Whether it’s kicking off a new project, working with a new client or starting a new position, we all want to be perfect right out of the gate. Perfect, however, is an unrealistic expectation. Regardless of whether it’s your first time or five hundredth, there is always a learning curve when beginning something new.
While it’s impossible to avoid this learning curve, there is a way to accelerate it and mitigate your confusion and stress. The secret is managing your effort. Effort comes in a lot of shapes, sizes and levels of effectiveness, especially in the workplace. The following list represents the areas our team finds most productive in managing the uncertainty of being new and the stress that accompanies it.
The Only Problem is Solutions that Haven’t Worked
When bumping into the unknown the first reaction is often to raise your hand and ask for help. But the key to finding a solution is creating a list of your attempted efforts. This allows you to identify the holes within your question as well as rule out poor solutions. And, once this is done, you can begin identifying additional options and work your way towards the right and/or best solution.
Most people only conduct research on the specific task at hand, but there’s much to be said about expanding your efforts to gain further context. By doing this, you familiarize yourself with past challenges, current opportunities and future considerations. This can help you better understand company or client goals and objectives as well as help you avoid hassling your coworkers for easy answers.
Understand Everyone’s Roles and Responsibilities
This sounds like a no brainer, but it’s easy to get caught up in your own work and neglect your team or clients. It’s important to set aside time and learn what each person does and how it moves the company forward. By doing this, you’re able to pinpoint where and who to get your answers from, allowing you to manage your confusion in both internal and external meetings.
Explore Your Industry
It’s normal to struggle with the idiosyncrasies of each new opportunity. Fully digesting your company, your team, and your role while also trying to learn more about your responsibilities and the industry itself is no easy feat. Sometimes trial and error is all you have time for.
However, that doesn’t mean chuck preparation to the wind and hope for the best. Studying a company’s business and industry outside of work can really help you manage your stress and confusion. Go to industry events, meet with networking friends, and constantly read articles about your business, clients, and company. This will no doubt help you feel more grounded in your field.
Overall, feeling stressed about new challenges is inevitable. And it’s natural to loathe that nerveracking feeling. But next time you cringe at the idea, or dread the learning curve that accompanies any “new” adventure, remember there’s always something you can do to manage it, and that starts with managing your efforts.