If you’ve been here before then you’ll know that the site has undergone a major redesign, which I hope you love. During this process, I’ve learned a lot and I wanted to share some of these lessons with you so that you’re ready for the next time you need to work well as part of a team.
My web designer ( Cheryl Laidlaw, The London Webgirl) is an incredible and talented woman and when I finally got out of her’s and my own way and let her work her magic, things turned out fab! ( You can catch her at Website in a Day and I recommend you do if you’re starting a business and want to get a website up and running in a day), but like anyone, I’m not perfect, so it took me a little time to finally see the light.
Lesson 1: Communication is the king (and queen)
There have been many times in my life when things have gone wrong, not worked out, or there’s been a serious disagreement or even the odd argument. After all, this is just part of life and being human. But when I think of these situations, I can’t think of many that weren’t due to miscommunication, misunderstanding (which is just down to ineffective communication) or a complete lack of communication altogether.
In short, communication matters. Whatever you’re doing.
Now, although there were no bust ups, arguments or anything of the sort, after all, I was working with a professional ( and a patient one at that!), there were definitely moments of confusion and a little frustration, all because I wasn’t communicating as effectively as I could have been.
There were times when I thought I was being clear, but when I look back, things were only clear in my own head, but what I was saying wasn’t always clear, nor was what I wrote on email. It was confusing and sometimes downright conflicting. But hindsight is 20/20.
A conversation is always better than an email, so pick up the phone or book in a meeting, it will be well worth it.
When writing emails, if there’s a lot to cover, break it down in clear concise sections and try writing it, then coming back to it and reading it later with fresh eyes. Or ask someone else to read it, to make sure the message comes across as you intend, before you send it.
Always check in on both of your understandings to make sure you’re on the same page.
Lesson 2: Ask questions
This really builds on the lesson on communication. Ironically, asking questions is actually the answer to lots of things. Questions will help you avoid any misunderstandings and the more open the questions the better.
Another great thing about asking open questions is that you just never know what you might learn. I’ve learned a lot during this process and I might not have done, had I not asked as many questions as I did.
There is so much untapped knowledge around us and unless you ask people questions, you’ll never find out what they know.
So, the next time you’re spending time with someone, ask them a question you might not usually ask and see where the conversation takes you. Who knows what you’ll learn.
Lesson 3: Prioritisation & decision making are critical skills to develop
What’s your favourite colour?
Maybe you can answer that question really easily, but if you’re anything like me, then it’s not that simple.
I might say purple, then pink then yellow because it’s so bright and sunny, and oh, black, it’s classy and goes with everything.
The point is that most of us like lots of different things, for lots of different reasons, depending on lots of different factors.
But how does apply to your career or your life?
Well, most of us want to do and achieve lots of different things in our life and there are lots of times when we have to make choices about the actions that we take.
One of the biggest challenges that many of us face is having to choose between competing priorities. Things become difficult because we place equal importance on everything we want at the same time and then wonder why we end up overwhelmed and not getting anything done, flitting from one thing to the next.
Being clear on what’s really a priority will make it easier to make decisions in any situation.
Lesson 4: Sometimes you need to get out of your own way and do what you do best and let the best do the rest.
At the start of the process, I was very involved, trying to pick a million colours, asking for a million conflicting things and even thinking I knew best. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t make much progress.
Finally, I let go and guess what, things worked out brilliantly.
This got me thinking about how we can get in our own way. Whether you’re trying to start a business, working on a project with a team or a colleague or just trying to achieve another goal in your life, sometimes, the best things you can do is to relinquish some control.
As difficult as it can be, taking a step back is sometimes the best thing you can do. So stop trying to control everything and focus on what you’re good at, and let other people do what their best at.
Lesson 5: Trust and have faith
How many times have you found yourself worrying about something? Did the worry resolve the issue? The answer is probably not.
It’s easy to spend time worrying about things not working out, but when you do this, you’re sending valuable energy on something that won’t bring you any results.
Rather than wasting your time worrying about something that will probably never happen, you’re better off spending time doing the things you need to do, taking the actions you need to take, letting others do the same and having faith and trust that it you do this, things will work out well in the end.
I certainly found that they did.