I use Photoshop daily to lay out wireframes, product ideas, touch up images, prep presentations — you name it. Learning Photoshop has been one of the single most useful skills I’ve acquired, and I’ll probably use it for the rest of my life. I encourage everybody to get at least a beginner’s-level training in Photoshop to help convert your abstract ideas into something more than words.
But today, me and Photoshop are fighting.
We’re not fighting because something Photoshop did, but rather, something I’ve come to realize about myself. When working on a few wireframes for this site, I got stuck on something so seemingly simple I was shocked I couldn’t figure it out on my own. Something so basic that surely someone like me — with more than a decade of experience — would be able to do without batting an eye. Seriously, though, I’m not kidding — this is probably Day 2 stuff in any online course, and I was struggling to figure it out. I was comfortable.
Because “Day 1” is the only day I ever took. For as long as I’ve been working in Photoshop, I haven’t completed a formal training course. I’ve never followed any online series that outlines the most important elements of the software. From the beginning, I kinda just poked around and figured out what each tool does — and eventually got good enough on my own that learning it all over again would be a major chore. Taking a real Photoshop tutorial course isn’t something I made time for. Working in the software for 10+ years, I should be pretty much the LeBron James of Photoshop, but admittedly, I am not.
That, my friends, got me thinking about today’s post.
“You Don’t Have 10 Years of Experience, You Have 1 Year of Experience Multiplied 10 Times”
The lack of knowledge that threw me into this shameful reflection is pretty easy to explain. For the last 10+ years, Photoshop has been something I simply did. I got good enough at it to get what I needed out of the software and not an ounce more was required. Fair enough, you might say. But what if you applied the same mentality to your relationships?
What if this was the mentality that guided your marketing, finance, or product development strategy?
What if, for the last 10 years — or worse, the next 10 years — you “Just DID It,” and made little to no progress on becoming what you should be today — the LeBron James of your thing?
(Clearly, I think very highly of LeBron James :).
Let me lay out the facts for you. We both need to become extremely intentional about what we learn and what we “do.” The simple act of doing something on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis does not mean you’re leveling up those skills. You’re comfortable — and your comfort level has allowed people who are just starting out to catch up to you, and maybe even surpass you, when you had something in the beginning they could never hope to compete with — time.
Identify the skills that are critical to your success, and go get uncomfortable all over again — like you were on Day 1.
If you’re confused, frustrated, and fail over and over again, congratulations! You’re making progress, and you’re on your way to Day 2, 3, 4 and beyond!