I received this question last month and ever since, conversations and situations have happened that brought me back to this question. “How do you know how to do this?”
How do I know branding? How do I know brand photography? How do I know how to communicate for others? How do I know?
You probably have received similar questions in your career or life.
When I thought about the answer, I thought about listing my degrees, the details of my resume or client stats. But experiences are just things that happened as a result of the following four lessons.
Let me explain…
START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW
(not with what you don’t)
How many times in your career have you felt like you didn’t know what you were doing but you knew it was worth it to figure it out? This has been true for many seasons of my career. When I started grad school and had to transition my apparel design mind to consumer research, to when I moved into teaching at the university level at the age of 24, to when I started a business alone and offered career and branding services. Each time, I was using what I did know and was determined to learn what I didn’t.
It is easy to say we don’t know how (that’s fear) or that someone didn’t teach us (those sound like excuses). But what if we approached each responsibility with curiosity and initiative?
What if we focus on what we do know and let that help us figure out what we don’t?
“If knowledge is power, then curiosity is the muscle.”
BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO COLLABORATE
(you don’t know the most)
Over the last six years, the eloise design co business has evolved and the services have as well. When I started the business it was both career services for professionals and branding services for businesses. As both grew, I knew we couldn’t do both well. I really thought that the career services would be where I was being called, but it was the branding, design, and strategy that has been the calling. In all honesty, I think I wanted it to be the career services because it felt safer to me. I knew it better. Something I could do on my own.
As I started to live into the opportunities that were presenting themselves, I realized I needed to collaborate and learn from others. I have learned so much from other designers, marketers, photographers, and videographers. I bring my part and they bring theirs and in the process you adapt, learn, ask, and create something worthwhile. If you are feeling insecure about what you know, it's time to collaborate, shadow, or assist. Don’t do it alone.
REALIZE THAT FAILURES DON'T
DEFINE YOUR FUTURE
(they tell you about where you are)
When you see a person or business achieving or living “success”, remember they are experiencing and learning from failures in the same breath. It's not a maybe or if. It's a when.
As I have been learning, writing and teaching the beingwell material (a program we teach to professionals and business owners), I have become fascinated by the Growth vs Fixed Mindset. You can read all about it in the book Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck.
The growth mindset believes in change, in development, and in potential. One test or experience doesn’t define you. It just tells you where you are right now.
It values effort, the right type of effort. You aren’t void of failure but it isn’t your identity. So when you fail, you own it, take responsibility, ask forgiveness, and decide how to learn from it moving forward.
KEEP DOING IT
(even when you feel you have paid your dues)
I watch a lot of documentaries and one theme I see repeatedly when featuring impactful/influential people is loyal repetition. There is also grit, perseverance, and confidence but repetition is the one thing I realize we lack in our careers today. We have more opportunities in front of us today than any other generation. So we hop around more. One side of the argument is that it makes you more well-rounded, diverse, and experienced.
But are we sacrificing something precious when doing this? I am guilty of working hard on something, doing it for a relatively short time, and then moving on. This might be my visionary tendencies, but I realize if I will keep practicing and refining, I will reap the fruits of my labor 10 fold. We get bored easily. When we are feeling restless, what if we didn’t change our minds so quickly? What if we didn’t hop to the next job or business so quickly?
How would that affect what we know today?