I don’t have a business degree. I don’t even have a design degree. What I do have is a knack for storytelling, and a keen ability to figure out what I need to learn in order to solve almost any problem I encounter. And if I can’t learn what I need, I know who to ask in order to get the problem solved.
My journey in business has been tempered by this contrast. On one hand, I know that anything life throws me I can handle it–and have. On the other, I spend hours worrying about this lack of “education.” I worry that I won’t be able to prove myself, or that people with business degrees somehow have an advantage that I don’t. I daydream about returning to school, partially because of this feeling that my education is inadequate, partially because I feel that people are secretly judging me, and partly because I really enjoyed the structure and accountability of school.
But what I’m beginning to realize is, all of that is bullshit.
In five years of running a small design studio, the only people who have ever judged me for not having a degree were people I didn’t want to work with. And everything I’ve needed to know about running a business I’ve learned by doing, or by knowing who to ask.
I focus on the word “I.” here because it should be clear that I am not you–just as I am not all the others that I waste time comparing myself to. While healthy competition is healthy, comparison is wasteful. As a business owner, and as a human, it’s not up to anyone but you decide who you are. Others can lend perspective, and it’s wonderful to get that perspective, but if the goal of your life is to be like them, whose life are you actually living?