"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
I am not sure what events, what discovery, or what longings prompted Galileo to speak these words, but I believe they are wise words for non-believers. I firmly believe that the truth about Jesus, the truth about God, and the truth about being a Christian is meant to be discovered. One may set out on a solo journey to seek the truth about faith or religion, but one doesn't stay solo for long. Soon they are joined by fellow seekers, those who have already discovered the truth, and by God himself (through the Holy Spirit). It is God who reveals himself allowing us to 'discover' Him. Once discovered it is no wonder Galileo said it is easy to understand. Remember the answer to any riddle always seems easy once you hear the solution.
So whether truth is sought in business, politics, or religion the point is to discover it so one can easily understand it!
I have been reading the latest book from Tim Challies titled "The Next Story" and have been selected to participate in the blog tour for his book. Since the announcement of this book and it's topic, I was anxious to receive the book and begin my journey of self-examination.
A little background on myself before I dive into my review of the book. As many of you know I am in my early 30s and have been designing and developing websites since the late 90s. I would also consider myself a gadget junkie, meaning I literally covet really nice looking gadgets. While I exercise control in the purchasing of these devices/gadgets I still desire them. I am also an early adopter of new media (e.g., Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). This background positions me to have a unique perspective on whether technology owns me or whether I am owned by it.
Part of my more recent philosophy is in the simplification of mine and my families lifestyle. We are old fashioned by nature, yet we too get caught up in all that life has to offer after the digital explosion so we are constantly evaluating the things we purchase, what consumes our time, etc.
Challies brings to the forefront simple questions that are thought provoking and complex in application. The book is full of history, statistics, and introspective questions. Let's look at just a few of them to wet your appetite:
- Is technology bad? Technology in of itself is not bad, though it is often used for evil.
- Is the creation of and use of technology sinful? Again the answer is no, yet it can cause us to sin.
Challies is quick to point out that we were created by God to invent, create, and use technology. However, we've become a society, generation, and people who use for evil this technology which can and should be used to glorify God. We are too easily deceived by Satan to use these devices and technology for evil without even knowing it. When we let them interfere with our family, our friends, or more importantly our relationship with God we do just that.
My Challenge to You
Evaluate the technology you use or will be purchasing by asking yourself the following questions:
- Will this technology bring me closer to God?
- Will this device hurt my relationship with God or my family?
- Would my life be better if I didn't have yet another distraction?
These types of questions can be applied to non-technical things as well, but will help protect you from allowing Satan a foothold into your life through any means necessary.
A Must Read
I thoroughly recommend this book and suggest you either purchase a copy of it, download it, or borrow it from the library when available. Just as some of Challies's other books, which I've not only read but lead Bible Studies on, they will challenge you to exercise biblical discernment in your daily walk.
Here are some links I've found to be bookmarkable recently. These should help you as a web professional. Don't forget if you find something to be bookmarkable this week please send it to me or add it to the comments below and I'll be sure to check it out.
- A new type of RFP (request for proposal) by Airbag Industries. This is simply fantastic, ever since I saw this last night I've been enamored with this RFP method. I can't wait to rework my in similar fashion.
- More than 245 Free Geometric Fractal Brushesby Share Brain. I don't know about you, but I'm constantly needing more and more brushes.
- 50 Free Photoshop Pattern Setsby Emma Alvarez. A nice compilation of 50 pattern sets, we can always use more patterns.
- Google Calendar CalDAV support by Google. When setting up my iCal to be more efficient and to sync with my already existing Google Calendar. This how-to by Google was quite helpful. Get organized, get productive!
"Be mindful of the link between present action and desired future outcome. Ask yourself: if I repeat today’s actions 365 times, will I be where I want to be in a year?"
Building a web design business takes effort, time, and loads of TLC. If you'd like to be successful then you need a good role model. There are many successful web designers and developers out there you can craft your business after.
Find a mentor
I recommend finding a mentor to begin molding your business after. Am I suggesting copying them? No. What I am suggesting is that you take the time to really evaluate what it is you'd like to accomplish and then see who has accomplished things like that already. If you want to take your business into full time freelance, then find a full time freelancer. If your goal is to develop your own web agency, then find someone who's running one.
What do you do once you've found them?
I believe this is the most critical step of all. Once you've found someone that fits exactly what you and your business need then it is up to you to contact them. I say this is the most critical step of all, because what I'm telling you to do is to contact them. That can be via phone, email, twitter, or even good old fashion mail. You need to open up the communication between yourself and your targeted mentor. Before you start objecting and giving excuses like, "I don't want to bother them," "I'm not good at networking," or "I don't know what to say to them" give me a chance to help you out.
It will not be a bother to them, you don't have to be a master networker, and it's very easy what you want to say. Let's work in reverse order and tackle the what to say part. Here are a few things you'd like to include when contacting them:
- Who you are.
- Why you are contacting them. Yes be specific and tell them exactly why you're contacting them.
- Why you've chosen them.
- Ask for additional contact information and their permission to contact them further. You are looking to develop a relationship with someone and email, instant messenger, skype, twitter, and etc.. are going to be very valuable to you --- so ask for it.
The most critical step of contacting them is actually the easiest. If you contact them and get no reply (which is doubtful) then you have lost nothing. You're out nothing and then you simply go to the next possible mentor on your list. Working through this process will actually improve your networking skills which I've already mentioned is key.
Additional reading: 7 tips for power networking & Master the art of business card networking in 4 easy steps
Listen to their advice
Lastly, listen to what they say. Look you've gone through the hard work of selecting someone and now contacting them. What they have to say, despite how odd it could sound, is worth it's weight in gold. I can't tell you how many odd things people I've contacted have said. But what I can tell you is that no matter how odd, they're usually right. Just like your parents, the ones you thought didn't know a thing growing up, who mysteriously get smarter once you get into your 20's.