I spent much of this weekend at WordCamp North Canton, a forum on everything WordPress.
Here are my takeaways from Day 2. You can read about Day 1 here.
1. Set micro-goals. Dr. Phil Kim encouraged us to name a goal that we wanted to achieve by the end of the year. He then asked us to “chunk” that goal into smaller tasks we could get done each month. From there, we could set a daily task that would get us to that micro-goal.
Dr. Kim’s own example of this is his habit of writing 15 minutes a day. This small but relentless habit he has formed has allowed him to write three books, blog posts, and more.
2. WD-40 is a “failure” in more ways that you know. Most people know that WD-40 is so named because it was the 40th try at a water displacement formula.
What’s less known is that WD-40 was meant to be used in rockets, not on high-school lockers. Norm Larsen, its creator, was an actual rocket scientist. He never considered a use for his formula outside of rocket science.
Rather than seeing this as a “failure,” Dr. Kim tells us, Larsen allowed his customers to take his product into areas unimaginable by him. Sometimes we present our craft and others take it into entirely new directions. We should see this as the joy of sharing, not as a failure.
3. Your ideas need grandparents. We are the “parents” of our ideas. Parents spend every day with their children doing the messy work. Grandparents, on the other hand, get to see the bigger picture.
“My, how you’ve grown!” is something only a grandparent could say. Parents lose this perspective when they see the child daily.
When you’re working on an idea, it’s hard for you to notice growth. To stay encouraged, you need someone to tell you how much your idea has grown. So send someone a weekly project report. Use this as a “to-done” list of your accomplishments. This helps you and your “idea grandparent” see the growth of your idea.
4. Fight impostor syndrome. Who knew there was a clinical diagnosis for this? Three WordPress users led a talk on fighting the demons of “I’m not good enough.” In a room full of bloggers, designers, and business owners, the fear of putting oneself out there was particularly acute. However, we learned that the only way to fight impostor syndrome was to keep doing our craft – it’s the only way to get more comfortable with our work.
5. Low expectations, low results. This was an interesting point made at the panel by someone with a disability. “People see me and don’t expect much from me,” he said. “So I could be tempted to produce low results.” But when it comes time to produce something valuable, it can be hard to get others to expect much.
We’ve all been there — whether because of our age, skill level, or educational background. We’re tempted not to try because nobody expects anything from us. Don’t let others’ expectations guide your results.
6. This is the future. This was my first Wordcamp, and I was quite impressed. Like the open-source software itself, Wordcamp is fueled by collaboration. PhDs and retirees alike were learning and contributing. There were web developers, consultants, and writers alike. What brought everyone together was a desire to improve their craft with WordPress. Seminars were offered for every skill level imaginable.
In the connection economy where finding one’s voice is essential, groups like this are important. Find a conference to polish your craft.
I am looking forward to more WordCamps — fortunately, they are held all over the world!
Photo courtesy user Alexis on Pixabay.