I’ve been rather introspective the last couple of years.
I’ve purposely kept my head down and have focused on my health, my family and my business; the most important stuff.
Whilst I have stuck my head up occasionally to pop the odd post on this blog, the majority of the time I’ve kept my thoughts to myself. This has mostly been due to lack of available bandwidth, but also due to the perennial favourite: impostor syndrome. That ‘monkey brain’ narrator who can be such a nasty piece of work when left to run wild.
Whilst the ‘rest’ I’ve had has been absolutely essential – I didn’t really have much choice – it has also provided me with a useful perspective and half-arsed thoughts have not been able to surface publicly (thankfully!). Instead they’ve simply been noted down privately, pondered and have then been left to mature.
As a result the more fleeting thoughts have been left by the wayside and eventually ignored, whilst the strongest have grown into something that I’ve not had for a while: an opinion.
I’m relieved to say that of late, monkey boy has been put back into his cage and I have been able to start looking outwards again. I’m not sure my point of view has changed massively over that time, but my new-found opinions have continued to evolve into something stronger and more fundamental; they are things that I know to be true.
That is to say: I believe.
I believe more than anything else that you owe it to those around you to take care of yourself, to do otherwise is selfish. Whether it be family, friends or clients, those people are relying on you being on top of your game and to be giving it the best that you can.
I believe that being as fit and as healthy as we can be, within the limits that our bodies or minds will allow – taking into account age, physical or mental disabilities or injuries – is absolutely fundamental to success (however you choose to define that term). This is our foundation, if it’s not in place then everything else connected to it is at risk.
I believe that for people who struggle with clutter, whether this be clutter of the mind or with the stuff around them, that strong routines and learnt habits are essential; this keeps things orderly and reduces ambient levels of stress. For me this is a strong morning routine where I map my day out and set my goals, though I also concede that productivity workflows are personal and one size does not fit all.
I believe that a notable percentage of my peers in the web industry do not have healthy lifestyles. Whether they are working too hard, sitting slumped in front of screens for 10+ hours a day, sleeping poorly, consuming unhealthy foods or all the above. It concerns me that these people are storing up problems for the future, problems that could be avoided with relatively minor lifestyle adjustments.
I believe that there are those in our industry at the moment who feel threatened. This is a natural human reaction to change and we should recognise and understand this. Our industry is maturing and fragmenting. Parts of it are becoming commoditised, others extremely specialised. Rather than seeing this as a threat I see it as a great opportunity to capitalise on our hard-won experience and to double-down on being the company or the person who does a very specific thing better than anyone else.
I believe that there is a perceived pressure to understand and master emerging technologies and that for some this pressure can be overwhelming. I choose to ignore this pressure and let others trail blaze whilst I focus on the things that I know I already do well.
I believe that some new technologies & tool-sets can seem overly complicated or over engineered. This is not a new phenomenon and it occurs across all walks of life and in every generation. People are experimenting and trying new things out, that’s what we do and why the human race is so successful (arguably too successful!). In our industry this creativity will breed a new set of tools and ways of working that probably will be better than before, better in ways that we may not be able to imagine yet. I do, however, also feel safe in the knowledge that the poorly conceived ideas will soon be gone again, that there is a meritocracy and the good stuff will prevail.
I believe that positive redirection, rather than negativity and criticism is a much more powerful way to effect change. Gently nudging whilst making encouraging noises, rather than shouting and brandishing a big stick.
I believe that talking negatively about a situation and not proposing a solution is just complaining; in these situations it is sensible to keep your thoughts to yourself.
I believe that there are a lot of people out there treading a positive path. They are ‘winning’ and we can be learning from them. We open-source lots of our tools and technologies, but what about lifestyle management? How can we all have more success in life?
I believe that we can make more effort in sharing what works for us and that just as we share how we work, we could be open-sourcing our lifestyle frameworks too.
I believe that as we help others to succeed, we also help ourselves.