I think I spend a lot of time starting blog posts with a mea culpa of sorts. This one won’t be much different, but it also won’t be an empty promise in the end.
I wanted to write this, or another post very much like this, each of the last two weeks, but I lacked the focus to put more than a few sentences together before my mind wandered.
I started the summer with a list of goals, or at least a set of ideas that I wanted to work towards. I thought I’d picked out the ones that were reasonably within reach and could use the work ethic I’d culminated during the school year to spur on my accomplishments.
By this point, you’ve probably guessed that I haven’t made much progress on any of the things I laid out months ago. I spent almost two weeks brushing up on my HTML, but not to the point that I’d be confident showing it off. Typically I’d sit down with the books or tutorials I had available after dinner and begin to study. I’d get about 30-60 minutes into that before I’d get antsy and want to move around. Then the dog would want to go outside, or I’d start to doze off staring at the screen, or I’d just decide to load up Mumble and see if any of my friends were gaming and maybe I could squeeze in just one match before it’s back to studying… I could be really good at writing recipes for unsuccessfully doing something, but I don’t think that’s a best-seller in the works. (But DO get back to me if you’re a literary agent who wants to see me flesh that idea out.)
But that’s not to say that I’ve wasted all my time.
Sure, I did spend good hour or two most nights relaxing on the couch, watching Netflix or YouTube and hanging out with the dog. I’ll file that under stress-relief and decompressing, as well as expanding my library of things I’ve been exposed to for future creativity. Even with my new title/position at work and the faster pace we’ve been pushing work out, the level of stress that I carry around this month compared to Nov – April is a drastic decrease.
While I intended to spend my summer working on my technical chops, I ended up working on the human side of my profession instead. On our trip I read Ogilvy‘s Confessions while riding trains across Belgium and France. I also dug deep into the psychology-centric articles written by folks I respect in our industry, and spent a lot of time with podcasts, youtube channels and game shows, paying attention to how successful hosting works. The art of captivating an audience while progressing along an expected path is certainly something that resonates with the work I’m doing (or should be doing) every day.
I’d also like to think I’ve been able to level up my leadership/mentoring over the summer, engaging with a broader group of people and taking away many different sources of inspiration that are continuing to trickle into our workday conversations and helping us push towards better goals as a team. Yes, I’ve been lazy on my own goals, but I’ve somehow found ways to help others find motivation to go beyond what they thought they could do.
TL;DR – I didn’t find great success on the goals I started with, but I ended up with valuable skills and inspiration that is propelling me forward all the same.