"Getting Real" and Getting Real
New years, new starts. That's always how it is. This is the time of resolutions, the time of promises. More than any other period during the year, it's this one that brings so many people to the brink of change. So make that resolution to yourself, make that promise to yourself - but remember that it's one thing to say, another thing to do. Everybody's making their predictions for how 2006 is going to be, whether humorous or not, people are already trying to solve the year before it starts. Isn't that the magic of time? That you don't know what's going to come ahead of you. Well, either way, we can all make our predictions, but there is another thing that is certain. This is that people are willing to change what's not there before they change what's right in front of them.
As for my prediction, this year is the second coming of the "I'm not going to take any shit," era. I apologize in advance for the abundance of the word, "shit," but getting my point across is more important than keeping parents happy right now. You may remember back in 2000 when the investors of great companies such as eToys.com coming to their senses and not wanting to take anymore shit. I can see this happening this year in some magnitude. Although 2005 was one of my best years on the web, it was also another year of false promises, and a hell of a lot of them. Not only false promises, but fallacies on all scales. From software and their missed beta launches, to the disappointments of manufacturers not getting their products out on time. Last year was a year of restrictive tolerance, meaning that we only gave so much before we crashed down on something for being fake or bearing false promises. What's sad about this is that there were many awesome launches in many of our world's industries, but they were just too overshadowed by thieves, spammers, and the RIAA. We've been through a lot of shit, and frankly, I don't think any of us are looking for another year of it. If people are willing to call this "bubble 2.0" then they must be willing to accept the totality of the implications, not only those in the financial or emotional worlds.
There's this song I used to hear in church, and it ends with "let it begin with me." Let 2006 be a year where change beings with you, and let it be a year where you exemplify honesty. I'm not saying be a priest, but take what is being said and apply it to very simple things. Case in point, one of my mentorees came to me with a question about the text on his website. The first thing I asked him was, "are you on your own?" because the text said, "We are a design firm based in [...] providing expert services in the following fields." Okay, so it was a little different than that, but what irked me the most was the "we are a design firm" phrase. I come to see that the guy is a single freelance designer. What's wrong with saying that you're a freelance designer working out of your home? I believe this industry is smart enough to know that so many of us actually work out of our homes and that very few of us actually consider ourselves serious enough to start a "design agency." I told him to change the text, mainly because if he was so open to falsifying the identity of his business, then how's the client to believe that what he's seeing is true? How about if I were to go to him and ask to see pictures of his office, or talk to his boss or his partners. Okay, so that's a bit anal, but it could very well happen. We've witnessed some moments in the last few years that has caused the average user or average client to shiver in their boots when it comes to hiring somebody based on what they see on screen. We also realize that clients have been getting better (for the most part), so we need to meet them halfway and expose ourselves in a clearer light. By committing little fallacies like the one described above, we would be burning all that we've been striving to build in the past years when it comes to client/contractor relationships.
When it comes down to it, be truthful to yourself most of all. Know your situation, know your limits. Personally, I know that 2005 was a hard year in terms of limits. If I didn't stop myself when I did, I would have driven myself and a lot of my relationships into the fires of hell. For me at least, 2006 will be a year where I'm truthful to myself. In the past I have never turned down projects, and I have been guilty of committing fallacies like those above as well. But I'll let it begin with me when I say that there will be no more of that. Our lives are way too important, but so are the ones that belong to the people we deal with.
So take this opportunity to not only be truthful to others, but be truthful to yourself. Take this opportunity in the one time of the year that is made for new opportunities and new beginnings. More than that, once you make that promise to yourself and to others, make sure that you hold that to be true for the 362 days that lie ahead of you. Take what you learn from the next year and pay it forward, and if you start today, who knows who will follow?