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  • Writer's pictureEA Creative

Every week of March we will post three thoughts for three years of the company from our CEO. This is the second post those posts.

Changing engineering, one person at a time.

At face value this makes no sense – and I guess it wouldn’t.

Twenty years ago I was in the back of a cab with a good friend on our way to dinner. At the time he was training to be a psychologist and I was working on getting my professional engineering license. I told him how I felt like talking to people as if they were people and being more personal felt somewhat different than what business is supposed to be about. It was a very early time in my career and I really hadn’t learned much at this point. But as I told him about how I wished business was less “business” and was more personal, he said that how I was acting toward people made it less like business. He then said, “you’re changing engineering one person at a time.”

There was something profound in the simplicity of what he said to me. I take that saying now to have different meanings and fit many situations. Regardless of the field you are in, there are ways to improve it, “changing (fill in your career descriptor here) one person at a time.” But for me, it means that I don’t need to necessarily conform directly to the model of business while doing business. It can be more personal and I can change the way I work with people thereby changing engineering one person at a time.

Relationships first, business second.

This isn’t as straightforward a comment as you might think. Yes, people should come first and business second. But I mean it in a bit of a different way.

I used to find it very uncomfortable to mingle with people, go to conferences, be forced into situations where I don’t know many people. If you know me well enough, you are likely saying this does not sound like the me you know and you don’t believe it. But the truth is that when I started going to conferences and meeting people I was VERY uncomfortable. Part of this goes back to trusting in yourself but another part of it goes into what you think when you are in these situations. My focus used to be work and functions – when I met people what did I need to get from them for work. It put a pressure on me to make sure I accomplished specific goals at these events. It also added a layer to the already uncomfortable thought process of meeting new people.

After many years of reflection, I realized that I should look at it as just simply meeting people. Hopefully I get along with the people I meet. This changed everything for me. I now speak with people on a personal level and try to develop that relationship. I put the business part of it second (both up front in person but in my mind). I’ve made many friends in the industry because of this approach. And the people you like to be around are the ones that, in the end, you want to work with.

Trust in your own accomplishments.

I relate trusting in your accomplishments directly with what is known as imposter syndrome. I think many more people than you would expect have experienced it – it’s just that nobody wants to talk about it. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is worth looking it up. The general concept is that even though there is proof through accomplishments that you are skilled and good at what you do, you feel like you either do not deserve it or there is some specific circumstance that helped you succeed but it is fleeting and is not due to your individual abilities. In short, you think you are an imposter that doesn’t deserve the accomplishments you have and therefore may not continue to succeed.

Having spent a good deal of time with this thought process juxtaposed against some great project accomplishments, I can speak about this from the heart. I spent many years in my career with successes that I appreciated in the moment but they were fleeting. I didn’t internalize them as moments in my life that prove I have skill, worth and value. So while I had many things to look at as success, it was hard to hold on to those things.

Daily reminders to yourself of your successes can be very helpful or even transformative. At one time I kept a gratefulness journal where I would write my accomplishments as a reminder to myself. Unfortunately I stopped doing that a while ago but I have replaced that with our family discussing what we are grateful for before we have dinner each night. It has a similar impact in that I am putting time aside each day to think about what I am grateful for – and often I am grateful for an accomplishment regardless of how small or large it is.

I have learned to be more open about this missing feeling of accomplishment that once was very dominant in my mind. When I share with someone (I don’t want to use the word admit because there is nothing to be ashamed of that I would be “admitting”) that I have struggled with trusting my own skills and value over my career, I often get the same reflected back. With very few exceptions, we all have moments in life where we are uncertain, we don’t believe in ourselves or we aren’t as sharp as we wish we were. For many of us, that happens in a way that it feels too frequent and makes you question your value and worth.

If I hadn’t gotten to a point where I truly understood my accomplishments, I would have never been able to start my own company. After focusing on this, I am much more aware of my value and worth. Remind yourself on a regular basis how accomplished you are and what you’ve done with your life and in your career. It will go a long way to dealing with imposter syndrome if it happens to you. And if it doesn’t, it is still great to remind yourself (and be grateful for) your successes.

  • Writer's pictureEA Creative

Every week of March we will post three thoughts for three years of the company from our CEO. This is the first of those posts.

There is enough to go around for everyone.

The first thought is not originated by me but one that has become important to me and our company. My wife is a psychologist in private practice. Many years ago, when she got too full to accept other patients she started referring them out to trusted colleagues – who could also be seen as competitors. While I understood why she would not just turn down a new client but also refer them to someone else, a part of me saw a conflict. It felt to me like the very act of helping someone who is not your own client was then helping your competition strengthen thereby impacting your ability to compete. I asked her if sending a potential client to a potential competitor was something that ever crossed her mind. Her answer to me, “There is enough to go around for everyone.” And she is right.

I think about this frequently in business decisions, in working with others, in my daily life. We can look out for our own interests while helping others too. Yes, at times, it seems like there are only so many pieces of the pie. But life and work have been much more fulfilling when I look to help everyone without worrying about if it impacts my business at the same time. Maybe of most importance is that by consciously acting like there is enough to go around, it really feels like there is – and that takes some of the edge off.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

I’ve had this quote on my wall for at least 5 years. For too long in my life, I compared myself to others. If someone else was doing well, why wasn’t I doing as well? If someone else has something that I wanted (or even just thought I might want), why don’t I have that? I know where a lot of that comes from in the history of my life and from childhood, but changing the thought was important. And when I came across this quote, it was very inspirational. What does it matter what other people have, how other people are seen or any other aspects? Really what is important is to continue to improve yourself. I’ve come to believe that when I focus on what others have in relation to me, I am avoiding looking at those things I need to improve about myself. It is probably an unconscious purposeful plan by my brain. How I relate to others, what I say and when I say it are all important to me trying to be “noble.” Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. But I do what I can to focus on being superior to my former self.

And from a business standpoint, I have (mostly) been successful at not focusing on other similar businesses and what they have or how my company may be superior. I focus on what I want for this firm and our team and how we, as a company, can be superior to our former selves.

Do good.

This one is straightforward. Our whole company is focused not only on projects and, of course, making a living, but in trying to do good. We all believe that it feeds our souls – helps us to feel we aren’t just working a job every day. We want our projects to be part of a greater good, our actions to be part of that good and therefore, our firm, to be part of the overall good.

  • Writer's pictureEA Creative

This month marks 3 years of EA Creative and the picture below marks Erich Arcement in 3rd Grade (he has since learned how to tie a tie). Below is a quick YouTube playlist proving that three is both magical, and catchy. Thanks for celebrating 3 with us.

Three Year Anniversary Playlist


Then De La Soul took it and made it super catchy (not that it wasn’t already)

And then apparently Blind Melon covered the song

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