This post is the thirty-second part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series are:
- Goodwill, Negative and Positive
- Visions, Quests, Missions
- Right, Wrong, and Style
- Follow Me
- Balance, Part 1
- Balance, Part 2
- Definition of a Great Team
- The 15-Minute Meeting
- Metaproblems: Drama
- The Right Question
- Software is Organic, Part 1
- Metaproblem: Terror
- I Don't Work On My Car
- A Turning Point
- Human Doings
- Everything Changes
- Getting It Right The First Time
- One-Time Boosts
- Perfection vs. Precision
- Software is Organic, Part 2
- Business Losses and "I Don't Know"
- T-SQL Tuesday: Personality Clashes, Style Collisions, and Differences of Opinion
- Human Resources Sucks
- The Integrity Challenge
- Sounds Good...
This post is about...
My Granny used to say "Pick a way to be and be that way." I've interpretted and applied that, and I say:
Be who you are.
Do what you are.
I was nominated for MVP in 2006 but not awarded. I remember talking to TBDDEOTP (The Best Damn Developer Evangelist On The Planet) G. Andrew Duthie (Blog | @DevHammer) about it. Andrew asked me point-blank: "Andy, why are you serving the community?" It was an in-your-face kind of question and it had the desired effect. After collecting my thoughts I said "I'm serving the community because others served me. I learned from them and now I want to give back." Andrew's reply: "Keep doing that. Recognition may or may not come. But you already have satisfaction - look at the lives and careers you're impacting!" (I told you he's TBDDEOTP!)
I was nominated again for MVP in 2007 as awarded 1 Apr. But Andrew was and is right: It can't be about recognition.
Goals Are Not Enough
"Why, Andy?" I'm glad you asked! Recognition is not fulfilling in and of itself. The victory is fleeting and the triumph hollow. You have to have a good reason for wanting to reach the goal.
What is Enough?
Another excellent question! The answer is purpose. Purpose denotes more than a mere goal. Goals serve purposes. Purposes impact lives, careers, and communities. Purposes help People!
This goes beyond mission statements. Mission statements are mostly designed, communicated, and then forgotten. That's why I prefer missions over mission statements. Missions require missionaries - bold visionaries filled with conviction and unafraid of the consequences of their actions. Missionaries disrupt. They cause a stir. They Poke the Box.
This isn't for everyone. It requires some tolerance for risk. You have to be willing to try, fail, and try again. And again. And again. You need to be able to harvest the lessons from the last outing - the good and bad; the flattering, humbling, and self-deprecating - and re-purpose those lessons into the next venture.
Easy? Goodness no. If it was easy anyone could do it. This mission is going to require someone with your unique skills, personality, and gumption.
See those folks ahead of you on the path? They're no different than you. You're no different from them. They started on the path earlier - that's all. When you get started - when you accept the mission and purpose of becoming a box-poker-in-training - you will be ahead of those starting after you. There will be people behind you - who started after you - marvelling at your successes and accomplishments and ideas and initiative.
Get. Started. Now.
Are your ideas going to be awesome and make you a million bucks by the end of the year? Probably not. Overnight success takes about a decade. But you will never reach your potential sitting there reading blog posts. Do. Something. Now.
The odds are you will fail. That's a good thing. Have you ever been around someone who never fails? People who never fail suck. Failing prepares you for success. It's a prerequisite.
Don't let something as small as failing stop you.
When's the best time to start? How do you figure out the timing? That's easy: Get. Started. Now.
PS. There is no Conclusion section to this post. Why? I don't get to write the conclusion: you do. Start something. Then tell me what you're starting. - Andy