If you’ve ever felt like the task at hand was way too big for you to handle… perhaps you could benefit from breaking the task at hand into smaller tasks. The world of web design and online marketing attracts a lot of dreamers, people who will always think outside of the box no matter how much you want to cram them into one, and sometimes that means some of us can be unrealistic idealists.
But the discipline of creating big hairy audacious goals and then breaking those down into smaller chunks – 3 month chunks, one month chunks and then finally how can I do one little task towards my ideal life today forces us to grapple with our tendency to think of it as something far off and out there.
Physical fitness as a metaphor for life
Nothing brings you down to earth more than a good sweat. Whether it be moving furniture around or getting into the gym to see how out of shape (or gloriously in-shape) you are today. But one gigantic thing working out somewhat regularly for the past 8 or 9 years is that no matter how much you want your body to look like Brad Pitt from fight club, nothing matters but pushing yourself on the next rep; and to sustain yourself on a path of fitness you have to learn to enjoy the process.
Enjoying the journey is absolutely crucial for hard stuff
Enjoying the journey is such a massively sustaining element of web design, web development and online marketing. When I first got frustrated with my first <div>, that it wouldn’t align to the one next to it – I was thinking ‘fuck it, I’m not cut out for this stuff, I should just stick to pushing pixels in Photoshop and Illustrator.’ But you know what? I wouldn’t have got half the opportunities I have gotten today if I would have just stuck to strictly visual design.
When I tackled that code problem – after what seemed like an inordinately long time – the stars aligned for me and I finally got the things I was trying to make line up, line up. When I turned my first thing red in CSS, I got a little buzz that I believe still hasn’t wore off to this day in some regard. I rode it, and realized that every hurdle.. every speedbump towards me learning – in this case front-end development, but for you it could whatever’s difficult and next – was something where 10 other people with less initiative and ambition will turn back. And for every 10 people that turn back I’m going to strengthen my resolve, turn up the heat, and pick up the pace. I know I’m not the only one, and that’s why I think that the web design and development community is so scrappy – in a good way.
Stay Hungry, Stay Scrappy
One thing I’ve noticed is that when working with highly corporate companies people get very obsessed with making sure everything is documented just a certain way, that all the work is shown, like in school when you had a complex math problem. There’s also a tendency to get a bit lazy when you’re part of a larger corporate structure where innovation isn’t rewarded but rather you’re asked to document everything that brought you to your conclusion to the point where innovation is almost discouraged. By no means am I saying that attribution isn’t critical to digital marketing, and in fact it will be a huge part of my new role that I am soon stepping into, but trusting your instincts is crucial.
Stepping out boldly with big hairy audacious experiments that are based on educated guesses so that you have something to see how it worked. If you don’t make moves you’ll have no way to tell what worked and what didn’t. Pivot, step boldly, attribute success and failure, and then pivot again. The pivot is crucial, and the taking a bold step is too.