2018 Annual Review

I do this every year in my journal, but decided to share it here this year. Thanks to James Clear for the inspiration.

What Went Well

  • I moved to Denver! Sometimes I take this for granted. (The mind tends to move on rather quickly…) It was a big change and it took a ton of energy, but I did it and I’m sure glad I did. There were many times in the mountains this year that I would suddenly burst out, “I can’t believe I live here!”
  • I got divorced, and it was earth-shattering and heartbreaking and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. What made it positive is that it was also loving and amicable and free of any sort of fighting or animosity. We depart as friends, better off for having married and devoted a part of our lives to each other. Thank you, Kayli.
Continue reading 2018 Annual Review

not quite right

When we complain, we’re subtly telling ourselves and others that life is not quite right exactly as it is. It’s the opposite of gratitude.

When we lie, we’re subtly telling ourselves and others that we are not quite right exactly as we are. It’s the opposite of self-love.

the non-linear path

I’ve taken a completely linear career path so far. Six years of increasing experience doing the same projects with increasing responsibilities, expertise, and use of technology. I’m grateful for this progression and I’ve worked very hard at it – trying to accelerate my growth curve any chance I get.

But there’s something that really struck me about this billboard. To what extent is my growth curve not actually a curve? Is it actually a straight line? A boring, predictable line that just keeps floating upward until I retire?

You’re right, Harvard, I don’t want it to be.

how to complain

“The best way to complain is to make things.”

– James Murphy

Last year I spent 6 months of ongoing meetings with a software firm trying to figure out if their product was a good fit and whether they would be a good partner for the future.

Finally, I just gave up. I didn’t have time for their empty promises any longer. Then, my team rolled up our sleeves and built our replacement for what we were trying to outsource. It’s nowhere near as sexy as the venture-backed startup’s web app, but it gets the job done and it’s built exactly to our specifications.

That feeling of telling our client, Here, I made this can’t be beat. And we’ve since used that prototype to sell our new service to 3 more clients. That’s a hell of a lot more fun than complaining.

unique ability and linchpins

Upon familiarizing myself with the Unique Ability mindset, I realized that my past actions have pretty much neglected whatever my unique ability may be.

I’ve also always been a do-whatever-it-takes, handle-everything-myself, put-the-world-on-my-shoulders type of engineer. I attribute this mindset to the book Linchpin by Seth Godin, but I think I was missing Seth’s message.

I always internalized a linchpin as someone who just does whatever is needed to get the job done. I think that’s part of it, but it’s also about using your soul to make great art. And I think that’s where unique ability comes in.

intro to unique ability

I’m grateful to be starting a new business coaching program called Team Tools by Strategic Coach. As part of my preparation, they’ve asked me to familiarize myself with a concept called Unique Ability.

The unique ability philosophy is new to me: strengthen your strengths, not your weaknesses. If you strengthen your weaknesses, they’ll just be stronger weaknesses. 

Real talk: I’ve always been one to work on my weaknesses… I can remember spending hours and hours practicing kicking the soccer ball with my weaker left foot to get better with it. I can also remember how bad some of my college teammates were with their weaker feet – and some of them are still playing professional soccer. Maybe there’s something to this unique ability thing.

Continue reading intro to unique ability

continual struggles

No life worthy of the name consists of anything more than the continual series of struggles to develop one’s character through the medium of whatever one has chosen as a career.

— Juan Belmont, Legendary Bullfighter

We don’t need to be bullfighters to develop our character. We don’t need to be in a job we love. We don’t even need to be in a chosen career. There are opportunities in every job and throughout every day that we can choose to take or not – opportunities to struggle with ourselves to improve.

The source of wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today. The source of wisdom is whatever is happening to us right at this very instant.

– Pema Chodron