December 13, 2009

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Lessons from 2009 and plans for 2010

There is something incredibly powerful in being able to look back and see how much you’ve grown in a year. You can’t help but wonder what adventures the next year will bring.

It seems that every year of my life must be the best year yet. 2009 was no exception. It was the year of experiments that paid off and crazy ideas that turned out awesomely.

Here are my long-term goals:

  • I want people to be able to learn, work together, and lead from anywhere. That’s why I’m passionate about helping people connect and collaborate.
  • I want to continue to live a happy and fulfilling life, and I want to share that experience as much as I can. That’s why I’m passionate about exploration and sharing.

Here are some of the things I learned in 2009:

  • Sharing means being able to do more. I’m glad I blogged so much about Drupal. Helping new teams learn Drupal was easy and fun. Teaching what I’d learned freed me up to work on other interesting challenges, which led to learning and sharing even more.
  • Sharing opportunities pays off, too. I’ve switched to passing along as many opportunities as I can, coaching people when needed, and accepting only the opportunities that no one else can do. Result: stronger communities and networks, and better use of time.
  • Experience is awesome. I’ve been working at IBM for two years now. What I do has changed a lot over the past two years, and I’m continually challenged to grow (yay!). I’m surprised to find that I have answers to people’s questions, though, and have even started giving people career advice. ;) This is fun! Imagine what life will be like with decades of experience… =)
  • Speaking in person is overrated. ;) I realized that I can make even more of an impact online, and I can reach more people too. So I experimented with reducing my in-person speeches and focusing the time/energy on sharing more on-line instead. Result: I’m happier, I reach more people, and I have deeper discussions. Win!
  • There’s so much to learn about great communication. Yay! I learned how to facilitate with drawings and do good video on a low budget. I’m looking forward to learning even more through practice and professional editing.
  • Expertise is worth the investment. Many talented people want to earn extra money. Hiring them to teach you or to do something you can’t do easily is a great way to grow your capabilities. For example, some of the illustrators and editors I’ve worked with have saved me time and shown me what “better” looks like.
  • Delegation can help you improve processes and save energy. Outsourcing routine tasks made me reflect on how I do things and write step-by-step instructions. Not only did I learn more about what I do and how to explain it to others, I appreciated being able to delegate things that took me a lot of energy so that I could focus on things I enjoy.
  • Little things can make all the difference in life. Microfleece blankets, handmade hooded bathrobes, and home-baked apple pie make autumn and winter so much more agreeable. Little things like those count.
  • It’s fun to make or grow things for yourself. Sewing means being able to make the clothes, organizers, and home decorations I have in mind. Growing a garden means I can harvest whatever I want. Learning how to can and preserve means being able to enjoy apricot syrup, blueberry jam, and jalapeno jelly. Mmm!
  • Biking helps you get around and build exercise into your routine. Toronto seems so much smaller now that I’m comfortable on my bicycle. I can get to places easily, and I don’t have to rely on public transit. I also like knowing that the exercise is just part of the way I get around. Good stuff!
  • Household routines and investments save time and money. The chest freezer means we can buy more things on sale. We prepare large batches of lunches and dinners for extra convenience. This was definitely worth the extra money. Other household tweaks, like more shelves near the door, go a long way towards streamlining our processes.
  • Staycations are super. The two-week staycation we enjoyed in August was the most relaxing and most productive vacation I’ve ever had. We explored new interests and prepared the foundation for an even better life. Definitely a good idea!

How can 2010 be even better? Here’s what I’m planning to do:

  • Learn more about drawing, animation, and video. I want to get even better at thinking things through and communicating what I’m learning. The better I get at sharing, the more I can help people learn.
  • Share as much as I can at work and in life. I want to share as much as possible so that other people can build on that foundation. At work, this means creating enablement material, blogging, organizing the shared content, and helping communities and individuals.
  • Continue living an awesome life! I can’t wait to explore the experiment opportunities that are sure to come up. I’m looking forward to further building my relationships with W- and J-, family, friends, communities, and the world, too. And I’m definitely looking forward to bringing my cat to Canada as I complete the permanent residency process. I miss her! =)

What have you learned from 2009, and what are you looking forward to in 2010? Please share! =)

Informed Judgment, Terrence Hickey

informed-judgment-terrence-hickey

Here are my notes from the Top Talent call on informed judgment, one of IBM’s leadership competencies. Click on the image to see it full-size.

The speaker recommended checking out Blink. Blink is a good read, but compared to Gladwell’s other books, it doesn’t have as much meat as, say, “The Tipping Point.” One of my favourite problem-solving books is Ken Watanabe’s Problem Solving 101, which was written for schoolkids and is therefore very practical and easy to read.

My key take-away from this talk was to improve the traceability for my decisions by documenting the assumptions, data, experiences, and previous decisions I am basing new decisions on.

Hope this helps!