A red, yellow, blue, and green robot built out of legosThere is a lot of pressure designers and other service professionals place on themselves to be the best. This can be a good thing when it motivates and empowers us to reach goals. It can be negative by leading to indecision, creative block, and apathy. David Airey, a legend in identity design, recently shared an eye-opening commencement talk given by Neil Gaiman, a well known author.

He points out it is not always important to others whether you are the best at something – being kind and being on time count as well. This same wisdom – “Be Kind” was also shared with me by one of the best PR consultants and motivators I have ever met, Sarah Eder of the Primavera Group.

Empathy and openness to other perspectives while keeping a healthy dose of self awareness and humor goes a long way when working well with others. Building trust with clients and colleagues isn’t just about doing great work – we all know someone who is brilliant but unbearable to be around. Practice being kinder and deliver things when you say you will. Keep communication open.

You can enjoy the original article on David Airey’s site here (http://www.davidairey.com/neil-gaiman-uarts-commencement-speech/).