This week, we’ve learned a lot from our customers and our readers about what it is that they fear when it comes to home improvement and DIY. In this blog series, I’ve rounded up a fraction of what their fears were, and posted some video answers as taken from our full list of questions on YouTube, or at least some responses to get them thinking about their own answers.
What do the average homeowners and DIYers fear?
Some feared what creating a big change could bring, worrying that the change would mean misery instead of joy. Further to that, many feared that their great expectations and their whispering inner critics (“you can’t do that! you’re not good enough to pull that off!) would keep them from doing the jobs that would transform their homes. And for many as well, the fear of the unexpected has given many a DIYer out there pause; “what’s under my subfloor?”, “what if I discover more problems that I won’t be able to solve myself?”, “what if my costs turn out to be WAY higher than I guessed?”
What’s common about all of these fears?
The immediate reaction might be “a lack of confidence”. And another might be expressed by the Clint Eastwood quote about knowing about one’s own limitations (OK, more of an Eastwood paraphrase, there). But, in listening to everyone’s fears out there about DIY, there was one idea that seemed to shine through, and this was it: “I don’t know what I don’t know”.
Sure, everyone has questions when they start on a project. But, there are questions that sometimes don’t even occur to us. They are the questions that go unasked to answers that can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure. This is the source of real fear among many people, whether it’s about DIY, or about becoming a parent for the first time. The principle is the same even if the challenges are different.
What is the cure for DIY fear?
Well, that’s the billion dollar question. Is there one-size-fits-all answer to it? Well, no. Like everything else in this crazy world of ours, the answer to that question depends on who’s asking, and what the context of the question happens to be.
But, after listening to and responding to every fear our customers and readers sent in, either by video, or by a note sent back to them, here are some broadstrokes to consider when it comes to getting over your DIY fear, and making things happen:
- Know that you aren’t alone, and that many people feel exactly the same way as you do about many of the same things
- Ask your community. This is kind of a jumping off point from the first one. Since there are others out there who are faced and have faced the same challenges, what can you learn from them?
- Recognize expertise when you see it, and know who to trust. Gathering information is great. Picking out the best of it is the real trick. “discernment” is an important word.
- Collaborate. This is the outward expression of knowing your not alone. Here are two common adages to consider: 1) “many hands make light work”. 2)”Many pizzas make a light cost to get help”.
And when it comes to choosing where to get your materials, and not wanting to turn this into a sales pitch, the best way to do this is to judge by price and selection and all of that. But, another aspect to consider is how much support and guidance you’re likely to get all the way all the line, including after you’ve laid down your money and the materials are delivered. Go with the vendor who will stick by you, and will be willing to work with you should things turn out unexpectedly.
Sharing fears can be tough. So can admitting that you don’t know something. We live in a success-at-all-costs culture, where “failure is not an option”. But, failure is a reality anyway, whether we consider it an option or not. So, embarking on a DIY project runs the risk of it. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the chances of failure. You can! Just like others have done before you.
We’re very grateful for all of the stories people have shared with us over the past week. If you sent in your fear to us or are about to on this last day of submissions, you have our special thanks. And if you’ve followed along with these stories, thank you too!
We hope that we’ve helped to make DIY less scary for you! Happy Halloween!