Before I could stop myself I heard myself speaking as a potential client saying, “but they just want….” I stopped right there. Not that I would have had much time to say anything else because my boyfriend was ready to stop me in my tracks. I shushed him half embarrassed that I didn’t know better while trying to save face saying that I did. The thing is – knowing it and doing it are two different things. (I grew up hearing my mom say that and variations of it.)
Add the word ‘just’ to the list of four letter words. It’s a sneaky little word that tries to justify bad design in exchange for … I don’t know what. Maybe it’s the opportunity to bring forth yet again that Catholic guilt I’ve been dragging around my whole life.”Just do what they want, they’re paying you after all all.” I hear those words in my head every so often and it’s my own voice speaking them. But just like Catholicism didn’t fit my life, neither does design for the sake of the client. I’m a user experience designer for heaven’s sake!
Perhaps I need to filter my potential client base a little better. More likely I need to work on my design pitch to attract the right clients in the first place. In the interim, here’s my passionate rant about the types of people I think are the ‘right ones’.
If you’re hiring me, you’re hiring me for my skill as a designer and aptitude for knowing how a user wants to interact with your site. Don’t hire me because you want a website. Plenty of people can build you a website. Heck, with a little time, you can build yourself a website. Hire me because you believe my talent and experience can make your brand and your site better than you can even imagine. If you’re comparing me to your cousin’s friend of a friend who can do it for $500, you should probably go with them. Recognize that just because your favourite colour is purple, that it doesn’t mean that your brand should be. Be excited about co-creation, conversation and learning. Above all else, trust in me to do my best with your site so you can take the time to do what you do best for your product or service.
For the longest time I’ve had the idea that I should slow down. My mind has always been stuffed to the brim with new ideas, thoughts on why things work the way they do, and what opportunities I can explore next. I was raised to work hard, and somewhere along the way I’ve introduced all kinds of should‘s into that algorithm to feel like I’m living up to those standards.
I’m coming to terms with the fact that I should never feel like I should have to do anything. Which is good. Because I like my mind the way it is.
With the help of this post on Zen habits, I’ve realized that I can achieve the calmness I’m after, without needing to cut back on my activities. Giving 100% of my attention to whatever I’m doing in the moment, instead of looking forward to the next exciting thing on my list gets me in that space. I have more appreciation for the task I’m doing, and its a great filter to get the not-so-important ones off my list.
I don’t believe in karma, fate, luck, prayer, the universe, or really anything other than me and my fellow human beings (and even we let each other down sometimes). But I do believe that when you need to hear/see/find something, you’re more likely to be receptive to the message when you stumble across it, than if you were just stumbling around with no purpose.
That being said, I just happened to stumble across an article on Chris Guillebeau’s blog this evening. Like others I’m sure, I subscribe to too many newsletters that I never read. But this time I actually did and I like what I found. Not because it’s insightful and full of good advice, but because I can relate. Sometimes I just need to take a step back and relate, and not have to do anything about it. It feels nice to not have to do anything.
It’s short. Go ahead and read it for yourself. Maybe you’ll relate too
I just watched an awesome Ted Talk by Brené Brown about the power of vulnerability. One of my goals this year is to be more vulnerable, and even at 20 minutes long, this TED talk articulated what I’m after better than I’ve been able to do thus far. (speaking better is also on the roster).
I’m also been slightly envious of a close friend (Shawn Hight) who has been playing around with hand drawn typography. While I’m not big on collecting quotes, they do lend themselves nicely for typography experiments.
Here’s why I love stream of consciousness thinking (and googling) it leads to interesting things like this infographic on contact form conversions!
I could leave it at that, but if you’re still reading check out how I found this little gem:
- thinking about setting goals for this year, goal: pay down debt quicker
- brainstorming a list of things I can do to reduce costs and make more money
- getting a bit stuck, I googled ‘how to make money’ (don’t judge!)
- came back with a link that included doing SEO at home on your own schedule
- thought I could learn a little more about SEO and get paid to do so, so I signed myself up for the job
- part of the form asked if I had a Google Plus account and how often I used it. Of course that got me thinking about…
- signing into Google Plus
- and while I was there, I started digging back through the business mastermind course I took a year ago
- and found a link to the infographic
Pin it now before
I first read Danielle Laporte’s book, the Fire Starter Sessions about a year and half ago. It helped me a get a good perspective on life back then, and it’s helping me in the same, but totally different way this time around too. Danielle’s got a spunky twist on the average life coach persona and she’s a genuinely passionate person who just want people to shine and be their best.
Probably the biggest lesson in all of it is to take a look at how you want to feel. She runs the reader through some exercises to come up with words to check their daily experiences against to keep them on track to feeling their chosen way. It’s a shift in the usual goal setting in which she hypothesizes most people set, achieve, and then default back to old behaviour because they’re completed the goal. Defining how you want to feel is a continuous process. Like the saying goes,it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
My words for 2014/year 31 of my life are what you see in the image above. (The photo is by my very talented friend Kevin Jamieson) I know it’s only words that might not even mean the same thing to you as me (that’s the beauty of language and something I spend a lot of time thinking about) but there’s something intensely vulnerable about putting them out into the world as my values. That’s the safe part shining through. 😉
I’ve been reading up on how the brain works and the mind/body connection a lot lately. The other day I came across an article on medium.com about an autistic boy who’s father is a neuroscientist. It’s a bit of a long read, but super interesting content to consume alongside a cup of tea and freshly baked cookies.
Part of what intrigued me so much about the article was the way the content itself was presented. There was no pagination, no advertisements or sidebars to distract me. The page used fairly large text, so the reader would progress much quicker through than the usual text heavy pages on the web. My favourite part however, was the clever way the page used scrolling to trigger image fades and contrast of type on top of those images. It really stood out and broke up the story just enough to keep me interested, yet the continuous flow of text down the page kept me engaged. There was no natural break and therefore no opportunity to leave without finishing the article.
Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below.
The better I get at saying no, the more it irks me that others don’t know how to do it.
I used to be a yes (wo)man. I said yes to everything, anything you needed help with or wanted to do, I was there, with little thought to what I actually wanted or was able to do. I used to put others first, like all ‘good people’ do. But a few years ago, I fell fairly ill and had to change how I do things. I started saying no. The world didn’t end and I didn’t become a horrible person. Actually, I became a better person.
I think more about what I actually want, and when I choose that it’s the same as you, it’s better because it was actively decided upon. Better yet, I’ve learned how to speak up and say no. Which, in my opinion, is a far greater quality than sitting quiet and still in the corner withholding your opinion in fear of offending someone.
Which leads me back to my original point – people that don’t say no bother me. When I ask if a friend wants to hang out and I get silence on the other end. When I follow up with a prospective client and there’s no reply. When I get that stare of ‘why are you asking me this?’ but no words come out. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person – it makes you a great person that I want to hang out with. And if you don’t – well, just say no.
I’m upgrading my brand and my site right now. Stop. Now go back and read that again. Yes – upgrade. Too often I hear designers and clients alike wanting to redesign their sites – just because. There’s no purpose behind their change and they’re just as likely to feel the same about their new site or brand new logo six months down the road.
I chose to upgrade instead. I’m condensing ideas, streamlining process, focusing on delivering the best I can in a holistic view of the big picture. My big picture, and yours too if you want to join in the fun.
No longer will I manage a personal, web, and fashion brand, I’m my own brand. The Amanda Healey brand. I’m selling myself, my skills, and my talents. To potential employers and potential clients. Let’s build beautiful things together email me! Hello (at) amandahealey (dot) ca