Cancel “Should”

Originally published on LinkedIn in February, 2023.

“Should” needs to be canceled.

“I should be at xyz agency. Not making banners.” – Junior
“I should be a senior creative by now.” Mid-level creative
“I should be making six figures.” – Everyone underpaid in advertising 
“I should have an award in advertising by now.” – all creatives

The reality is we are all on different timelines in our career. And SHOULD stems from comparison, resulting in the utmost shame. Whenever I hear my students or mentees say this, I hear my younger self beating her head against the wall because I feel so inferior, less than and not enough.

It wasn’t until I spiraled into a well of depression from self doubt that I started re-framing how I spoke to myself. Like “I would like to work at this agency. I’m going to try to make that happen.” Instead of berating myself and sending myself on a never-ending guilt trip.

This is extremely vulnerable for me to share. But I do so because soooo many creatives and people in our industry silently battle this “I SHOULD BE” epidemic. It’s making us unwell, especially with the stream of highlights on social media, Linkedin, and literally any medium that reminds us, “HEY! a person younger than you is crushing it and you’re wallowing away doomscrolling.”

All that to say, f$#@ the word SHOULD.

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