“I’m Scared Of Not Being Good Enough.”

Lena's feeling anxious and unsettled in her career. She's also struggling to believe she'll ever be able to secure her ideal work. When it feels like a huge risk to put yourself out there, how do you find the courage to show others what you're capable of?

What's your career history and current job?

I studied fashion buying at university, and I fell into costume making while I was travelling in Australia.

Since returning to the UK, I took an art course and I've cobbled together a creative freelance career of sorts. I still make costumes, and I also do things like basic artwork and admin – whatever the job needs.

I call myself a 'freelance survivor'.

How do you feel about your work?

I'm very curious, idealistic and independent, so creative freelancing suits me.

I've also worked with some amazing people.

But I feel anxious a lot of the time, because there's no continuity or stability in the work I do.

The jobs I'm offered are diverse and fleeting, and I live from day to day, travelling here and there to wherever the work is.

While there's freedom and variety in that, it's often exhausting. It's also hard to focus properly on building a career, or to plan for my future, when I never know where my next job is coming from.

What would you like to be doing instead?

My first love is design.

I've got my own studio, and I really enjoy creating my own costumes – the more unique and outlandish, the better!

I'd love to be a clothing designer in my own right, rather than spending my time making other people's designs, or doing jobs that don't relate to design at all, just to pay the bills.

Through some of the work I've done, I've found that I also love helping young people to be creative. Ideally I would bring all these elements together, and create a stable career that's based on my skill as a designer.

I'd like to put down some roots instead of constantly flitting around, and find a way to help the community I live in.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

When I think about trying to promote my design work, I panic.

Even though I've been designing clothes for years, my skills are mostly self-taught, so I don't feel like I'm good enough.

I've been told by recruiters in the past that I haven't got the 'right' qualifications or formal training to succeed in the fashion industry, and I worry that I've left it too late.

Every so often, I'll pluck up enough courage to post something I've designed online. While I've had some positive feedback from this, it's not enough to make me believe that I could be a full-time designer.

Because I've been freelancing in the industry for a few years now, I've got some fantastic contacts who know me well. But I'm not working with them in the right way.

Instead of showing them what I can do as a designer, they just see me as someone who helps bring other people's work to life.

I know I'm creative and hardworking, but I don't know if that's enough to build a stable career in design. I'm scared that if I try, it will be confirmed that I'm not good enough.

How can I overcome my fear of failure, and start promoting my design work?

Can you help Lena?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Lena could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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