Finally, we’ve arrived at the 10th and final strategy for the DIY WordPress website builder and that is, Be Patient with Yourself. Just as it’s hard to employ strategy 9, Embrace Imperfection, this one is equally hard. I think this is common human experience and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I’m prone to making moral judgements about my performance. I’m not happy with myself if I feel like a class didn’t go well or I’ll walk away from a live session where I screwed the answer up or where I couldn’t figure out the right answer to the problem and feel like I didn’t go a very good job.
Making Value Judgements Based on Performance
I also observe this all the time in other people, I observe people being discouraged because they haven’t yet figured it out or they’re discouraged because they can’t figure something out when they’ve worked really hard to do just that. And they’ll say “I don’t think I’m a stupid person”.
It’s that process of making a value judgement about yourself based on some kind of performance that is an impediment to actually being effective. It’s a barrier to getting this job done, to getting your website up and helping your business if for no other reason than negative moral self judgement leads you to be discouraged.
I do hear this all the time from people that they’ll have worked and worked on this thing and they got really discouraged and just had to put it down thinking they’d come back and take a look at it again tomorrow. Well, that’s making a negative self judgement about yourself, a negative moral judgement, a negative value judgement about yourself that for some reason or another, you should be able to get this and since you didn’t get this, there’s something wrong with you.
Treat Yourself Like you’d Treat Someone you Love
My suggestion is, that you think about this as if you were teaching someone you cared about how to do this or how to do something. Would you encourage them to think that way about themselves?
So what if it was your son and your daughter or your wife or your friend and you were helping them figure something out and they say, “Oh my gosh, I’m just not getting this”, would you say, “God, he must be a stupid person” or “How can you be so thick and just not figuring it out?”. You wouldn’t say that to somebody else you cared about and I encourage you to treat yourself in that same way.
Entirely aside from this whole question of negative moral judgement based on performance, my wife is a 5’4″ and I think she ranges anywhere between a 126 lbs when she’s absolutely delighted with herself and 134 lbs when she is disgusted with herself. All about her body image and her feeling about herself has an 8lbs span that is entirely irrational.
She doesn’t think of it as irrational and she will say it’s not irrational and then she’ll say, “See, this is what I look like when I’m 134 lbs”, and then when she gets down to 126 lbs she’ll say, “See, how good I look now that I’m down to 126 lbs”, but it’s entirely irrational. We have 4 adult daughters now and if any of our daughters said that sort of thing about themselves out loud, she would be mortified. She wouldn’t wish that negative judgement on anybody else but she’ll inflict on herself every single day.
I encourage you to attempt to implement that as you’re working in the process of learning that you judge yourself in the same way that you would judge somebody else you cared about. If you’re impatient with yourself while you are learning how to do this or you’re working on how do this, impatience means that you haven’t given yourself the time to learn and if you don’t give yourself the time to learn, you’re just going to spend time frantically flailing around.
I had a guy call me last weekend who’s a longtime member of the site but it’s been a long time since he worked in WordPress, he kind of forgot some of the basics of WordPress. He’s never built an eCommerce site in his life but on a cocktail hour on Friday afternoon, I got a call from him because he’s got to have his eCommerce site up by Sunday. He spent the last day flailing around at it. Since it’s got to be done by Sunday he doesn’t have time to watch any of the videos, since it’s got to be done by Sunday, he doesn’t have time to relearn some things that he has forgotten.
Respect that the Web Building Process is Challenging
That kind of impatience doesn’t give him the time that it really takes in order to learn how to do something and so the only possible result from that is flailing and failure. There’s no possibility of success on something as complex as building an eCommerce site in WordPress. When you’ve never done it before, you don’t have the skillset and you don’t have the time and that kind of impatience really means that you don’t respect the enterprise because learning how to do this is challenging.
I can tell you, I’ve helped thousands of people work on their websites in one way or another and every one of them has found some aspects of it challenging. I have found this process very challenging many times. If you don’t respect it or you don’t anticipate it being challenging and then you run into the challenge, you feel like you’re not a good enough person or you’re not doing it right or you haven’t taken all the necessary steps or something is wrong because you aren’t able to build this eCommerce website in a weekend.
What you’re trying to learn when you’re trying to build your own website is challenging. There are many things and many aspects of it that will be challenging, some of them you may find very difficult but if that wasn’t the case, people wouldn’t be doing this for a living. If it wasn’t the case, you would be able to go pay somebody $50 to build your website for you if it wasn’t a challenge, if it wasn’t complex, if it didn’t require you to learn things, if it didn’t require specialized skills.
It’s essential that you recognize that there are challenges to be met while you are learning how to do this and to be patient with yourself and to be patient with the process. And not to become discouraged, not to beat yourself up, not to make moral value judgements about yourself because you’re learning something, because you wouldn’t do that to your kid.
You wouldn’t make a negative judgement about your 5 year old daughter or your 5 year old granddaughter because she was struggling learning how to read. You wouldn’t do that sort of thing and since you wouldn’t do that with them, you shouldn’t do that with yourself because this is a real thing that takes some time, energy and effort to learn and you should really be patient with yourself.
Summary of My Advice to the DIY WordPress Website Builder
So, what were those 10 points?
Understand the Business Purpose of your Site
Understand the business purpose of your site, that’s going to be your compass for evaluating and making value judgements about where you should spend your time and where you shouldn’t. What sorts of things you should try to learn and what kinds of stuff you can set to the side.
Know Your Limitations – Acknowledge Your Skill Level
Know your limitations or honestly acknowledge your skill level and choose which of those limitations you’re going to stretch and which of those limitations you’re going to live within and which of those you’re going to remunerate simply by hiring somebody.
Make a Plan
Make a plan, make sure you don’t just dive in and start swinging the baseball bat around. You want to make a plan, come up with a system of how’s your site going to be organized, what pages am I going to create, what the pages going to look like, that kind of thing.
Less is More
Less is more, you don’t need a ton of widgets in the sidebar. Chris Pearson says you shouldn’t have a sidebar at all, they just distract people from making decisions. You should only have one call to action on a page. If you feel like you need more calls to action, you need to sprinkle them around so that one page has one call to action and another page has another call to action.
You should use emphasis like a spice. You should expect people to make fewer decisions not more decisions which mean you should have less navigation elements rather than more navigation elements.
Maintain your Focus
Maintain your focus, your job is to get your website done and you’re not going to get your website done if you look at all the world of possibilities. So pick a direction, focus in on that direction and spend all your energies going in that direction without really thinking about other potential directions that you could take.
Observe the 80/20 Rule
Spend 80% of your time working on the substance of your site and 20% of your time on how to do all that stuff. Most of your time should be writing your content, making your videos, doing the things that are going to convince people to go to your place of business, to call you on the telephone, to execute that business purpose of the site.
Employ Progressive Refinement
Employ “progressive refinement” that is, the site doesn’t have to be perfect and no single part of it is going to be perfect. You want to lay down one layer and then lay down another layer and then lay down another layer and then lay down another layer and then tweak and refine and change.
The Small Stuff, Imperfection and Being Patient
Don’t sweat the small stuff, embrace imperfection and be patient with yourself.