Past, Present, and Future

What we learned in 2019 that shapes who we are today and drives our decisions for tomorrow.

Diana Lillicrap and Wendy Ruyle 12.19.2019

As the year wraps up, we’ve taken a moment to compare notes, reflect on what mattered most, and discuss how to apply what we learned in 2019 as we move into the coming year.

Nurture the good

This year we’ve been reminded that good partners are critical for success. As we look forward to 2020 we are making plans to nurture the best partners in our network. Our clients that have been strong advocates and amazing recommenders, our extended team members and vendors who are experts in their field, and our own inhouse staff of talented go-getters. We are taking time to recognize and celebrate them all, because business (and life) is better with strong partners and quality relationships.

Perfection is the enemy of progress

In 2019 we recognized that no matter how long you’ve been in business, sometimes you need to go back to the basics and be open to making shifts. But change—and learning new things—can be intimidating. Often, we put on yourself an expectation of instant perfection. Our advice is to just take the first step. Once you get moving, you usually realize that learning something new, doing something in a different way, or stepping back and critically examining your work usually takes less time and effort than you may have feared. And trying (with less than perfect outcomes), is more productive than standing still. If you let go of your fear and embrace a growth mindset—one that believes you can continue to learn and improve in all areas of your life—the possibilities are endless and progress is guaranteed.

Change at a sustainable pace

We’ve had a lot of change happening this year at 5 by 5 Design. We’ve been working with several new clients from across the country. We’ve added a new employee to our team. We’ve updated our own brand—color, marketing messages, and will soon launch an updated website. Plus, we’ve implement lots of other administrative and business shifts. We know change is good, but too much change at once can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve learned that planning for change is key, expecting things to take longer than you plan is realistic, and realizing that everyone adjusts to change at their own rate is important. We’ve also recognized that changes made at work affect employees in all areas of life. As we keep moving forward in our ever-changing world, we will continue to do our best, work hard to recognize and manage the amount of change that is happening at once (when we can), and allow for flexibility, adjustments, and plans b, c, and d.

You don’t know what you don’t know

The thing about doing something new (or lots of things for us this year), is that you just can’t predict upfront what you don’t know about what you are about to embark upon. But as you go through the process it becomes evident. The real costs become clearer, the unexpected struggles come to light, and the unforeseen roadblocks will always pop up. Our advice is to buffer. Buffer your budgets, your schedules, and your expectations about how fast, easy, and far reaching a change will be. And then learn and fine-tune as you go.

Life is still short

We said it last year, and we lived it this year. We took time to re-evaluate our priorities. We worked hard to conscientiously manage our workloads to better balance with our lives (including taking extended time off during the holidays—hooray!) And we made shifts to reflect our belief that people and relationships matter more than work and money. These are learnings that have become core to our decision-making process, and we will honor them in the years ahead.

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