Right now, I make cake. I'm not sure it's what I'll be doing forever, but I don't have to be sure. That's the beautiful thing. And when I tear my eyes away from squinting into the distant horizon, hoping to determine the exact place this will all end up... that's when I actually start moving forward. Looking back over the last year, I can see progress that felt at the time almost indiscernible or even nonexistent. In that spirit, here are a few things I learned in 2016 (and am still learning). Because that too, is a process.
1. Discomfort precedes growth.
2. Better equipment and tools don't always equal better work. But sometimes, they really do. Just don't fall into the trap of waiting until you have the best tools possible to work on honing the craft. You are the craftsman, the artist. The most important tool is you. The others will follow.
3. In your efforts to be the best at one thing, don't be afraid to learn about others. You are not a one-dimensional person. Becoming more whole and fulfilled will help you make better work.
4. Everyone and has something to teach you, even if it isn't pleasant. Every mistake has something to teach you. Be humble.
5. Efficiency and creativity can coexist. This relationship is a little different for everyone, and it's worth figuring out how you work best.
6. Set boundaries and expectations to protect your relationships. How can you work harmoniously with someone who you feel is "crossing the invisible line" or wronging you? Help everyone by preventing that. Be explicit; assumptions will kill you. When appropriate, write things down.
7. If you don't value yourself - your time, all the effort you've spend to become really good at what you do - don't expect others to value it either. Value your work, and behave and price accordingly.
8. Value the work of others. The sword cuts both ways. It's always better to be too careful, too thankful, too respectful, than not enough.
9. You aren't trapped. If you don't like how things are going, make changes.
10. If an idea scares you, and you can't shake it, it's probably something you should at least look into. Don't not-do something out of fear.
“'Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies,' wrote Albert Camus. Finding work with a soul has become one of the great aspirations of our age. … We have to realize that a vocation is not something we find, it’s something we grow — and grow into." - Roman Krznaric