Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
“The most dangerous phrase in language is, ‘this is the way we've always done it.’”
Lately, I've been challenging myself to take a second look at how I approach things.
Referencing the quote above, I've always had some pretty hard and fast beliefs about how I work. A lot of this stemmed from my web design days, when I was convinced that there was only one or two proper ways to develop and design a website. Over the last year I've begun challenging some of those things because I'm now in a different place.
I started working around other people who have come to me with different approaches and the way they carry out their jobs. Watching this inspired me to sit down and start exploring some alternative ways of doing things.
My first jump “out of the box” was working with a new content management system that wasn't WordPress. And I know—that's not exactly design related. But I took it a step farther and skipped Photoshop when I started working on the design. Instead, I started with Adobe XD.
It's forced me to re-think my usual methods that I was automatically going to and using, while not thinking about the impact it had on my work.
In XD, I was in a new environment and had to open myself up to learning new tools and force myself to tackle things in a different way, even though the end product was something I've done before.
It was fun to see how much my process changed because there was a new button or feature I had in front of me to try. It was fun being in that new space where I could play and see what would happen with the results.
I'm very excited about some of the new work that I'm coming out with. There's still that element of “oh, Dan did it.” But it's been a wonderful new, fresh take on what I typically do.
A lot of designers and developers easily get sucked into their workflow. It's a little safe zone that we get into. The longer you design, the easier it is to fall into this trap. By forcing myself to get outside of that comfort zone, even for a little bit, has helped even if I do go back to the way I “always did things.”
I'm excited to see how this impacts my work as I get back to the tools I'm used to working with. It's so easy to feel like things get stale and we need to shake stuff up from time to time.
So for the remainder of 2018, my goals it to continue keeping an open mind about leaving my comfort zone. I think it'll be a fun experiment. Who knows—maybe I'll learn something really cool along the way.