Whenever I start a brand new venture, whether it be a small or large project, I always go looking for the vocabulary that’ll help me succeed. And while this sounds incredibly easy, it’s inherently more complicated than it seems on the surface.
The reason why it’s so difficult at first is that entering a new domain that we’re completely unfamiliar with is a bit intimidating. We start a project with a goal in mind, start moving along, and then we often put on the brakes because we don’t know where to go. It’s incredibly tough for those who have a “get things done” attitude but don’t know where to go.
Our imaginations can quickly run wild
In our heads, we often have a clear idea of what we’d like to do or see in the final result of our project (or at least something close to it). We can see the vivid and final result of our imaginations, but then reality sets in. And then we don’t know how to get from point A to point B. We don’t know how to start. We get paralyzed by the smaller things.
I believe this is the result of not knowing the correct words or what to ask. And the only way we can ask those crucial questions is to begin to learn what words we need to understand to move forward. This is where vocabulary becomes incredibly vital in our progression.
It’s remarkably easy to speak at a super high level.
“I only need to connect the thing to the other thing and then it’ll help me in step three of building the other thing that’ll help with the first two things.”
This way of speaking about the problem’s solution won’t allow you to get things done faster, and it may damage your understanding of what you’re building in the first place.
Instead, you should be seeking to find the correct words to fill in those gaps above. And at all costs.
But why? Aren’t our imaginations enough to get us through this challenge? Sure, it may, but it’s not guaranteed.
The problem with our imaginations is that there is too much information being passed around at any given time. This can overwhelm us, confused us on where to start, and prevent us from moving forward. Finding the vocabulary of the things that’ll help you solve the problem will help focus your efforts a bit more.
A simple example of learning how boxes work
Recently, I was looking to sourcing some boxes for a direct-to-consumer project that I’m working on. When I started looking around at various box companies, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. At times, I felt like it was something that wasn’t in my wheelhouse to solve. But then I began to hone in on the vocabulary of this domain.
I began to notice patterns in each of the packaging sites. I began to see the same types of packaging materials, so I wrote the most common ones down and started to Google each one individually. That’s when things started to become much more apparent. Now I knew what materials were available to me, and I began to understand pricing as well. This made it much easier to narrow down what I needed to focus on versus the noise that would slow me down.
Once I had the basics figured out, I had an idea of a particular type of box that I wanted. The only problem was that I didn’t know the name although I could describe it. What I wanted was a box container with one side open that could slide into a cardboard sleeve. It sounds just as simple as I just described, I know.
As I sent out emails to people that could help give me a sample of what I was looking for, I received many more questions in return.
“What do you mean a box container with one side open? A sleeve? Could you send us an example of what you’d like?
I sent back a picture of what I was describing, and all things became incredibly clear. It was clear that I wanted a sleeve with a box tray insert.
Whoa. That sounds a lot better than whatever I was describing above. Once I knew what I was talking about, I could quickly start moving along with any conversation that related to getting box samples.
Vocabulary gives us the roadmap of what’s to come
The example above is incredibly simple, but there are some key takeaways.
- Speaking at a high level won’t get you close to your goal when you start something new (especially in a new domain).
- If you don’t know something, then ask someone by describing the word that you’re looking for. The person may be confused, but they’ll often figure out what you’re talking about in relation to your question.
- Understanding basic vocabulary in a new domain will help you understand more complex ideas in the future.
- Knowing basic vocabulary in your new domain will help you move faster. The more you know how to speak about something, the quicker you’ll get to a solution.
I know that all of this sounds incredibly simple, but I believe it’s a step that most people will look over too quickly. Take the time to learn the basics of a domain, and you’ll begin to see things that weren’t quite apparent at first.
Vocabulary gives us the roadmap of what’s to come. It shows us the primary components of a domain that we seek to understand. If we understand the map of what’s to come, then we’ll be more suited to make more progress towards our ultimate goal.
Take action and keep moving