The Change you Want to See

Take a second to consider it – What is the change you want to see?

Better yet, what is the change you need to see?

The change that you demand of yourself.

That you NEED to demand of yourself to see your world open up to new opportunities and avenues for growth?

Is it giving up old, unfocused activities?

Is it switching careers?

Is it abandoning the peers that tell you “you’re never going to make it”?

Is it starting to believe in yourself?

Whatever it is, it doesn’t start next month, next week or tomorrow, it starts today?

Take 10 minutes, think about the change you want to see, figure out the small step(s) you can make today and make it happen.

Wake up tomorrow and take the second step – rinse and repeat.

The Clueless Leader

Isn’t the most demotivating feeling in the world when your leader has no idea what you are doing, how you are doing it, why you are doing it and as a result why it’s taking longer than expected.

After all, aren’t they the ones that identified the work to be done and triaged it to you?

Aren’t they the ones responsible for the end deliverable?

Shouldn’t they have a little more knowledge in what they are responsible for so they can talk about it with confidence and passion to others and understand how and why you might be taking longer than expected?

Yes, Yes and Yes.

But not everyone sees it that way, not everyone “loves” what you are doing, not everyone feels the urge to learn everything and anything about the project they are not responsible for delivering.

Some leaders simply want the project to be done, off their plate and out the door.

It’s become too hard, too complicated, difficult and complex.

Translation – It’s not easy, it’s not a quick win.

It’s an effort and a commitment that requires more then they are willing to give.

So what do you do?

You finish the project and move on, not to another project but another leader, someone who cares about what you do, why you are doing it and where you are struggling.

To stay is to invite the same circle of despair and cluelessness which is already driving you to the edge.

Now is the time to make the change.

Clarifying a Problem

There are some problems that are very hard to solve, many medical ailments spring to mind.

And many more in software as well.

But sometimes what is preventing us from solving the problem, from properly solving the problem, isn’t the complexity of it, but our own clarity of it.

What am I trying to solve?

Who am I trying to solve this for?

Why am I trying to solve this?

What do I need to know to solve this problem?

What do I know that can help me solve this problem?

Ask these six questions of yourself before you start working on your next problem and you might be surprised at the results that come from a little clarity.


Knowing When to Quit

I was listening to an interesting episode of Tim Ferris podcast on knowing when to quit. As also interviewed on the show, my personal favorite is Seth Godin’s “The Dip” as it connected with me right off the bat and I’ve re-read it again a number of times whenever I feel conflicted on where to go or what to do next.

For me, decision time on when to stay and go comes at your lowest moment of craptivity, when you are stuck at that low point between doing something decent (not great) BUT knowing what great is and desperately wanting to get there. You’ve had some big wins that spurned you into continuing on but the shine is starting to fade.

Many people equate this to the feeling of – “I don’t really like my current job, but today was amazing, so everything is changing and I’ll keep going because it is going to work out now” – and maybe it will, which is fantastic. The corner has been turned and everyone is moving forward in unison.

And then a bad day comes, kicking you off your perch and all those emotions of staying or going comes back – “I’M OUTTA HERE”.

I don’t know or can’t say which is right. I can say that when you start to feel that nagging voice in the back of your head suggesting it’s time to give up, you write it down – notepad, moleskinned notebook, napkin – whatever and you focus what you write down on three things.

  • What’s the Date?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What do you want to do?

Next time you feel great or have the same feelings, write them down again. Keep doing it for a month, then look back at the data – do the goods outweigh the bad? Is how you are feeling really beneficial to your growth?

If not, time to go, if so, time to stay.

Take the emotion out of it and look at the data.

Deleting Your Work

Whether it’s code, a blog post, something, anything.

It was work that you did, work that you invested your time in to create something, work that mattered.

And now, a month (or maybe less) later, here you are deleting it, but not wanting to delete it.

You’re staring at it wondering why did I write this?  What was I thinking?  And most predominantly at the forefront of your brain – how much it took?

How much time did I expend writing all of this?

Do I really want to throw all of that effort away?

In software, we call this refactoring.

You write something one day, find a better way to do it the next and you refactor what was old into something new that is better than what it was before.

And we don’t think about how long it took.

So next time you start to think about the cost in deleting something and all that effort that will be lost that you are now throwing away… don’t.

Think about what you are refactoring to make it better and what you have learned to come to this point.