A lot of people will tell you that having the right tool can make the job so much easier. Instead of fighting for hours getting something to work, just a couple minutes with this magical tool and you are done.

A diversion from the usual technical aspect of the industry, I would like to talk a bit about the mental game that can help you in your quest to become more successful in your career. This is the ultimate tool as having the right mindset can help you overcome many hurdles that would otherwise keep you from growing.

Learn from failure

Although not specific to the industry, there is a lot to be said about being able to learn from your failures. If a plan goes wrong and things just don’t work out right always make sure to take the time and analyze why. Try and identify the issues so they can be addressed and not happen on the next project. Successful people learn from their failures and are able to apply that knowledge can go on to incredible success. People who don’t recognize and learn from failure are always afraid of making a mistake or “screwing something up.” When I took a motorcycle course, the instructor told us this interesting concept which he called “WYLIWYG”, an acronym for “where you look is where you go.” The point was that if you are trying to avoid hitting an object, constantly focusing on it will cause you to veer in that direction. The lesson was that you can’t focus on the problem but have to look beyond it. This is applicable in all sorts of situations.

Never accept no for a (technical) answer

When faced with a technical challenge, we sometimes give up and decide to ourselves that “it just can’t be done” or “there is just no way.” If you have exhausted all the options you can think of, it is time to dig a little deeper. Call tech support. Ask questions. Having the tenacity to dig and dig until you get an answer can be the key to impress your management and move up the ladder in your company.

Network like Crazy

There are few things as powerful as the ability to network. Regardless of what you are doing, there is a people element to it and to ignore that is to miss the ultimate point. People are social and want to connect with others. It is easy for technical minded people to get focused in the technology but miss the chance to connect with people. If nobody knows who you are, they don’t care about technical issues you may be having and are less willing to help. Being able to call upon your network can help get things done or figured out in a hurry. As you build your professional network, you are increasing the opportunity for future growth and allowing people to recognize you as someone who is serious about the industry.

Know where to get the Answer

No matter how smart you are, there is always someone who knows more than you. Rather than trying to know everything, it is much more powerful to be able to find the answer to any problem. I once worked with a guy that had an incredible list of contacts in their phone – if you had a question about anything technical, he could get someone on the phone with the answer in under a minute. Since he had built up his network, there were people willing to help out with a bit of their expert knowledge.

Never Stop Growing

Personal development is arguable the best thing you can do for yourself professionally. What do I mean exactly? If you stop learning, you stop growing as a person. This applies to technical as well as social knowledge. Take an honest look at yourself and identify things you could work on that would make you a more rounded person. I constantly try to identify and resolve deficiencies that I see – fears, prejudice, frustrations, misunderstandings. If you are committed to always growing yourself, you create a positive environment that inspire other people to do the same.

These are just some of the many “tools” that I use on a daily basis to further myself in this industry.

What is the best mental tool you have learned that helped you become successful in the AV Industry? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.


About the author

Dustin has been involved in the Professional Audio Visual industry for over 20 years, working for integrators both big and small. Learning the ropes through many years of trial, error, and firsthand experience, Dustin is passionate about creating resources to help share the knowledge that he has obtained the "hard" way.

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