In my previous blog post, Lessons From Disney, one of the points I made was that success is in the details. In other words, it is the little things that set us apart, make us memorable and makes working with us a pleasure. When we pay attention to the details, we show others that we are skilled, trustworthy and professional. Little things make a big difference.
These past two weeks have supplied me with ample examples to prove the truth of this idea. First, and I am sure some of you may have noticed this, my website has gone through a bit of a “rough patch”. Isn’t that what we say when we want to avoid getting into the dirty details of how we did something stupid and made a complete fuster cluck of things and it has taken a lot of help and patience, not to mention frustration and colorful use of language, to get things put back together? A rough patch? It will be so much better for me if we stick with rough patch. Not nearly as embarrassing, anyway. However, being who I am, I can’t help myself.
A wild hair (?)
This adventure starts when I decide to redesign my website. Cue the dramatic, musical DUN Dunnn! that foreshadows the horrible mistake our hero makes before everything goes to sh**. Not being bright enough to catch the implication of that fateful sound, I toddled on. Not being happy with my first website, I got inspired one day—what my dad would have called “getting a wild hair” (or is it hare?)—and innocently dove into tearing things apart. Incidentally, I asked my dad whether he meant hair or hare, but he didn’t answer because he is dead. Anyway, I happily began redesigning, getting new images, rearranging and rewriting everything. It is fun stuff that gets my creative juices flowing. Besides, my site is simple. I figured I could have it done in a few hours, no problem.
What could go wrong?
As you have probably anticipated, there were problems in the little things I missed. More of a designer than I am a web programmer, I didn’t understand all of the implications of my actions. Like when I edited the header on my “About” page to read “About me…”. A day later I realized that every internal page on my site said “About me…” at the top, because I had mistakenly edited a template instead of a page. Then there was the time I did some little thing—Lord knows what—and a broken version of my testimonials page was suddenly substituted for my home page. So whenever I had a site visitor they were greeted with the wrong page. A broken page at that. In case you were wondering, yes, that was fun. Like James Bond getting his testicles repeatedly smashed while tied to a chair kind of fun.
Another awesome moment came just as I thought I had finished everything, only to find out that on mobile devices the main image on my homepage was blown up to where all you could see was a giant eye looking at you. I had hoped to create a more personal experience with my redesign, but not that personal.
Adding insult to injury
After I got everything sorted, Joshua Alexander posted a generous opportunity on Facebook for blog writers to post their link so others might find them. Knowing I had everything taken care of, I posted my link. The “little thing“ I missed this time has to do with timing. It was within minutes of doing this that I found my blog page had been attacked by a roving pack of irony demons, so that any potential new readers were greeted with, to put it kindly, the visual version of the odor of liquid defecation.
This type of thing has become so common to me that I have become convinced that Lucifer has created a special Demonic Irony Task Force (DITF) just for me, which is dedicated to wreaking havoc in my life at the least fortuitous and most embarrassing moments. Want to look at my website? Great! Here’s the link! By the way, it looks like regurgitated corned beef hash! Enjoy! I mean, it is nice to get special attention from those in powerful positions, but I could really do without this particular honor.
To make sure my stress levels had reached their pinnacle, the DITF arranged for another online opportunity to offer links to our websites, and again I responded. DUN Dunnn. This was right before I found out that my homepage had disappeared. Just a minor detail. *sigh*
In my blog I use humor to tell my stories, but let me tell you, I was not amused.
Crossing my fingers
Things are mostly — I hope—fixed now, so please take a moment to visit. I would love to get some honest feedback on the look, feel and content. And if you see mistakes that need correction, let me know… in a week. I can’t handle any more stress on that topic right now.
As an aside, I received extensive assistance restoring my site from the people who designed the templates I was building on, and from Brad Newman from Upper Level Hosting, my website host. Brad is never far away when you need him. This is a great asset when your proclivity for missing little details has driven a dump truck through your website. Just sayin’.
Little things make a big difference
Just as small details can have a negative impact, the opposite is also true. Sometimes a gentle touch on the shoulder can be more meaningful than an entire book. A momentary smile from a stranger can unexpectedly lift your spirits.
As voice artists, a “little thing” might be a tiny pause in our performance, making it sound more natural. It might be the extra question we ask of our client which lets them know our desire to give them what they need is more than lip service. It might be the additional time we take to discover a little about a prospect in order to personalize an email when we reach out. Listening with humility when getting direction, a simple comment on a LinkedIn post or an extra email to let your client know how things are going, are all “little things”.
Without belaboring the point, I want to encourage you to not be satisfied with doing only what is necessary, but to look for the often overlooked extras which can elevate your interactions with others. If you want to make a big difference, look for the little things.
Oh, and think long and hard before redesigning your website without assistance… or a backup.