbble’s very much weekly podcast where I give you design things and also some more things to help you make your very best things. This week on Overtime, are people under 30 killing email or are they just using the internet differently than those over 30? And a really interesting concept shop becomes the future of retail. Plus, how to stop comparing yourself to other people, become more self-confident, and get excited about what makes other people different from you. Let’s go!

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Let’s get right into the news today. Okay, so Fast Company published an article titled “In the New Age of Remote Work, People Under 30 Might Finally Kill Email,” which is an absolutely click-baity title. And really, that’s not what the article is about, to me at least, I really think it’s about killing email. That’s very dramatic. But rather, what’s interesting to me is the data inside because Fast Company surveyed 1,000 US remote workers, which we don’t know the demographics of what’s happening there. But we do know that they were able to divide that survey group into two categories: people under 30 versus people over 30, specifically asking them about work collaboration tools they use, and which ones they use the most. So, the thing about this article is that it’s absolutely fascinating to see how much the numbers change for the working 20-somethings that are working remotely for companies and those who are over 30.

So, oh my gosh, it’s so fascinating because it shows very clearly that people over 30, the majority are using Microsoft Outlook, which is email. I’ve never used Microsoft Outlook, probably because I’ve never had a jobby-job. I’ve never used Outlook, and I realized that a lot of companies do. But apparently, if you’re over 30, that’s what you’re using the majority of the time for workplace collaboration. And wow, okay, so definitely email. But of course, there are lots of other things, lots of other data and categories like Google Docs and Slack and all of the other options out there for project management and collaboration tools.

So, get this: the majority of people were definitely working in Outlook, under 30, only 13% are using Outlook, and the majority of people under 30 are using Google Docs as their primary workplace collaboration tool. Wow. So that’s where the click-baity title comes from. People under 30 are hardly using the same email process, at least, as people over 30 are using and they’re mostly collaborating inside of Google Docs. And what a cute future for us, I love that. And also, you find out that people under 30 are using iMessage way more than Slack or whatever Microsoft’s version of Slack, Slack Teams, something or other is, again, I’m a bad journalist.

But holy crapola people under 30 are mostly using iMessage and not really using slack, compared to people over 30. But this is fascinating information, to me at least. I’m in my very early 30s, so I think that this is an interesting place for me to be in because I kind of feel a little bit between the two where I think, definitely I feel like [with] email, we have we have to have something different and better by now. But I also know that email is really important, and do we need to kill it all together? I don’t know, I don’t really want to come up with the answer to that. That seems like a lot of work. But I also use Google Drive and Google Docs constantly to collaborate with people. But I also love me some slack, and I use that for every friend group and, you know, sort of networking group that I belong to. So, I definitely feel like my workplace collaboration tools definitely trend right in between these two groups of under 30 and over 30, but that makes sense.

Now, the next story I want to talk about is very exciting to me because I’m just very interested in it and I would assume for you, it’s much more pleasant to listen to a topic that Meg is really interested in talking about, right? I mean, technically I get to choose everything I talk about on this podcast, so why am I bothering with talking about things I’m not interested in? Oh yeah, because I’m supposed to be reporting on to design news. Oh, boom. But you know, sometimes I am interested in design news like this story.

So, there’s a designer turned art director, maybe interior designer called Shannon Maldonado who lives in Philadelphia, who started a physical store/online store currently called Yowie. And Shannon has created an IFundWomen campaign for Yowie as of late, because she is looking to redesign Yowie into this brand new, modular multi-floor, sort of multi-use flex space place. And I think this is totally a business model of the future, probably not the near future because honestly, it’s not really safe to be going into mixed use spaces right now. But we can still help fund this project because hopefully it’ll happen sometime in the future, and what better time to build a foundation to hit the ground running as soon as this vaccine or whatever hopefully happens.

But anyway, so Shana Maldonado is a beautiful designer, very talented because Yowie is a gorgeous space currently. And Shannon has the fame, through Yowie’s design concept and all of that, [it] has gotten Shannon a lot of great work. She even got to be the interior designer at Ethel’s Club, which is in Brooklyn, which is an absolutely gorgeous space. And the cool thing about the new Yowie concept is that it’s more than just a shop. So, it’s a shop but it’s full of all these modular pieces that go a few stories in the air that do different things.

So, Shannon outlines that she’s creating basically a creative flex space so that you can rent one of the modular areas for photoshoots, you can rent one to host an intimate dinner or have an event, part of it’s a community space for community to gather around, part of it’s obviously the shop. So, it’s going to be a bunch of different things, and I think this is really fascinating and gets me very excited because this is kind of what my career is like: a bunch of modular things smushed together that makes one thing together. So, I’m always very interested in, and have to, honestly, be very creative with how I make money, because I have to find little pockets and little areas to make money no matter what I do, because that’s how I make my income. That’s how I get my salary and my money every year to pay my bills.

