Reinvent Yourself

When I see a post on LinkedIn from a colleague with the words like: "next chapter", "new adventure", "a new journey", etc. I am prepared to see an announcement of a new role or opportunity that they are embarking upon. As difficult as it may be to lose these co-workers and friends, I am thrilled when I see someone pursue their dreams. New opportunities are exciting and many times necessary but could it be that a career "reset" is really what is needed?

If you are lucky enough to work for a company with a great culture, work-life balance and you get to solve unique/challenging problems... AWESOME!. However, after several years you may find yourself in a slump... a slump of mediocrity where your skill-set becomes limited to the specific business challenges of your current job and you lose sight of new and modern solutions to technological problems.

In this post I outline a few steps that I have taken to avoid getting stuck in that slump. I would love to know how others have overcome similar challenges in their career growth.

You Must Adapt

Technology is constantly changing and there is always a hot new tech to explore and play with. Years ago I found myself ignoring or even noticing anything that did not have an immediate application to my current job or role. While there is something to be said for staying uber-focused on the problems we face day-to-day, ignoring technology trends will ensure you never advance beyond your current skillset or role and frankly you will eventually be replaced.

Over the past couple years, I have spent a lot of time diving deep into the world of Web3, Blockchain and DeFi (decentralized finance as opposed to centralized finance revolving around big banks and financial institutions). This is a technology I am super excited about. I have even gone as far as getting formal education around it and working on a number of side ventures related to it. In my opinion the decentralization of the web provides so many opportunities for improving information access, transparency, banking and will eventually prove to be the economic model of the future... It's too promising to ignore.

That said, Web3 and Blockchain still have a way to go before there is mass adoption by today's typical SaaS company. The business use cases are still being discovered but I firmly believe we will see a race to adoption of it in the next 5 years.

I mention all of that to say don't be afraid to invest in yourself by learning new technology that might not have any immediate application to your current job. You just never know when an opportunity to use it will come across your path!

Start Now

  • Follow the trends in technology. What are some of the biggest institutions in our society investing in? What are some technologies that you find interesting and can become disrupters in the industry?
  • Read, Read, Read! Find blog posts, articles, books, social media platforms that help you follow the advancement of that technology.
  • Get some formal training. Checkout Udacity, Coursera, or Pluralsight
  • Get involved! Start contributing to open-source projects. Not only will this help improve your skill, it will allow you to help influence the direction of the technology.

Improve Yourself

Ask yourself: what makes you get up in the morning? What gets you excited? If your goal was simply to just make money and then retire, you probably wouldn't be reading this. Fact is you likely have a passion and sincerely want to make a difference in the world. Whatever that passion is, write it down and read it or think about it daily. Wake up early and get after it! Make sure everything you do that day is in line with your passion and the 'why' behind it all.

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’ – Marcus Aurelius.

Get out of bed early

It's amazing how productive you can be just getting up before the sun. Start a morning routine. Mine consist of getting up early, workout, cold shower, coffee, reading then starting work. I started doing this a few years ago and have noticed that the most productive days are always when I start my day early.

Set personal, measurable goals

  • Make a simple list for the week (or day) of the things, if you were to accomplish, would call it a successful week.
  • Keep the goals practical. Unexpected things will come up and throw you off.
  • Find someone to keep you accountable each week. Send them an email at the beginning of the week listing your goals and check in at the end of the week on how well you did. I started doing this with my current manager over slack and it has had a huge impact on my productivity just having that accountability.

Avoid the Internal Resistance

Recently I started reading the book "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Its a short quick read. No matter who you are I recommend reading it.

In the book the author talks about the "resistance" that all of us battle with. Its that internal voice that tells you "It can wait till tomorrow", "I'll start eating healthy and working out next week", "one of these days I'll learn how to... (whatever skill you've been putting off)", etc... It's what gets in the way of us from achieving greatness and success in life. It's what makes the difference between someone who is living their dreams and someone who stays in the comfort zone.

Just Start! Put the pen to paper, the hands on the keyboard, the feet on the road and get after it. Will you fail? Absolutely you will. But it's at that point you pull yourself up, learn from it, and start again.

Stop Worrying About What You Can't Control

Company reorgs, attrition, economic climate, political and social issues, etc. are just a few examples of things that bombard us every day but the truth is we have very little control over them.

Don't dwell on these things but rather focus on what is in your power to change.

"The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own...” – Epictetus

Let me know what you think...

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