How Experience Has Shifted our Approach


June 23, 2017

Experience is the frame of reference for what does or doesn’t freak us out; at Lift, we've learned hard lessons over time which has built our capacity to handle large projects with confidence.

I was house-sitting for a family member one extremely, debilitatingly cold winter night (-40’s). The kind of cold that will kill your car (and any warmth in your heart). There was no parking in front of the house so I couldn’t plug my car in. This was the beginning of a long string of events (including the family pet getting out and running under a moving bus) that led to me, shaking my head and cursing several times before stating emphatically, “It can’t get any worse”.

I honestly felt that. Based on my frame of reference from the many annoying things that had happened to me up until that point, this was at the top. I was at the end of my rope (I was also a lot younger then).

It can ALWAYS get worse.  

My breaking point was when my car wouldn’t start and I locked a stranger’s keys in THEIR running car while using it to give me a boost. The local tow trucks were so overrun with calls that they couldn’t make it out, so the running car burned through an entire tank of gas and eventually died in the middle of the night. I’m pretty sure I missed work that next day and I seem to remember a forgotten laptop as well. My frame of reference grew that day and my perspective on winter struggles changed.

I now have five children (and a dog) and my perspective on challenging situations has shifted considerably. My ability to deal with stress and generally frustrating things has gone WAY up. The same is true for dealing with frustrations and solving problems here at Lift. Granted some people seem to have a natural ability when it comes to dealing with stress (bless their hearts), but generally speaking, experience is the frame of reference for what does or doesn’t freak us out.

We’ve grown up too.

At Lift, we’ve learned a few hard lessons over the years. We’ve had struggles and successes that have built the frame for how we solve problems. As projects have progressively grown larger so has our capacity to handle them and the challenges that come with them. We’ve built countless websites for startups, mom-and-pop shops, and large organizations. We’ve developed projects off of big ideas and also from more humble beginnings. We’ve branded fish and chip shops and cultural movements. We’ve built applications that never launched and we’ve developed online tools for communities that have seen mass usage. We’ve fired clients and had clients part ways with us. We’ve had our fair share of fires to put out while also being celebrated as a top creative agency in Canada.

Our experience frames our perspective, from the lifecycle of a project to how what we build can greatly affect an organization. We don’t take our experience lightly. We’ve grown from 2 people to 26 and we’re celebrating 15 years of code, pixels, databases, websites, brands, communities, foosball and other fun.

I’m not typically known as a glass-half-full kinda person, but I’m learning the value of having that perspective and how experience shapes your frame of reference and can change your perspective from a bad day or year to just another day—or even better, a great one.

Embrace the Mondays, don’t be a whiner, and remember it can always get worse. And when it does, you will be better for it.
Frame of reference
a set of criteria or stated values in relation to which measurements or judgments can be made.”the observer interprets what he sees in terms of his own cultural frame of reference.”

a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.