We have all heard at least once in our life that we need to “get back to the basics.” The basics help us formulate ideas and allow us to simplify our problems. It’s hard to develop proper technical skills without mastering the basic mechanics.

Most of the time we find ourselves reaching for this mindset is in the face of difficulty. You might have experienced a hard week at work or find yourself in a rut of making simple errors. During these times, you need to have a solid foundation to help recenter yourself. One of the best practices is through taking notes of your “basics” during your learning process.

After serving with the Forum team during my internship and now quickly approaching my one-year mark as a full-time team member, I am excited to take this time to reflect on some of the building blocks that I use daily.


Stay Uncomfortable

We are creatures of habit. It’s an inevitable trait that I am trying to be more conscious about. As individuals we tend to stay in our comfort zones. More often than not, we are preventing growth by sticking to what we know. Change is scary, but how can you evolve without adapting and creating new experiences?

In our day-to-day, we are constantly presented with problems that we don’t know the answer to. Being new to a team, it can take months to get to a comfortable level of confidence. This uncomfortable feeling can get overwhelming and next thing you know you’ve procrastinated and created undue stress.

While this is a bad habit, it’s still a habit that we participate in daily. The first step in mitigating this is by becoming aware and being in the moment. Take notice of how you are reacting to situations and what helps you control these tendencies.

Do you find that you are too scared to start a project because of the looming fear of failure? What about the feeling you get when you want to speak up in a meeting, but fear that your ideas pale in comparison to others? These situations create discomfort that can leave you paralyzed and that hold you back from reaching new heights.

What I have learned during this past year is that this discomfort is good. Without it, you are bound to your set ways. Branch out and try new things to put yourself into positions to learn more. Next time you notice this feeling, take the initiative to push through. You will make mistakes, but you will also create opportunities to grow and develop your skills.


Communication Is Key

Without communication, progress is dead.

Effective communication has the potential to keep projects moving and people informed. When executed properly, your team can be kept up to date and produce top quality work. Not only does your organization benefit from this, but there are personal successes with the right communication.

I quickly learned in this role that proper communication helps to limit confusion and increase efficiency. In the basic communication model, you have a “sender” and a “receiver”. These transactions are mediated through channels, settings, and other outside factors. All combinations have certain behaviors and socially understood appropriateness.

For example, when communicating with clients through an email, there is a strong sense of professionalism versus discussing a task-related questions with a peer that is more casual. It’s imperative to quickly understand your audience and the respective characteristics to interact in good conversation.

Participate in and practice quality communication so that you and your team can reach common goals. While communication seems like an elementary concept, there are many layers that take years of practice to perfect.


Build A Community

This is probably my most favorite topic to talk about lately: the Forum Team!

In the past year, I have been fortunate to work alongside some amazing professionals that go above and beyond in their work. Before stepping into this position, I could tell there was something special about this Team. They have created a community that uplifts one another not only during the workday, but most importantly through life’s ups and downs.

Building a community that you can count on is hard to come by, but when you find this, it’s the biggest treat. As you start a new position, have your first day at a new organization, or enter the workforce for the first time, you must surround yourself with people that help to grow and educate you. Much like your personal circle of friends, your work team can be equally as important.

Find yourself a community that prioritizes your professional education through certifications and conferences. One that takes the extra time to answer your one millionth question. A team that can provide resources to better connect with coworkers. People who help to take your confidence to new heights.

While industry-specific skills will greatly assist you in whatever endeavor you choose, having these soft skills will help to boost you with any goal you desire. Problems will arise, but having a skill set that allows you to adapt to emergencies and new hurdles will help you reach resolutions more quickly and efficiently.


Whether you are starting a new position or have countless achievements on your résumé, take some time to reflect on how far you have come to achieve your goals and note the skills you have acquired along the way. There will always be areas in which to improve but remember to go back to the basics and reflect on your progress.

This year has been full of opportunities, so I am thankful for this first year and proud to be a part of this amazing Team. They have made my transition into the business world a success!