If I were to stop and think about the things in life I know to be true from the point where I’m standing now, 3 simple statements come to mind:
1. Everything is about experience.
2. Trial and error is a necessity.
3. Don’t work harder, work smarter.
1. Everything is about experience
All of our life experiences shape our skills and abilities, no matter how small and insignificant they would seem. You can never know for sure where sharing those experiences will get you, or how the little things you’ve learned may open doors you never even thought to knock on.
2. You need trial and error
In these times of change, there is no exact formula to ensure that whatever you do, things will work out….or that the best solution to your problem, whatever that problem is, will present itself out of nowhere. But even when you think that you did something wrong, or that you need to take a step back, or that you’ve “wasted time” on actions that didn’t give you the result you hoped for, you DID gain something. You’ve gained a new experience, or added value to the experiences you’ve already had. Sometimes, it will work out, sometimes not. The key is to never stop creating solutions where you think there are none.
3. Don’t work harder, work smarter
This is maybe the most important thing, and pretty much sums up everything I said before. All of our knowledge, life experience, all of our trials and errors will teach us, among everything else, one important thing: how to manage in complete chaos. You will be amazed how creativity, “survival” skills, and productivity increase when experiencing total chaos. A chaotic environment is the boot camp for life skills. It is not about putting in more work to finish the task; it’s about finding patterns that work and putting them to good use. Of course, the point is to learn how to manage the chaos, to be able to put everything in order, and to create a “guidebook to your future self”, because yes, chaos will come probably back to mess with you.
And how is any of this related with my SEO internship in GigaVoice?
Well, SEO is the definition of chaos. The internet is a liquid, rapidly changing environment. Rules are changing every day. Something that is a fact today, may not be relevant tomorrow. Part of an SEO’s job is to track all of those changes, to adjust strategies to meet these requirements, or to develop new strategies. To be able to do that means that you need to try different strategies simultaneously, and sometimes to fail in order to learn what works.
Trying out new ideas
In the recent past, I’ve found myself in situations where I didn’t know why I am doing a certain activity. I found myself in doubt whether any of my ideas would work. Being able to keep the goal in mind was driving my motivation and stopping me from giving up when I thought I was failing.
GigaVoice provided me, and my intern colleagues, with an opportunity to TRY ON ideas we had and to share our thoughts and conclusions without being judged.
You can surprise yourself
Meanwhile, I learned that my life experiences, no matter if I got them in school, work or just reading and researching stuff I am interested in, have left me with skills I didn’t know I had (although my mentor, Lee, was able to recognize and put them to a good use). This is how I learned that you can make value of everything you do in life. You just need to find the gap that was meant to be filled in with your knowledge, experience and the lessons that you’ve learned.
Becoming more efficient
Finally, throughout this 12 weeks internship, I was in position where I had to work 3 different jobs at the same time. This is a real test for the limits and capabilities of an individual. And what did I learn? I spent hours and hours at work, but I found shortcuts. I learned to prioritize. I learned that I can draw a pattern out of every chaotic experience.
So if I can sum up what I have learned in this 3 months internship journey (besides a portion of SEO), I would say this:
- Draw from experiences. Online and offline. Every experience may build up useful skills and add value to the work.
- Dont be afraid to test theories and try different paths. Every mistake is a lesson learned. Every success is a lesson learned.
- Work smarter, not harder. Prioritize. Build your own working patterns and apply them as much as you can. It may seem hard and chaotic, but if you give yourself time to take a step back, youll be able to find your own matrix.
Finally, last but not least. Rise up to a challenge, but do not overload. Never, NEVER, underestimate the value of a short break.