WIP - Part I: Constructive Lowlights

Phases of Unfiltered Growth

There are those parts in films where a character undergoes many changes. It is usually glossed over in a montage of clips, but in real life can take months and years to change. Not to mention the setbacks and restarts. Therefore, iconic movies like Rocky and The Karate Kid, which showcase the process, not only seem realistic to me, but I can relate to them. Personally or professionally, we are all meant to grow and develop. There is always something to learn and improve on. Join me in this mini-blog series called: Work In Progress.


Learn and Practice

Learning does not end when you complete your studies in high school or university. Once you graduate, your learning continues: in a co-op, the professional work place or independently starting up a business. Developing essential skills for any industry include: good communication, time management, consistency, discipline, multi-tasking, adaptability and more.

A skill that I am always trying to develop is consistency. I find there are periods in my life when all the aspects of my personal and work life compliment each other. There is a balance. But when aspect, like a change in employment or after a trip, it is difficult for me to get back into that groove again. It then becomes easy to feel anxious or down. Yet, that is just a part of the building up that consistency. You do not really grow when it is easy to implement a skill, rather you develop more when your skills are tested in new and challenging ways.

Do you take time to practice? This is another struggle of mine and I am sure for a lot of people, too. When we were kids, sometimes we had to set aside a time to practice an instrument like piano or violin. Or we schedule afternoons devoted to hockey or soccer practice. As I grow older, I feel like I have less and less time. And when I do find some time, do I put it into practice? Truthfully, not always. But I think it is, again, a part of developing consistency.

A small start is still a start. Sometimes I can get caught up in the planning phase when learning a new skill that when it does not go the way that I want, it does not go through. I think back to when I was a kid and how I loved to draw. Every day, it just came so easily. I could always find the time to do a sketch. Maybe it is the skill I want to learn and how interested I am in it that affects how I want to practice it. If you are passionate about what you are learning than it will come together.

What if you need to learn something difficult? As a solopreneur, learning about business is essential to building up a great network and brand position in the creative industry. I am learning so much from other designers and business owners who have years and years or experience through a community I joined called Communo.

The way I learn is a process I used when studying the German language. After learning the grammar and sentence structure, in order to expand our vocabulary, our instructor would have us explore a subject for a couple of weeks. For example, we would read articles and studies about the brain and how it works. Specific words and phrases are used for this particular subject. Reviewing the new concepts required, time and practice. We had to read about the topic, write about it, talk about it. After this process did concepts begin to really stick.

There are many study hacks and tips out there that are really helpful. But when it comes down to it, to become a master or professional in any field, requires constant practice. Developing the skills and discipline for study is in itself a great learning tool. Take the time and learn carefully and do not forget to have fun! ■

Patricia Atienza