Solve My Problems

Listen to Me Solve My Problems With Words

Warning: I don’t know what the point of this post will be. Not yet anyways. Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll find out.

This morning when I opened my eyes it felt as though I was waking from the dead. One eye at a time revealed the flat light of the lower mainland through the curtains. I instantly felt a pang of angst as I realized my office a few steps away was begging for my attention.

Here’s a list of my problems:

  • A client asked for an urgent social media pitch a month ago. I wrote the pitch. The client disappeared for a month and came back asking for a complete shift in direction.
  • A new client is looking for social media help, but the startup process has been similar to helping my Dad set up his iTunes at Christmas time.
  • I’m also a hockey coach, in case you didn’t know. I had to release some kids this past weekend, and let’s just say the backlash has been disheartening.

Let me ask you a simple question: do you come to this space to hear me complain? Heck no.

WordCamp Vancouver

Way back in 2012 I gave a talk at WordCamp in Edmonton that’s been haunting me to the core of my being ever since – that’s how bad it went. I told myself I would never go back, that speaking to people in that industry was a mistake I’d do well to avoid until I was long dead in the cold cold ground.

It’s a negative line of thinking. The problem with WordCamp Edmonton was I was trying to please an audience I didn’t really understand. And yeah, I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time, copywriting-wise, which didn’t help.

So when I got the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Vancouver last month, after overcoming my terror at everything that could go wrong, I embraced the unknown and committed to the experience with all my body and soul. I gave a talk that was truly my own yet relevant to the web industry.

And it fucking SLAYED.

Here’s my WordCamp YVR talk, On Creativity (& a bunch of other stuff).

The UBC Thunderbirds Men’s Hockey Team

It’s high time I used this space (my own company’s blog, after all), to talk about the other side of my life: coaching hockey. This summer I landed an assistant coaching position with the University of British Columbia’s Men’s Varsity Hockey Team.

Why is this interesting for you? Because it happened right around the time I lost a big blogging contract that accounted for about 30% of my workload (you might have read about it). So, my time commitment was replaced, not to mention my emotional attachment to a hockey team.

My current issues are starting to dwindle. That’s good.

OMG I’m Arriving at a Point

It’s funny how people who work in a particular field or industry rarely put that industry to work for them. It didn’t dawn on me until this morning’s dawn that while I’m busy writing about other companies, other people, other stories, it might be a good idea to write about my own story. Like I told my audience at WordCamp Vancouver last month, it makes little sense to try to walk someone else’s path.

And after all, if you’re still here, it’s because you might want to read what I have to write, no?

Yes. Here’s a couple ways you can annihilate your challenges with super-charged laser beams of dedication and commitment:

  • Focus on Blueprint-Building Behaviour: Stay above your problems. Don’t blame or make excuses. The opposite of blueprint-building behaviour is destruction. Don’t destroy. Build.
  • Learn to say no and stick to it. Take a breather if you need to strip emotion out of a decision, but once you’ve made a decision, don’t waiver.
  • Lead every day. Be the change you wish to see in the world even when no one is watching. This is especially relevant when you’re trying to teach Slack to a team of 35 tech-resistant and skeptical 40-somethings.
  • If someone is doing something you appreciate, tell them. Spread some energy around. No one likes complainy energy vampires.

Your Particular Brand of Creativity Will Be Earned

This was how I finished my talk at WordCamp Vancouver, but I didn’t know it would be how I finished this post. I think people get so wrapped up in their day to day challenges, both the difficult ones and the rewarding ones, that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Now, I don’t want to constantly live my life for tomorrow, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves why the grind is worth it.

That big contract I lost a few months ago? Last week I got it back, except it’s less work and more money. I stuck to my guns, told the client exactly what they needed and what it would cost to achieve it, and the contract was signed instantly. This wouldn’t have happened if I spent too much time feeling sorry for myself or if I’d tried to insulate the contract with methods I wasn’t completely comfortable with.

Oh yeah, I do Instagram now.

I’m awake now. And I no longer feel like an animated corpse, which is good I guess. I’m myself. Which is also good, because everybody else is taken.

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