A user guide to… me!

Posted by in Design

I first heard about building a “user guide to me” on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier”. I immediately found the idea enticing. Charlotte have been working with me for something like five years now, and she knows me. She knows that I’m not a morning person when it comes to running meetings or teaching classes but that I’ll often power through my inbox before 8:00 am. She knows not to bring up anything that might aggravate me right before lunch time (or to find a way to feed me first). She knows that anything can happen when on a Tuesday night around 6:00 pm I suddenly announce: “I need a drink” (thankfully that only happens once or twice a year). She knows what I like. She knows what I don’t like. She deals with my quirkiness and my mood swings.

And that goes both ways, of course. Plus since she’s still here after five years, I’m thinking I’m not THAT terrible…

Since business is blooming and Charlotte decided to explore the Down Under for six months, we have extended the RDE Marketing family to new members. And those people don’t know yet that they’re in for a ride… Sorry guys and gals…

So I did a little more research about this concept of User Guide to me and I decided that if it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for us to. And because I believe in leading by example, it was only natural that I am the first one to give it a shot. I used the model presented by Cassie Robinson in her medium article.

Here we go…

User Manual for Audrey Julienne

Conditions I like to work in
I like quiet when I need to think (which is most of my added value). I love a good window with a view on trees. Lots of trees. If I can’t have trees I’ll take a river. If you have a mountain with green pastures and a lake for me, then I’m in heaven. One way or another, while I’m sitting behind a desk, I like to feel connected with nature.

Once in a while, I also like company. I like working around a large table with other people and seeing everyone in their flow. I like the community lunches and the jokes flying. If I don’t have that co-working spirit handy, I’ll sometimes work from coffee-shops or remote locations just so that I can feel surrounded by other humans.

The times/hours I like to work
If I can, I try to start my work day around 9:30 am at the earliest. I like to keep the early morning for my personal routine of meditation, workout, yoga or run and messing around my house. Early morning are also the time when I’ll be reading and keeping myself up-to-date on my industry.

If I can, I try to keep Fridays as personal days. I’m working on many different projects and I like to have one full day every week that is entirely dedicated to something else than RDE.

If we are working together, please feel free to ask me to share my business agenda with you. I will be more than happy to. But please do not book anything on my behalf without consulting with me first. Even if the day looks open to you, I might have other engagements for other projects.

The best ways to communicate with me
Slack is the best way to get an answer from me in a timely manner. If I don’t respond immediately that probably means I’m giving a lecture. Text-messages work as well.

I have made a rule to check emails three times a day: morning, after lunch and right before calling the day a day. When I do, I only respond to emails that require a one-sentence answer. If your email needs me to take any form of action, then I’ll add it to my to-do list.

I rarely answer my phone. I hate the phone. Really. Don’t call me if it’s not a question of life or death.

The ways I like to receive feedback
First, it’s important to know that I like receiving feedback, so, don’t be shy. Feedback is how I learn and grow, so you’re giving me a gift when you’re giving me feedback.

If you feel that the feedback might be hurtful or lead to painful conversations, just remember to make sure I ate first.

Things I need
I need to have fun. I have chosen my activity because it makes me happy and I need to keep having fun doing it.

I need to be able to pack my laptop and work from a remote location more often than not. That’s also something I accept and encourage in everyone I work with. Go see the world my friends, it’s big, it’s bold and it’s here for you to experience.

I need to feel both creative and strategic. I’ll happily lock myself up in a room with five or six other people for a week of Design Sprint. These are the moments I feel like I’m really useful. And, guess what, I need to feel useful.

Things I struggle with
Too much time spend on the forefront (giving lectures or running clients’ meetings) can drain my energy.

Also, since I’m a questionner, I will have a hard time if I don’t understand the why behind external expectations.

Oh… and I will be a lot more at ease with someone who makes up their mind in a timely manner. Hesitation and constant change of heart are things I tend to struggle with.

Things I love
I love feeling that I’m part of a team. So, as much as I can, I’ll try to organize things to celebrate that. Christmas party anyone?

I love when a client is praising the job we did for them. It makes me immensely proud to over deliver on clients expectations.

I love to feel that I helped someone transitioning to an entrepreneurial mindset and inspired a craving for adventures.

I love giving birth to new ideas and new projects, whether they’re mine, ours or theirs (the clients!)

Other things to know about me
I owe a big chunk of my life story to peanut butter.

I’m French but the English language is the one I feel most comfortable writing in (hence this blog).

I am a maker. I build first and apologize after.

I am a proud multipotentialite. If you’re not sure what that means, come talk to me!

I fancy myself a designer. Some designers will hate me for it. Their problem.

So now, what’s the user guide to you? I’d love to read it, make sure to share it either in the comments or privately.

Photo by Aaron Burden