Recently a collegue of mine shared a story of a heated conversation she had with a contractor who insisted that her services where not needed based on the fact that the house addition was under the 4,000 square foot max which stipulates stamped permit drawings. Ignoring the fact that the clients had felt it necessary to engage her for the success of the project regardless of the law, the contractor was questioning her value. I haven't thought about this for awhile because I've been busy studying/taking my licensing exams and all those study materials promote the industry - of course. But previous to that I spent a lot of time thinking of our value, especially when people wondered aloud why folks should hire architects when there were builders and contractors doing the same thing.
The idea of bringing value holds an immense amount of responsibility. You are taking your training, your experience, your continued education and trying to find solutions. You have tools and processes in place that define the problem, create options and approach an ideal. As each project provides a unique issue, you need to maintain an open mind, be flexible and be confident that the fear of the blank page will at some point manifest itself as a joy of curiosity. Because no matter how much you know, there is always that fear in heading down a new path where there is no guarantee of success, there's only hopeful trust.
I'm a big proponent of Kaizen or continual improvement - find a passion or an interest and dive in. This idea of value, of trusting a process has me intrigued and I've been spending some time finding out how others manage the process and break things down into simple steps. I found that the many videos that Eric from 30x40 design workshop has created have helped to reinforce the steps and tools that go into the design process. I've learned a ton and have been reintroduced to things I learned about in architecture school but haven't implemented - I would highly recommend checking them out and this is a good place to start.
Image sourced at Behance