And I love this about what Yowie’s doing because they are doing exactly that, but with a physical space. And I think the cool thing about it is that doing this and creating and generating the revenue through an IFundWomen campaign allows Shannon to fund Yowie through the community. The shop is located in Philadelphia and will whenever it’s the new version, and this helps people to feel literally invested in what she’s doing and what Yowie is becoming. So, I think whenever you have a part in [the fundraisers], the Kickstarter’s that I’ve contributed to, the GoFundMe’s I’ve donated to that actually become physical spaces, I cannot tell you how amazing it makes me feel to actually go to that space. It makes me feel like I’m invested in their future and like I know the owner, and it just makes me feel really close to it. So, I think it’s actually a very smart way to fund something that you’re doing that’s physical as well, because it just kind of helps to create that sort of intimate brand strategy, really. And it helps us to feel more invested.

And I think specifically with Yowie, it’s nice because it’s a physical community space that’s made for the community, so what better way to make the community feel closer to it than by having them actually fund it and help it get it off the ground? So, I think that’s so interesting, and I’m really fascinated with trying to squish a bunch of things that don’t normally go together, together. I think that’s how you create careers unlike anybody else, I think it’s how you create personal style unlike anybody else, but I also think it’s natural to humans, like we are all a bunch of personality traits and qualities that don’t normally go together, and when you smush them all together, it makes us who we are as individual people. So, I think that’s really incredible because it’s allowing Yowie to become this business that’s really unlike anything else that exists, and that’s absolutely excellent because when you tie in and combine the actual matter of what’s going on inside the space with the design of the space, the personality of the owner, the personality of the space itself, and the personality of the community involved with the space, that makes such a huge difference, and that’s what creates a brand and a brand identity and strategy that’s unlike anything else.

So, I think that’s really cool, and not just because Yowie is totally up [the alley of] my own visual aesthetics, but I think that the same goes with anything I love. It doesn’t matter what the aesthetic is, and honestly, this is tied to the topic I’ll be talking about next, I think we can all go get really excited and appreciate somebody that’s really dedicated to that aesthetic and dedicated to the brand strategy and the brand voice that their brand has. So, whether or not it’s your taste or your style, it doesn’t matter. I think we can all appreciate when that exists and get excited about it. So, if you’re interested in helping fund Yowie’s new concept space, go to the IFundWomen campaign, which I believe we will absolutely link to in the show notes here, or go to to do some online shopping, because I’m sure that helps Shannon’s business as well.

Something that I’m very interested in talking about lately and something that gets me really excited is this idea of identifying the difference between what you like for somebody else and what you like for yourself. And this is something that I talk about every so often, touch on a little bit, but I want to dive a little bit deeper into it today.

So, as you probably know, because you’re a human on this planet and in this world, is that what humans do is we are constantly worrying about ourselves, self-internalizing everything, constantly comparing ourselves to other people and just having our internal monologue all the time about what we’re doing, how it’s affecting ourselves, how it’s affecting other people, how we feel, all of that. This is just the internal chatter that we all hear in ourselves as humans. So, part of that internal chatter is worrying about what other people are thinking of us. We’re always like, “Was that okay? Was I weird? Did I do this wrong? What are people saying about me? Are people bad-mouthing me? Do they hate me? What’s going on?” We ask ourselves these questions all the time. And I will tell you right now that most of the time, the people you’re worried about how they’re thinking about you aren’t even thinking about you at all because they’re too busy thinking about themselves and worrying about themselves and internalizing everything on themselves. So, we’re all kind of in our own bubble worrying about ourselves and we always think everybody’s concerned about us, when they’re probably not, they’re just fixating on themselves, just like we are (laughs). Oh, to be human!

So, with that being said, I think that it’s very interesting because we’re all doing our own things, and I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if we were all able to do something that was unique to ourselves, where we’re just living true to ourselves, living our best life as individuals, and we can celebrate each other for being different from one another. That’s a beautiful world that I would like to be in. But unfortunately, we’re not there yet, and that’s just because we’ve been taught wrong along the way. But now it’s a beautiful time to start correcting and assessing thoughts and your decisions and all of that.

But anyway, so in order to get to that perfect world, there are a few things I think have to happen. First, you have to stop comparing yourself to other people. And that is a very hard thing to do, but I’ll tell you how I’ve been able to do it and what’s worked really well for me. First, I had to from somebody else’s perspective if they were looking at me and comparing themselves to me and internalizing stuff that I do onto them, their own self. So, when somebody looks at my work, what are they looking at [in] my work and going, “Dang, I wish I was good at this thing as Meg is?” or “Meg’s so great at this, or Meg has this that I don’t have?” Because honestly, that’s what we do whenever we look at somebody else’s work. And it never really occurred to me that somebody would even think that about me, that somebody would think I have or can do something that they don’t have or can’t do. But of course, I do, because we all do. All of us do.

