10 things I learned this year

Posted: December, 8, 2022 | Categories: Blog | Builder Stories | Team | Tips & Trends


1. Sometimes I drop the ball.

Yep. It's an uncomfortable truth that we must all face from time to time. We're human - we don't get it all done all the time. However, dropping the ball gives me grace for those who share my humanness. And then I learn from my mistakes.  


2. I can do more than I thought. 

This year I've had to more than double my efficiency, and at first, I didn't think it was possible. But, with some adjustment and learning some new skills, I'm getting there. Bonus lesson: often the stuff that falls through the cracks is the stuff that isn't really that important.


3. Contingency plans are good. (See number 1) 

Contingency plans are a really good idea. See, I'm not the only one who occasionally drops the ball (dang it!) but if I make contingency plans, I'm much less stressed when a deadline approaches. Yay for less stress!


4. It's better to focus on the positive. 

In every circumstance, there are positive things to be grateful for. For example, if your Google Analytics says the web sessions are down, you can choose to be upset and think about who or what is to blame. Although some curiosity and awareness are helpful, turning your attention to what is working gives you a more clear direction of what to do next. 


5. Videos are powerful.

I know, I know, this begs the question of why I didn't make a video describing the 10 things I learned this year.  Hmm... Sometimes I still don't like getting in front of the camera, especially after an exceptionally long week. 

But hey, I have grown by getting out of my comfort zone recently to create more video content for the website and social media! Video editing (and filming!) has a steep learning curve, guys! But like many new skills, you get what you put into it. Take the jump and get over hating yourself on camera. 

 This leads me to number 6 - CAMERA ON!


6. Cameras on teams are so much fun!

Folks, it's okay to show your eyelash-less face on Teams (or Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, or whatever else you might use to do video calls) I was just thinking today how much fun it is to watch Sammi smirk when she types a spicy reply. Camera on! It brings your team together in a way that a little floating voice never can. We need connection and visual cues, if possible, to work together from a distance.


7. Friendship and family can be in business together with good communication.

Okay, if you know Smart Dwellings, you know we are a family business and we work closely with each other. And if we aren't family, we're friends.  Here's the key: communication. Yes, people's emotions run high at times. But relationships are important and when you make the effort to understand each other, a little bit of magic happens.  Like, better than Harry Potter-level magic. Like, more than 10 years later we are happy to work together magic. Is there someone you're feeling grumpy with? Give them a call.  Better yet, go and see them in person with flowers and chocolate. (Thanks, Whitney, you're the absolute best!)


8. Picking up the phone gives you better results than an email. 

Oh yes, the dreaded phone. What is it with our allergic reaction to making phone calls?  I mean, I guess I never did love making a phone call growing up, but if you are a business professional it really helps to make friends with your phone. If you want to expedite whatever you're trying to accomplish, pick up the phone and make a call with a happy heart and your actual voice. Be real, be understanding, and keep things positive. The more you do it, the easier it is.


9. Networking has intangible benefits.

Remember that human connection thing? Networking has benefits that are hard to measure but easy to feel. Perhaps you didn't hold onto more than a couple of nuggets from that seminar you went to. That's ok. Because so much more than nuts-and-bolts learning happens by rubbing shoulders with people in your field. Make the effort to go out and join a professional association, go to a quilting club, or just do something to get involved in your local community. It pays dividends that you will feel in your confidence, in the ideas that come to you, and in the perspective you gain. I am so grateful for the opportunity Smart Dwellings gives to their employees (including me!) to train, refresh, and network with other professionals in the field.  


10. I've realized that I have a gift for optimism (at least when I'm medicated).  

Maybe that's not the most exciting finale to my list of things I've learned, but it represents a broader realization that I am worth my salt and that I am worth taking care of.   

But, having a positive attitude does more than make things at work more fun. It allows me to set big, audacious goals and try new things. It allows me to have a vision of the future that is full and bright that I can share with others. And do you know what? I achieve those big, audacious goals more often than not, and when I fail big time, it's ok. I get up and learn what I can for the future. 

As Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus always said, "Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!"


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Author: Beth Lemon