Working as a creative type often means having a unique voice that makes you stand out. If you're just starting out, you'll probably emulate those around you. But after a while, go back and look at what you've made to get a feel for your own voice.
As Fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø explains, over time, you notice that you slip a bit of yourself into most of your creative work. You may still be following the strategies or style of someone else, but you're still in there. By reviewing your old work (even if it makes you uncomfortable), you can spot those moments where you see where you made a genuine contribution. That, Sundsbø says, is the essence of your style:
The thing is, if you work with someone like Nick, or like Bruce Weber, you get coloured by it — we're sitting here talking about him [Knight] now. It takes a bit of time and effort to move away from it. The memory of when I first found my voice was not one thing. You do something and say, 'Is that it?' and then another and ask, 'Is that it?' and a third and a fourth. You look back at three or four things and then you can see something looking at them together.
Your creative voice is likely to evolve over time and it may not be characterised by one, single aspect. However, understanding your own voice is critical to using it. Don't be afraid to review your own work. While you may be tempted to only hunt for mistakes and get yourself down, you can also use your past work to inspire you.