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December 21, 2010

A Look Back to Lessons Learned

In this post, Tavia recalls a few lessons learned over the past year …

Tavia Gavinski | Design

As Jaimy looks forward to the coming year and new beginnings, I’m taking a look back to remember some of my top lessons learned. In our weekly team meeting, we discuss challenges and triumphs and what we’ve taken away from them. Good or bad, we all learn from each other. Here are a few that I’d like to share.

A little praise goes a long way.

I’m not sure who brought this one up, but I couldn’t agree more. As we work our tails off to get projects out the door, we sometimes forget to take a step back and let each other know what a great job has been done. A simple pat on the back from a coworker or a note from a client boosts self-esteem and morale. It puts pep into our attitude and makes us want to work harder to earn that same satisfaction on the next job. So give a shout out to the people you work with and let them know what a great job they are doing!
 
Try new things.

I was recently asked to match a specific illustration style for a client. Now, I love to color with crayons and sketch out layouts, but I’m not an illustrator by any means. To complicate matters, the drawings were going to be of people. Drawing inanimate objects is one thing, but illustrating people requires a special touch that I don’t have. (Or at least didn’t think I had.) I convinced myself to dive into the project and the characters actually turned out well. I was happily surprised by the outcome. So don’t be afraid of new things. Jump in and give them a go!
 
Believe in your work.

Some design projects come in with tons of creative freedom, and others are completely spelled out by the time they reach me. I don’t have a preference between the two, because each presents a unique set of challenges. What is important is that I put 100% into each job that I do. If I don’t feel good about it or believe in it, no one else will. Most projects change and grow throughout the creative process, and I fight for things that I trust my instincts on. At the end of the day, your performance is a representation of you, so be proud of the work you do!
 
Communication is key.

This is one topic that appears on our radar frequently and affects each one of us differently. Since I work virtually, it’s hard for me ‘read’ people through emails. I don’t hear a person’s tone or see their body language. I also can’t feel the urgency of a looming deadline. This is when it’s important to clearly communicate what the deadline is, when I can accomplish the work, and when the client will receive the finished project. It’s a learning process, but I think everyone can benefit from effective communication.
 
We’re in this together.

I have to say, I think we have a great team at Blue Door. And what I’ve come to realize is that what makes us great is that we’re not perfect. But we are willing to take responsibility for our mistakes, learn from them and move on. Together. We all share our good moments as well as our not-so-good moments. And we are not afraid of our peers’ reactions, because we know that they will learn just as much as we have from our personal experience. I am grateful to be a part of a team that supports my accomplishments as well as my downfalls.
 
Throughout 2010, there were many other lessons learned, but these were the ones that stuck out for me. I’m sure that 2011 will bring many more, so here’s to learning and growing!