knowing your worth

song: all of me by jessie malay

read time: 4 minutes

i love the idea of worthiness, but sometimes i think it’s lofty. we tell people, “know your worth”. but that… those words alone, they don’t do much. okay, i should probably pause and explain where this is coming from, because it all ties together and it makes much more sense when viewed through a practical lens first.

i have been an undercover graphic designer for the past five years. i say “undercover”, because i always forget to tell people i design and just jump straight into my passion to save the world.

the first logo project i ever did… gosh. it was shameful. really. i had about nineteen concepts that i was ready to deliver to the client. luckily, someone stopped me dead in my tracks and told me that i ought to only show the client the top five. could you image? delivering nineteen options? what was i thinking? when i first started logo design, i didn’t know much. i didn’t have much practice. i didn’t have a vast understanding of the programs i was using, of the “why” behind certain movements within design — i just didn’t know much. i had no idea what i was doing, except that i was saying “yes” to an opportunity.  i can’t remember how long the project took me — but it felt like an eternity. i remember one day was spent merely looking at pantone’s index of yellow trying to pick the perfect hue to match the brand. in the end, the brand didn’t even choose yellow. they went with teale. that project, i got paid $300. at the time, i thought — this is A M A Z I N G !

five years as a designer has taught me alot. i’ve learned a lot. i’ve taught myself programs. i’ve studied other designer’s work. i’ve critiqued my own work. i’ve soaked in knowledge and squeezed out everything in me possible in order to constantly create.

these days, creating a logo is a much more painless process than when i originally started. but that’s the hope, right? you hope that time makes you better, and practise makes you an expert. with any job, you hope that as you excel you get a raise. the same happens with designers — but, being our own bosses, we raise our prices. it’s the natural progression. as a designer, you become worth more because of the experience, the projects you’ve tackled, and the clients who have pushed you to be greater because of their big “asks”.

recently, as i have been sharing more of the work that i have been doing as a designer — someone approached me, admired my work, then asked me to design a logo for their business. always in the mood for helping someone make their ideas a reality, i offered my current prices and packages. the individual wrote back, “for a mere logo?” this person then went and found one of my family members on facebook and proceeded to write them complaining about my standard logo packages saying that my prices were “outrageous”. (*for the record, they’re not. and if you’re reading this and are needing a logo, email me. i’ll give you half off! serious.)

all i could do in that moment was laugh. legitimately.

just because someone doesn’t understand the value of my work, does not make my work less valuable. it merely means their lens is out of focus.

but had i not walked through five years of learning as a designer and shifting my mindset, i might have questioned my worth and regressed in pricing.

so here is how it all ties together —

we cannot just tell people to know their worth. it’s too lofty and it may not mean much if they think they are worth a motel 6 kind of life and we’re trying to convince them of living in fairytale castles. we have to help them redefine their worth in the same way that a mentor helped me to reevaluate and redefine my worth as a designer.

we have to stop. take time to listen to people’s stories, walk with them through the pain they have experienced, and show them the beautiful pieces of themselves that make them not only worthy, but priceless.

so the next time you are talking to your girlfriend — and she’s stuck with the guy who treats her like trash — help her redefine her worth. show her all the qualities that make her worthy of man who treats her like a queen.

the next time you are talking to a friend that’s being taken advantage by their work — help them redefine their worth. help them see they are a valuable employee with knowledge, creativity, and brilliant ideas buried inside them waiting to be exposed.

the next time you’re talking to a stranger who doesn’t think they are worthy of  a grand life — help them redefine their worth. help them see that just by being them — they are enough. that just by existing they are worthy of a life worth writing about.

unlike my career as a designer, our lives do not become more valuable over time. they start off at the highest value — priceless. we start off completely worthy. the trick is not allow the world to strip us away of our worthiness. the secret to not let the world tell us that we can only peak at a motel 6 in life, when we were meant for extravagant castles.

you are precious, dear friend. if someone in your world doesn’t see your worth, it’s because their lens is out of focus. you are enough. you are valuable. you are worthy.