A week of self-learning, awkwardness and totally taking over my fears. It’s been a week of really asking myself what do I want to do, and why aren’t I doing it. The answer as it is for everyone else is fear - so I took one step towards realising fear was taking over and kicked it away!

Monday
Today, work-wise was wild. A range of emotions spread out all through today - from pure dread to pure disappointment. Something I use to love doing, that I now dread - I did a “public speaking” course.

The first day was honestly one of the worst days - I was so nervous, to the level my heart was beating out of my ears. I’ve never had nerves like it.

We had to talk for a minute and I was mumbling, standing still and awkward. So awkward. Before, I use to love speaking in public (I do - just not work related), but then I got feedback that knocked me completely and the thought of standing up in front of people it was terrible.

So.. thats Monday.

Tuesday
Roll on the second day of training. After yesterday, I honestly thought on my way home of 105 excuses to not go, I’m i’ll, I need to paint the door, my garden needs doing.

THEN, when I arrived at home, I had a word with myself, I needed too. I know this course is a positive, I knew it was going to make me a better designer, I cant harp on and on about being a designer now is more about relationships and comms then ever before and not “do-what-I-preach”.

I turned fear into excitement. I wanted ppl staring.

I went first, spoke for approx 3 mins (actually the course tutor lost track of time) and made people stand up to start with, I walked around the room, paused, gestured and got the crowd to shout a swear word.

I took control, I could of spoken for much longer and I loved it.

Excitement instead of fear.

Wednesday
Returning to Leeds, after Monday and Tuesday offsite-training, straight into 4 meetings and a lot of “can I just ask you a quick question?”.

One meeting stuck out - discussing the project from last week that went a bit awry. The B.A. I’m working with is really top notch, and she realises it was not done correctly and has let design take lead on changing the work (step by step), and i’m incredibly grateful for this, and will also highten the teams confidence, happiness and ability to share ways-of-workings easier.

Thursday
My first Interaction Meet -up, hosted in Leeds (which is handy). I love gatherings like this, plenty of group learnings shared and exciting opportunities mentioned.

Things I took away: Be more active on Slack, Option to attend a Service Design course, Improving design and its understanding - in the wider business, It’s ok to be wrong, and it’s ok for your team to be wrong (yes - more of this!), My line-manager has my back, not that I needed reminding of this, but he really has and that has powered me through the tougher times,

All of the above, AND we had Vic Bell in for the guest speaker. I’ve followed Vic’s work for years, weirdly I knew her work before I knew her. We’ve chatted plenty on twitter for the past 3 years (we both had a nipper around the same time). Check her work out - it’s incredible!

Her talk was amazing, it really touched a nerve. Having someone who suffers from depression in the family means its a very sensitive subject and her openness, honestly and down-to-earth reminded me of the positive sides of the illness, as well as coping mechanics.

Thanks Vic, it was great.

Friday
A lot of catch-ups (again), and a meeting with the BA to discuss future tickets on Jira for next sprint and how best to work.

Need to discuss better ways of working together - but it’s certainly a start.

I really rate the BA and PO on the team - they have the user, team, and ways of working always in mind and the direction they are going in is one im 100% on-board to follow.

Good things
Speak like a leader course on Monday and Tuesday was eye-opening. I have often wanted to speak in a public place, and really feel comfortable doing it, and now I feel ready. Now I feel worthy of filling a stage. It is not just for the “expected” public speaking, I need to up my presentation skills and leadership in meetings, and this course spoon-fed me what I needed and a very timely reminder of the skills needed. We all have the skills - I just needed to be reminded!

Learned things
Sometimes, people do things for the best reasons but they do not match your expectations. In the past - I use to be so firey it would lead to broken relationships and emotions running a little wild in meetings. As I’m in a new work-place, I decided to improve my communication skills and more importantly, UNDERSTAND other people’s expectations and reasons why - this is massive in my own happiness (and theirs), and has led to some really interesting conversations and different outcomes. Things might not be perfect - but everyone is trying their best.

Difficulties
That pesky comfort zone caused me havoc at the start of the week, it really did. But, having the ability to “hold myself accountable” is an amazing turn - I had that chat to myself, I had the realisation that this course is not going to harm me, but improve me. If possible, get out of the comfort zone as much as you can - it’s a great / terrible / enlightening / frustrating learning curve - but the secret is.. you never fail.

Achievements
Turning the corner and feeling comfortable again in speaking in front of people. Having tools to turn a point, into a detailed conversation with structure and without heavy lifting. I can’t thank the team in assisting in this enough - as I grow in my role, it’s becoming more and more obvious being a good designer is not about how well you design, it’s how well you understand the problem and talk to others about the problem AND presenting the solution in a manner which is understandable by all and not exclusive to designers.


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