Why mindset is more important than skill set in your pursuit to success

Hello, I’m Be.

Five years ago I graduated from the University of Worcester after studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia. 

I was as free as a bird and full of optimism about my first job as a designer. Being naturally confident and passionate about this first step in my career, I applied for EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. I went for illustration roles, design roles, web design roles, packaging roles, basically anything design-related. 

(actual footage of me leaving Uni)

When I landed my first job, I was star-struck – working for a company with clients such as Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry and Sainsbury’s. The role was diverse, from packaging to brand and even product design. It was a graduate’s delight to gain experience in so many areas, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. At this time I also started studying for a Master’s Degree at Birmingham City University, in Design Management, which taught me more about people than anything else I’ve done!

Reflection

My biggest takeaway from this time was that everyone’s experience after University is different. There were peers saying they’d got a job after only a few weeks, peers saying that they were on 30K, and after taking 6 months to find my first job it was hard not to feel like I wasn’t competing. But there is no competition and later down the line, it turned out that most of their gloating stories weren’t true!

 

After two years in this role, the glitter started to fade and I realised that the culture wasn’t the right fit for me. I was asked to work all manner of hours with very few benefits and little support from management. What a predicament – do I stay where I’m comfortable and enjoy the job or venture out to find a better culture elsewhere? 

Ultimately, you spend more time with your colleagues than you do a lot of your friends and family, so for me, it was a no-brainer.

You did what? I quit my job with nothing else in the pipeline. Living in Worcester on my own with bills to pay and no income was terrifying. But I had just graduated from my Master’s degree, so once again, I was as free as a bird.

Reflection

You have to go with your gut. It almost always knows best. Anything that’s damaging who you are as a person and making you dread going to work should be the red flag you need to move on. Always remember that even in the darkest of times, you’re in control of your life and if you’re brave enough to make a change, you can change your life for the better.

With two years under my belt, I was now feeling confident, optimistic, and ready to take on a new challenge. Employers know what they’re looking for and it might have been me, so who am I to put a limit on my own success? 

I applied for EVERYTHING, sounds familiar huh? Well, this time I applied for Creative Director roles (totally under-qualified), Senior Designer roles, and about anything I could fill out an application form for. The one thing I was mindful of was the company I was applying for. What were their values? How do they invest and develop their employers?

Luckily I got an interview at StrategiQ. Of course, I came in confident and even listened to DJ Khalid’s ‘All I do is win’ in the car, imagining what it would be like pulling up on my first day. Oh, yeah, I went in THAT confident. 

During my second interview, our CEO Andy asked Creative Director, Ashley, to compare me with the other candidates for the role of Senior Designer. I wasn’t the most skilled, but I was the most passionate, enthusiastic and willing to learn. I got the job!!

Nearly failing is still winning, and boy did I win! So, I didn’t pass my probation. Not as a Senior Designer anyway. With only two years’ experience in design and very little experience in digital marketing, of course I was underqualified for the job – but as I said before, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from applying.

I passed my probation because of how much I developed in that six-month period. Always eager to learn, I constantly asked for feedback from all members of the team on how I could improve and shadowed Ashley to learn his behaviours where my experience was lacking – especially in front of clients. 

During my probationary period, I was a sponge. A very happy-to-be-here sponge. I was always happy to help people and super passionate about my work in front of clients. The skills I needed to do the job well, naturally came with experience and the right support from those around me. 

Reflection

I shouldn’t have even got the interview in the first place, I wasn’t a senior. But I did because of my mindset. I passed my probation because of my mindset. If a company has a strong culture, they will embrace you for who you are, refine your strengths and develop your weaknesses until they’re no longer a weakness.

Fast forward two and a half years and I’m now lead of the social media department as Campaign Manager, bridging the gap between design and marketing. I’ve grown so much in my time here and once again StrategiQ saw a passion in me. A passion that could be turned into skills with the right support and training.

Because I’m aligned with the company culture and values, I’ve always put in the work to get the job done. I’ve not always been the most skilled, but I’ve always been the most enthusiastic and forthcoming to help others. That has got me where I am today.

So if you’re soon to be leaving University or are unsure about your career, here are some of my top tips that you can start doing today to improve your mindset for your career:

👉 Put yourself out there and present in front of a group of people as much as you can. This will help improve your confidence and articulation skills.

👉 Apply for roles you’re not qualified for. This is controversial, but don’t limit your own success, an employer might see something in you and give you an opportunity.

👉 Remember how valuable you are to a company. Your relationship with your employer should be 50/50, so ask them what you’ll get out of working for them. How do they develop staff? Are there any reward schemes?

👉 Ask for feedback as much as possible. This will help you build resilience and enable  you to be more collaborative when working with others.

👉 Help as many people as you can. Not only does it feel good for you, but people like people who help. It will create better working relationships and make others want to help you should you need it. 

I hope this has helped you, even just a little bit! If you need help, guidance, or mentorship, please reach out to me and I’ll always be happy to support.

If you’re looking for a company culture that’s focused on development and working with passionate people (like me!) then StrategiQ would love to hear from you! Check out our careers page or get in touch today!