We are currently in the process of redesigning our website at FliteHaus. That's probably a bit of a generalization because, along with a redesign, we are reworking the site architecture, modernizing our workflow, and confirming our business philosophies. It's the last one that's got me thinking today. I love the idea of doing a "status check" on my beliefs as a professional in the web industry.
While my philosophies coincide with those of FliteHaus, in general, I wanted to post a not-so-all-inclusive list of what I believe as a professional in this industry. These are in no particular order and there are, inevitably, places where my personal philosophies bleed into my professional ones. Here we go.
Strive to Learn Something New
At the end of every day, I want to know that I grew somehow intellectually. While it's not always going to be web related, I spend hours upon hours watching video tutorials from some of my favorite sites (NetTuts+, Drupalize.me, Greyscale Gorilla, Besquare, etc). I watch business lectures and study SlideShare presentations. It takes a lot of time, but it's time I'm willing to put in. I love being able to grow and share that knowledge with others, which leads me to....
Share Your Knowledge
I aim for humility in my day-to-day dealings, but I love being able to share new tips, tricks, and processes with the community, specifically those working alongside me on any given project. Teaching is fulfilling in and of itself, but there's a certain level of responsibility (especially, it seems, in the web industry) that comes along with that knowledge to share it with others. When we collectively teach each other, we all stand to gain from it.
I tend to play "devil's advocate" a lot. I'm sure everyone around me loves it when I do. The reality is, I might actually agree with you, but I need to think through all the "what ifs" before I can form a final opinion. There's something to be said for finding a short term solution in certain situations, but if you can afford to do the research, find a solution that works for the long haul.
Simply throwing man-hours at something doesn't necessarily mean it will be accomplished well. It almost certainly means it won't be done quickly. Spend the few extra minutes (or hours/days/weeks depending on the time frames) to figure out the most efficient and effective way to overcome a challenge. Learn your software tools, keyboard shortcuts, handy tricks, and how to rely on your team. The end product may very well be better off for it and the time saved will equate to more dollars earned.
Give It Everything You've Got (Work Hard)
You've probably heard the saying "work smart, not hard." Despite the last topic being about working smart, I disagree about not working hard. Give it everything. If you love being creative, solving problems, learning new things, this won't be a hard ask.
As a caveat to this, do not dedicate yourself to your work at the expense of yourself or your family. Make time for personal wellness and avoiding burnout. Additionally, make time for the people you love. At the end of your life, I can promise you will not wish you had worked harder, but you may wish you had spent more time enjoying meaningful relationships.
Respect and Love People
Certainly this applies to clients/customers, but this is an overall value of mine. Many people will disagree with you and be difficult to work with. Many people will simply just be a challenge to be around. Despite these facts, people deserve not just to be tolerated, but respected and loved.
For me, this love stems from an extension of the love that is poured into me as a Christian, through my faith in God. Nevertheless, you can call it good karma or practicing the "golden rule". Whatever the case, life is better when we can all respect and love each other.
Personally, I appreciate people having faith in me. Better quality work is created when I can take risks, knowing that I'm being given full confidence in the end product. Be that encouragement for someone else. Lift people up so that they, too, can be inspired to take a chance and create the best work they can.
Handle Failure/Rejection with Grace
It's inevitable. We all fail and we all get rejected. Being bitter, angry, vengeful, or nasty just simply won't change this fact. Learn from the situation and move on. Each failure and rejection is an educational resource for the next endeavor.
Be Serious About the Work, Relaxed About the Relationship
Too often in the business world we are greeted by stiff, corporate suits looking to impose their authority. I can't say I'm a big fan. Intelligence and great work win the day for me every time, so be serious about the quality of your work and casual in your approach to relationships. (Please note that casual here does not mean unprofessional. Keep the language clean-ish and try not to be offensive.)
We, as people, love to be heard. So much so, that the majority of the time we are in conversations, we are thinking about what we will say next while the other person is still talking. We also live in a world full of distractions between text messages, app notifications, and a continuous email stream.
Be fully engaged in your conversations. If you don't have time to be engaged at that moment, schedule a time when you can devote your full attention. You'll miss fewer details and form better relationships.
Be Creative and Original
By now we've all heard that "good artists copy, great artists steal." Regardless of its origin, it's simply not a completely true statement. Don't be someone else, that person's already taken. Only you can be you. Use your unique skills, talent, education, circumstances, upbringing, and view on life that make you different from everyone else.
What About You?
What do you value? What do you believe? Let me know in the comments below what is important to you as a person or professional!