What’s On Your Wall?

It’s a hard time of year for me someone like me.  I’m one of those not so common guys who likes to water ski.  Not “fooling around” water skiing, but skiing in the slalom course.  This entails using muscles you didn’t know you had, to ski at 34mph around 6 little stationary balls.  Once you are successful, you shorten the rope and attempt to get to the next level.  It’s amazingly challenging, a wonderful diversion.

This time of year the ski moves from the boat to the office, where it takes up residence in the corner of the room.  I do this for two reasons.  First, I like looking at it.  Second, and more importantly, it’s a motivator.  Since I see it daily all winter it serves as a constant reminder to get to the gym and do what must be done to be ready for next season.  In essence it pushes me to be better on the water, and in the course.

As I was contemplating my on-the-wall motivator, it occurred to me that I use similar techniques to keep me motivated professionally.   My techniques:

  • Read journals and books on subjects related to technical and managerial aspects of your corner of the IT world.  Keep your to read pile handy, and don’t miss an opportunity to put a dent in it.
  • Look for learning actively in your day to day activities, even in your mundane tasks.  Example, I love interviewing people because I always make a point of learning something from the interviewee during the course of the interview.  Another example, I have the privilege of working with software architects who are smarter than I am – my best moments of the week is getting them to describe their latest creations in detail (even if I pick up 70% I’m smarter).
  • Seek out challenges, assignments that push you.  Ask your boss, she has them for you.
  • Work at improving how you deal with people.  Experiment on you kids.
  • Challenge yourself to be better at dealing with people, especially difficult people.  After all, it’s all about working with others, isn’t it?

So, I ask you, what’s on your wall?  Or, what should be on your wall?

I welcome your comments.
Mike Brannan