Recently Taz Loomans, a local architect who writes a blog at a site named Blooming Rock asked if I would contribute to a post she was writing about building confidence as an architect. Of course I jumped at the chance to contribute, but it also forced me to do some soul searching of my own as to what to advise. I thought I would share with you the three tips that I felt resonated for me and which may help you as well....
Curiosity cultivates your creativity. It may not appear that what you’re interested in relates to anything relevant or useful, but follow your curiosity without judgement. All those disparate points will align to create a holistic creative self that brings a unique quality to your projects. It’s important to remember what or who inspires you when things are tough.
I take on opportunities outside of work that utilize and strengthen the skills I need to be a successful project manager. For instance, one of the reasons I joined the AIA’s ForWARD Committee was because I hated networking and I knew that this would force me into meeting new people. Having a common topic around the committee's efforts made meeting and speaking to new people much easier. As the years progressed and my confidence grew; I volunteered to coordinate programs, speak at events & eventually was asked to lead the committee.
Another example, was joining my children's school PTA Board as the Volunteer Coordinator. I knew this position would require ample delegation and organizational strategies, two skills that directly relate to my day job. The qualities that I see as most valuable to an architect are a willingness to listen, a passion for problem solving, patience towards the process of design and an ability to communicate well. These qualities can be gained through succeeding in your daily work, but for me there's a more profound sense of confidence that grows from utilizing your skills to give value to organizations and groups.
Trust you gut
When you are overwhelmed or stumped, just dump all that you know out on the page or the drawing. You typically know more than you think, it just needs to get out and be sifted through. From that point you can find the gaps and find meaningful ways to deal with them. Most people are happy to answer your questions, but are more inclined if you come to them with your own assumptions and efforts first. Carve out time to be a lifelong learner of your craft by reading books, magazines, going to lectures or events. All these pieces of information will inform what you do and help you feel more confident when facing a challenge or a blank page.
Image sourced from Tiffany Han, herself an excellent source of positive motivating advice.