The power of staying Junior

After 10 years as a designer at Moze, here are five running-inspired strategies for improving and staying effective over long distances.

Paolo Tripodi


As I approach my 10th anniversary as a designer at Moze, I take this opportunity to share some reflections on this incredible and exciting adventure.

During this long journey, professional growth and the search for the ideal context to achieve it have often been the focus of discussions with numerous designers and colleagues. Therefore, I hope that sharing my experience with this article will offer a useful insight for anyone considering their next step.

Our team has a horizontal structure: the three partners are operational on projects, and each team member works directly with the client. There are no project managers or seniority levels.

To imagine that it is possible to grow without ever seeing words like “Senior” or “Lead” appear in one’s job title may seem strange in a world where career is often associated with hierarchical advancement.

Mind you, a hierarchy still exists among us and is necessary for everything to work.

However, over the years I have learned that the secret to growing steadily as a designer lies precisely in the ability to remain “Junior,” no matter how many years of experience you have behind your belt.

But what does it mean to remain Junior?

It means keeping your passion for your craft alive by adopting a mindset that is based on a hunger for learning, a constant search for new goals, and a willingness to learn from anyone, regardless of their level of experience.

Staying Junior means changing perspective and taking positive impact on others as a key measure of one’s progress:

  • Helping clients achieve their goals.
  • Making life easier for users of a product.
  • Being of service to your colleagues.
  • Contributing to team knowledge and culture.

An incredible source of inspiration for developing this skill has been running, a discipline that has given me so much and requires the same kind of mindset for long-term success.

Although it may seem like an unusual comparison, keeping the Junior mindset can help both a designer and a runner be tenacious and resilient, turning every project and every run into an opportunity for growth.

If this all sounds interesting to you, I try to tell you about five running-inspired strategies that have made it possible to maintain this approach in my own journey as a designer.

Stay in touch with yourself

To succeed well in running, as well as in design, you need to be consistent, building habits that facilitate progress.

One of the most challenging but also most inspiring habit, is to periodically reassess yourself, your motivations, and why you chose to do design.

It is important to regularly reflect on how competent you really are, identify areas in which you can improve, and recognize areas in which you may not possess natural talent.

One of the secrets that running has taught me is that the most lasting motivation comes from within, not just from records and medals.

Ask yourself:

  • Would I continue doing design, even without being paid and without anyone watching me?
  • What are the things in which I am best at helping others?
  • Instead, what are the areas in which I need to improve?
  • Is there anything else I can learn that I haven’t thought of?
  • Is there something I already know how to do but could do better?

Being completely honest with yourself can be difficult, but it can help you gain clarity about what are the next goals worth focusing on.

Don’t limit yourself to doing this alone. Always look for new opportunities to get feedback from others. That way you will be able to better assess your strengths and weaknesses and motivate yourself to improve.

Surround yourself with motivated people

To best cope with the prolonged effort of a competition or a complex project, it is essential to surround yourself with people who share the same passion as you.

From this perspective, the team you are part of or the people you collaborate with have a huge impact on your journey. Finding colleagues and mentors who are equally eager to learn and grow will help keep your creative energy alive, especially during the most difficult times.

In Moze, I have found the perfect synthesis of these aspects: a group of people who are passionate about design and motivated by a genuine interest in advancing in this field.

In addition, the horizontal structure of the team means that everyone has the opportunity to contribute equally to the success of each project, maximizing the opportunity for individuals to enhance the collective approach.

This type of collaboration and the resulting sharing of ideas allows the team to grow in synergy, identifying approaches and solutions that an individual member might not have considered by themselves.

Ultimately, all this is also reflected in a different model of economic growth, linked to the constant development of one’s skills rather than a change of role.

Constantly cultivating curiosity

While the marathon runner explores new approaches to running, improves technique and innovates preparation strategies, a designer constantly seeks inspiration from a variety of sources, ventures into new design methodologies and remains alert to emerging industry trends.

But beware, discipline alone is not enough.

In this case, it is only by adopting the mindset of a junior that we will be able to constantly renew our curiosity, even when it seems like there is nothing left to discover.

This means never ceasing to question things, just as a child would, searching for more and more answers.

When you wake up, ask yourself:

  • What can I do again today?
  • Is there a better way to present this proposal?
  • How can I help my team this week?

Curiosity is the primary engine of innovation, enabling both the marathon runner and the designer to overcome new obstacles and achieve ever more ambitious goals.

Explore new paths to success

The exact moment you have finished a run over a longer distance or with a better time than previous runs, you know that you will soon need new goals to reach.

Don’t wait for your next opportunity to present itself; start looking for it now. Volunteering for new projects, attending workshops to develop new skills or exploring new collaborative ideas are excellent ways to broaden your perspectives and access new opportunities for growth.

Staying Junior will help you stay open to seemingly difficult challenges and tasks that may seem outside your current comfort zone. The book you read six months ago on a methodology you are passionate about has prepared you for a new project that is about to begin now.

If sometimes you feel you struggle more slow down, breathe, but don’t stop.

Each new milestone will give you the self-confidence you need to tackle the next one.

Seek satisfaction in the journey, not the goals

In both running and design, allowing your confidence to be determined only by results can make you vulnerable to circumstances beyond your control.

For an athlete, victory is not always indicative of success, and defeat does not necessarily imply failure.

You could produce a flawless design and yet not get the recognition you hoped for, or conversely learn valuable lessons from a project that did not achieve its goals.

Staying Junior means understanding that design is a journey in constant becoming, made up of experiments, mistakes, and successes. Appreciate every step of the way, learn from daily experiences, and enjoy the journey.

Focus on trusting your skills and dedication rather than letting the end results alone influence you.

This approach will make you resilient and allow you to get value from each step and continue to grow no matter what.

One day on my running app I read “Winners never quit, quitters never win.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s true, but thinking about it has gotten me this far.

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