I think many of us know the famous quote by Sir Richard Branson, “If you don’t know how to do something, say yes and learn how to do it later.” I have no other choice but to say that I fully agree with that statement. In this competitive design industry I think having an ambitious attitude like that will cause us to soar to monumental heights. If we don’t know how to do something, we should say yes anyway and learn to do it later.

As designers, it is impossible for us to be fully prepared for every job that gets thrown at us. There will be times where we receive a request for some design work that can leave us feeling a bit discouraged. However, our obstacles are as big as we perceive them to be. If ever we are faced with a job which we believe we cannot do, let us ask ourselves if we really cannot do it. Here is where knowing ourselves and being honest with ourselves is important. However, if there is even the slightest possibility that we might be able to do it, then we should accept the challenge. The work we do under pressure can be some of the most marvellous things we have seen, as many of us know.

Of course, we are only human and we can only do so much within time constraints. We don’t have to agree to every job that comes our way if it means compromising our very beings. If it is a project that interests us and seems like it will be worth the risk, then why shouldn’t we try? We’ll face many challenges, such as the client’s expectations, our credibility, our reputation, and many other important things that could easily make or break us. Truly knowing ourselves and our ability will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to these issues. If the reward is worth the risk, then let’s risk it all.

Not every time will be perfect. There may be times where we might not produce exactly what we had in mind. If the work satisfies the requirements however, then we can let it go peacefully. Or even worse, we may fail when trying to accomplish the task at hand. At this point, the best thing to do is acknowledge our mistake, learn from it and continue along our journey. The design path less travelled is not an easy road. At the same time, it is extremely worth the struggle.

Constantly learning is a very important quality for us to develop. However, we aren’t machines. Inevitably we will be faced with projects about which we have no clue. As we progress in our careers and gain more experience the frequency will lessen. Regardless, it is inevitable. Especially if we handle the jobs well. Word of mouth gets around a lot faster than we may think. The next time we are faced with a dilemma of whether we should accept a job or not, let us remember the words of Sir Richard Branson, “If you don’t know how to do something, say yes and learn how to do it later.”