December 9, 2021

Expectations vs. Reality of 2021

Interview ‘Goals for 2021.’ Part 2: Reunion

December 9, 2021

In January 2021, we invited several designers to share their plans and personal/professional goals for 2021. Here’s Part 1 of this story. Little did we know how the world would change in a year. So a year later, we interviewed them again to see if they achieved the stated goals and what insights they gained along the way. We hope these stories will inspire you to go after your dreams and realize that changes, even unexpected ones, can be good. Meet our speakers!

Chengsu Chen, Product Designer at Coinbase

Chengsu Chen is a Product Designer at Coinbase. She works on the Growth team, focusing on engagement and retention. Previously, she worked on Ads and Growth at Meta (Facebook)

For 2021 I planned to…

spend more time with family and have my wedding ceremony and travel.

In reality…

during this year, I pushed back my wedding to 2022 and eloped in Hawaii in December 2021, bought our first home, and joined a new company. Like many people, I did a lot of introspection in 2020 and decided it was time for me to broaden my horizons and elevate my craft outside of my current company. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and work on something exciting and unfamiliar, so when Coinbase popped up, I decided to get into the cryptocurrency space. The problem space and overall industry are fascinating, and there's still so much to do.

From Chengsu’s personal archives

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Manifest your goals so they may come true. It changes the perception from "I can" to "I will"

The most important lesson I've learned this year is… 

that your mindset is a powerful thing. Towards the beginning of the year, I felt a bit stuck about where I was in my career. I wanted to grow by expanding the scope of my work and taking on more impactful projects. At one point (and I admit this took a while to sink in), I realized that in order to reach the next career milestone, I should already be operating as if I was already there. In other words, manifest your goals so they may come true. It changes the perception from "I can" to "I will." When your mindset catches up to this, you start believing more in yourself and your capabilities.

Mila Lelyuk, UI/UX Designer at FlowMapp

Mila is an experienced designer who works here at FlowMapp on content projects (like this one). She likes Kawai, adheres to a minimalistic approach in design and life

In 2021 I planned…

to become more fearless and creative in my work, learn every shortcut in Figma, read several books about design and psychology, create three custom fashion designs with my tailor and fulfill one of my biggest dreams. I know, it's quite a lot!

In reality…

during this year, I took a course on "Сommercial collages" to sharpen my creative skills in graphic design, consulted with mentors about professional growth and a career path, and took a design course about promotional features of the design. And yes, I've learned those shortcuts in Figma.

This year we took a few courses with the FlowMapp design team, which was a great way to learn new ideas and spend quality time with colleagues even though we are still working remotely. I didn't read all the books I anticipated and created just one custom fashion design with my tailor. However, I feel that the year was victorious because I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams and moved into a new house with my family. It is a significant change for me, and I think it is worth all unread books and unsewn clothes.

The most important lesson I've learned this year is…

that sport, people and vacations overseas make me feel happy. And when I'm content, I'm much more creative. So in 2022, I want to feel content more often. And I wish the same to all of you too!

Elijah Kingson, a Product Designer at Revolut

Elijah is a Product Designer with experience turning broad ideas into lovable products. He currently designs for growth and engagement at Revolut and likes to cycle and take pictures in his spare time.

For 2021 I planned… 

to "live life" to the fullest by consciously seeking new experiences and connecting with people. I also planned to write and share more about my process and approach to design.

From Elijah’s archives

In reality, I managed…

 to do a bit of exploring. I visited eight new cities and started a cycling club to connect with people. I didn't publicly share any writing, but I took up mentoring (primarily via ADPList) to support other designers. 

The most important lesson I've learned this year is… 

that life is too short not to do what you care about wholeheartedly.

Mary Allysa Misola, Product Designer at Publicis Sapient

Mary Allysa is a User Experience Designer and Researcher at Publicis Sapient, who, as a recent university graduate, is currently attempting "to adult" in the corporate world.

For 2021 I planned to…

learn more about what accessibility design means, feels, looks, and sounds like in digital and non-digital space products. 

In reality, during this year, I… 

started my full-time job, ensuring that I was prioritizing usability and accessibility above all. I joined workshops, courses, and hackathons to fully grasp what accessible design entails. From understanding possible inaccessible features in our everyday environment, to researching how to make tooltips accessible on a mobile format, and to simply learning how to make a PowerPoint presentation accessible for all, these past few months have been an eye-opening opportunity for me to explore different design practices and approaches that can create equal experiences for everyone.

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Everyone has their own learning styles; not one is better than the other

The most important lesson I've learned this year is… 

that my silence and reservedness during meetings and group work is actually how I process information. Many might call my introversion and shyness weaknesses, but I found out that I have a "Reflector" learning style. It means I prefer to stand back and view experiences from several different perspectives, collect data and take time to work towards an appropriate conclusion. 


Everyone has their own learning styles; not one is better than the other. Don't be quick to judge others. Take the time to learn about the people you work with. You never know the magic you can create in a cross-functional team by doing so!



We want to thank all the speakers for sharing their inspiring stories and insights with us! If you are interested in participating in FlowMapp’s design interviews, let’s talk! Send us a pitch at