You Say You Want a Resolution

It’s that time of year again: time for resolutions. I’m a fan of the exercise, even if this makes approximately the fifth year in a row I’ve resolved to do a single pull-up without succeeding. The process of deciding what matters and the struggle to achieve something new is worth it.

To that end, I have many job counseling sessions with colleagues across the industry who want to make a change, who feel stuck, who are frustrated at the plateau they’ve reached. We have the pleasure of hearing success stories on the Geek Whisperers podcast every week, but we get to hear the journey stories as well, the questioning, the doubt.

So here is some free and unsolicited advice I received during my first career pivot, maternity leave. My boss at the time (a father of four), understood what I did not—my life was getting ready to change dramatically and it was an opportunity.

Here’s the secret: Decide on a task to put down and don’t pick it back up upon return.

doge_albatross

Rime of the Ancient Mariner, rewritten in Doge

Sounds too easy, right? How could this work?

I’m a realist, so you can’t put down the pager if that’s your role, or quit expense reports in a dramatic pull the inflatable slide and jump way, but there’s something that you can put down or manage differently. What is it? What is the extra weight you’re carrying that is keeping you from going where you want to go in your career?

Will you need to pick something else up? Absolutely, but now you have a free hand to do so, and you’ve left an albatross behind.

Maternity leave forced me to do what I hadn’t been able to do on my own (twice)—let go of less important work and focus on more important and more fulfilling work. I shifted from traditional publishing (10 years of my career!) to technology after my second maternity leave, which gave me more growth opportunities and led me to work and an industry that I love.

Ask yourself what work you do that both makes you happy and serves the company you’re working for right now. It can be an uncomfortable question, full of lizard brain roadblocks about how “they’ll never let me do that.” Or “if only,” then . . .

New Year’s Resolutions are meant to challenge you. If you move incrementally closer to personal and professional happiness at work, mark that in the 2016 win column. Why wait? What’s your resolution?

 

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Consume and Be Thankful

These last few weeks have involved a lot of discussions around different ways to grow and be a part of community. In our content-driven marketplace, too often there’s a hierarchy of engagement that looks like this:

Publish or Perish!

Passive engagement gets the pejorative “lurk” tag. Publishing content, feeding the machine, is held in the highest regard. I’ve definitely been guilty of perpetuating this myth.

In fact, I’m sort of doing that right now by breaking a vow I made to my mentor: shut up and listen.

Well perhaps he was kinder in his phrasing, the directive was stop producing and consume. Consume content like you’re starving. There are even check-ins about this, like an accountability group. My name is Amy, and it’s been 5 days since I created content.

This forced production break has been awesome, and I’m looking forward to another content consumption binge over the holidays. I’ve been reading this:

Reading Creativity, Inc makes you a unicorn.

Reading Creativity, Inc makes you a unicorn.

Which made me think about this episode of Engineers Unplugged with Josh Atwell and Gurusimran Khalsa, where GS drops the mic by reminding us that being part of the community can be as simple and powerful as saying thank you or asking a question:

Which inspired me to document this:

Remove the Hierarchy!

If you would like to consume the brainstorm in shortened PPT form, I’ve posted Influence Marketing 201: Shut Up and Listen on SlideShare.

So go forth and pay some compliments, ask some questions, and consume some content! And thank you for listening.