Monday, July 27, 2009

Growth Requires Guidance

The other day I was helping my dad with his garden. He absolutely loves growing tomatoes and he has 3 plants that are taking off. To most of us we would look at a thriving plant and think it's doing just fine, but my much wiser father said we need to help keep those up straight to help the reach their full potential.

This simple example reminded me how important guidance is in our growth. The plant has the ability to grow and spread out on it's own, but without the guidance to keep the whole plant off the ground it would not yield as much fruit in the end. With simple boundaries created the plant has the ability to grow, but now the guidance to grow in the right direction.

In our own lives as professionals and individuals don't discount those around you who challenge you and help guide your growth. It's not that you don't have the ability to achieve, but those around you often help guide your ability to its full potential. Be confident enough in your abilities to recognize you need guidance in order to maximize your effectiveness.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Leave Comfort

John Maxwell writes that growth demands a temporary surrender of security. That thought led me to examine what areas am I getting comfortable in, or have I found security in? Security and comfort aren't bad, but making decisions for securities sake is not healthy.

Decisions of comfort happen in our life professionally, personally and spiritually. The problem with comfort is it can keep us from ever changing the way we do something. If we don't change, we really don't grow. There's really nothing worse than a stagnant life, devoid of change and improvement.

Here's a few things that might require a temporary surrender of security:

• familiar, but limiting patterns

• relationships that don't challenge you to be better

• safe, but unrewarding work

My challenge for me is that I spend 60% of my focus on what needs to get done, 20% on things towards the future and 20% developing already acquired and new skills. This is something I haven't perfected but will be continually evaluating in my life.

"Why stay on earth except to grow" - Robert Browning

Thursday, July 9, 2009

2 Objective Mindset

There's times when the client asks for something and it doesn't make the most sense, but in the end you have one objective to meet the clients need. I've approached many projects like this and seen minimal success in the products or services designed for. This "one objective" approach will keep a paycheck coming in, and ensure temporarily satisfied clients, but in the end this is playing it safe. As designers and as people in life do we actually only have one objective? Is "playing it safe" the sure way? I truly believe designing for a client or setting personal goals in life are no different. The boundaries are defined and you can choose to stay confined with-in comfort or stretch yourself outside the box. In stretching yourself to go outside the box you release the limitations set before you. It's usually in the times that we go beyond "the required" that we experience the most reward. Here's my challenge for you with personal goals, and dealing with tough bosses or clients. It's operate in the "2 objective mindset".
• Meet the requirement - always present what was asked for at bare minimum.
• Add value to the requirement - take the bare minimum and present an option that adds value. If you don't feel the requirement is strong enough then defeat it with added value, not just with opinion.
This applies personally and professionally. When you define the added value it motivates you and those you're trying to motivate. With a "2 objective mindset" it helps us not settle for just good enough in life. Let me know how you help motivate yourself to go beyond the comfort level or how you motivate clients/bosses to try something new.