So, the first thing I want you to do is try to look at yourself from somebody else’s perspective, or if you want to, ask somebody else for their perspective and try to figure out the three or four, you know, handful of different things that you have, that other people wish they had, the things that you have that are your – whatever you want to call them, skills, superpowers, whatever it doesn’t matter – the things that you can do, either for the world, or actual design skills that you’re able to do that other people are jealous of or wish that they could do. We all have a selection of those things. No matter how crappy of a designer you think you are, you have a few things. And I will say this, probably the last words I breathe, will probably be this: I, Meg Lewis, am not a technically talented designer. There they are. Those are my dying words. Can you imagine? (In a last dying breath voice) I’m not a technically talented designer. That’s not going to happen.

But I will say this, and I think whenever I say that, normally people roll their eyes. And let me just say the technical talent is a certain skill, right? When it comes to complex illustration, hand lettering, doing anything with my hands for that matter, there are a lot of things that I’m just not very good at, I’m not naturally good at, and I spent many years of my career feeling really frustrated with myself for not feeling [like I’m] good at those things and not feeling competent with those things, and I keep trying to emulate other people’s work that were good at those things. And it would just make me feel worse about myself and hate myself more.

So, looking outside at me, I had to think what am I good at? What do people look at my work and say, “Wow, Meg is really good at that thing.” And that’s when I found the very small set of things that I am good at, which we all have. For me, it’s expressive typography, it’s color, it’s communicating a lot of emotion with clean design. Those are the things. That’s a small group of design related things that I am good at. So, once I was able to finally lean into those things 100% and have those things be a huge part of my identity as a designer and a huge part of the work that I make, it helped me to feel significantly more self-confident. It helped me to feel like, “Oh my god. I do have things to offer the world that other designers can’t do in this way. I am good, I’m better than most people at a certain small set of things.” And so, leaning into that really helped me to just gain the self-confidence that I needed first of all to build that foundation of self-confidence.

And then from there on, once I was really confident in myself and feeling like pretty amped up about what I was good at, naturally, I started to recognize what other people were great at. And rather than feeling bad that I wasn’t as good at those things as they were, I just started to feel happy for them and excited for them and just glad that they had those skills. And that’s just a natural side effect of when you become more self-confident. Because we know this about humans: when you’re not confident, then you start tearing other people down, but whenever you love yourself truly, then you can take the time to love people who are different from you. We know this. This is a human thing. It’s unfortunate but it’s true.

So, that’s what’s been really exciting for me through this transformative process is just starting to realize that when somebody makes work that is extremely, just so beautiful, like rich hand lettering work or complex illustrations, stuff that I am absolutely trash at, I look at it and I say, “That is so great for them that they could do that.” And now I don’t waste my time trying and failing and keep just working so hard to be as good at that as them and I’m just not, I don’t know if I ever will be. There’s a difference though, of course, if you want to keep practicing at something and keep getting better and better and better. But always lean on at least the things that you are good at, those niche skills that you have that other people look to you and they’re like, “Why can’t I do that?”

So, another part of this is, I realized something interesting, you know that thing that happens whenever you see somebody wearing something and you just think they look amazing in it and you, like, run up to them and you say, “Hey where’d you get that outfit?” And they tell you and then you go, and you buy it. And then it comes, or you get it, and you put it on, and you look nothing like them, and you look terrible compared to them, and then it just makes you feel worse about yourself because you had it in your head of what you were going to look like and then you get it and it’s just terrible. Yes, so that is kind of a similar thing where my whole life, for way too long, I was doing that with other people. I’d say, “I love your prairie dress. I love your floral blouse. I love your brown pants!” And I would go buy them, put them on, and feel absolutely terrible in them. And looking back at photos of myself from when I was trying to do that, I just look so uncomfortable. And there’s nothing wrong with brown pants and prairie dresses and floral blouses or whatever I’m saying, the point is that was not me. There’s a difference between what works for other people and what is me, what works for me. And the frustrating part of this is that I’ve had to now realize that there are things I like out there that I like looking at, but it’s not for me. So, that can be very frustrating to see something that I enjoy, but I don’t necessarily want to put it in my space, or I don’t want to put it on my body because it’s not who I am. So, the way that I’ve been able to work around that is I find those things, or maybe I try to buy the prairie dress and it doesn’t work out, and I find those things and then I realize who they are for in my life. Who in my life would benefit from this? Whose personal style matches with that? All of that. And then I recommend it to them, I gift it to them, I buy it for them, or I just give it or donate it to them, and that really helps. So, it’s hard out there because yes, we are all comparing ourselves to one another and we are all struggling to feel confident and just like ourselves. And I cannot tell you how great it is and how much of a relief it is to finally just feel confident in what I have to offer the world. So, I hope that this helps you a little bit because I hear from a lot of people that are dealing with this, some of the same things that I’ve been dealing with too. So, I just want to save you a little bit of time.

Wow. All I have to say is wow. Just wow. You did a great job listening to me today. Are you getting annoyed with my voice yet? Is this bothering [you]? Am I bothering you? I guess it doesn’t matter, you could just stop listening. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Dribbble Overtime. And if you’d like to continue the conversation on the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime or tweet me or tag me. My handle is @YourBuddyMeg, or, you know what, you could also go to my website to look at my work and judge me. My internet website is Okay, bye! Hear me next week. Bye! Bye bye bye bye bye bye!