Being Awful Is Underrated

One of the toughest things I’ve come to learn with any project is old advice, in fact I’ve heard this many times before. “The hardest thing to do with a new project or technology is getting started.” Once you start, the project could be a roller coaster ride or it could be smooth sailing. The thing is, you can’t know until you’ve actually begun. No new problems will arise and no new issues will be solved.

Sure, not starting is the easiest thing to do, but it’s also the least productive. If you haven’t started because you don’t know how to do it, start with a simple solution that you know won’t work. Even if it doesn’t solve your problem, you’ve at least let your brain think of different possibilities.

You don’t need to put your failures on display

Especially when designing web sites or ads or anything else, just dive in. Some days you’ll nail it and other days you may think, how did I produce this piece of garbage. When I know I don’t have a good idea for a design, I’ll use the crappy idea until either someone gives some constructive feedback or my brain kicks into gear and slaps me around. Either way, putting an idea in motion opens up new avenues, new ways to complete the task.

I’ve been putting off learning SASS because “I’ll do it for my next project.” Several projects later I still haven’t started using it. So this week I urge you to fail. Start something and be terrible at it. Or at least don’t be scared to be terrible at it. There are no internet steroids. You can’t get better at web development by injecting HGH into your hands. Get started and don’t worry about how awful it is the first time around.

Failure in web development rarely hurts anyone, so why not suck at something new? As long as you don’t become happy with being terrible, you can only improve.

*Disclaimer: I am not advocating producing crappy work, I am merely saying the you can grow by learning from your mistakes.

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John Hartley is a Director of Product Engineering at Beam Dental in Columbus, OH. With 5+ years of leadership experience he has worked in startups, agencies, and began his career as a freelance Front End Developer. Always looking to iterate, this blog is a place for him to share his knowledge as well as hone his craft, challenge assumptions, and build a strong base of leadership and management knowledge. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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