If there’s a theme to my road trip coming up, I’m not quite sure what it is. But it’s that time of the year, when I step back and evaluate my current trajectory. Am I providing the value in the world I want to see, am I treating myself with respect. For me, I’ve committed myself to web design and web marketing with all the furvor of a low-level lunatic. I’ve written a hundred blog posts, and created 25 websites, most of them better in some way than the last.
I think the key I come back to is how am I treating myself in all of this. In some ways I’m a pretty relaxed boss of myself, in other ways I’m a slave-driver. That’s when I have to unclench, and stop pushing myself so hard I want to quit. Perhaps this is a little too personal for my business/design blog, but I know other people struggle with these issues, and I if there’s any value here I can provide it’s that you’re not alone. It’s not a physically draining profession, but web design and web marketing is emotionally grueling sometimes.
We pour our heart and soul for clients, and sometimes it’s the greatest experience. Small businesses are grateful and better off sharing their services or products with the world. Other times it’s hard, we feel like there wasn’t a good fit, people feel slighted, we get tired. When we’re in promotion mode all the time we don’t get to feel the comraderie with our burnt out brethren. We’re likely not the only profession that feels this, but our challenges are unique. Sometimes the emotional challenges can be the most ingratiating.
A couple relevant books:
Emotional Intelligence starts with the assumption that there are many different types of intelligence. Consider that there are street smarts, and social intelligence, and book smarts and so on. The books asserts that emotional intelligence is one of the most important and is even more important than I.Q. in success in working with others. I see evidence everywhere for this, and as I occasionally have success in restraining my frustration in work, I see the benefits of this understanding.
Man’s search for Meaning was born of the author Victor Frankl’s experience being in a concentration camp. He would ask people who’s situation seemed generally hopeless why they didn’t just allow themselves to die. The answer to the question would be the basis for the ensuing line of questions and what he developed into ‘logotherapy.’ The whole concept is built around developing meaning in our life rather than explaining it away as some veins of psychotherapy tend to do.
Meaning, for me, sustains my work and keeps me going
I’m not one that can stick around in a profession or working arrangement without the idea that I am indeed building something meaningful and as I often write, of value. The question of ‘What is value?’ challenges me and informs my work as I create websites for companies who are trying to share value with their customers.
Stepping away as a method to refresh the creative spirit
I’m sure you understand the idea of distancing yourself from your work for a time and coming back to it with fresh eyes. For me this is something I definitely need right now. Hiking in the Appalachians and listening to my favorite music on a long car ride is just what I need.
I’ll be sure to share pictures of the trip on Instagram and write a blog post about it if I feel like I learn anything.