This is how you know you’re hearing the report of a good scientist. Science that comes up with results that surprise the investigator is probably valid, because the self-fulfilling bias hasn’t shown up.
Part of initiating is being willing to discover the what you end up with is different from what you set out to accomplish. If you’re not willing to discover that surprise, it’s no wonder you’re afraid to start.
Starting doesn’t mean controlling. It means initiating.
About a year ago, I posted good news that I landed a job with a cool company called VeriCorder. I packed up my bags for a trip across the country the day after college graduation and started an adventure.
This adventure has led me to amazing places, meeting wonderful people, and got me involved with life-changing things. Now that adventure continues on. I’ve had a chance to explore the startup domain, the core values that drive the tech community, and discover interesting technology in the past year, but most of that has been just talk. It’s time for me to do.
There’s usually only one way to “do” - dive right in.
I’m teaming up with a really cool startup called lover.ly based in New York City. It means packing my bags in the next few weeks and leaving a community of brilliant, driven, and caring people I love. That tears me apart. What comes of it, though, is an opportunity to do what I’ve been exploring and defining for the last year and help ship some delightful products. I’ll be the Director of Product and Technology for lover.ly, a site to inspire future brides and grooms planning their wedding. I’ll get hands on with lean processes, product development and iteration, and explore and implement technology in a transparent way.
I’ll go to work and learn all day long. I couldn’t be more excited.
I got a few responses to my post about taking off to New York congratulating me on pursuing my passions and sticking to what I love.
Not too long ago, I didn’t know what that was.
Last fall, I found myself searching for a new job. On queue, everyone’s first question was “What do you do?” I had an idea, but it was high level and after I would struggle to explain, people replied with, “okay… so what do actually do?”
My project manager and mentor helped me along a path to discover what I do, and more importantly ‘why I do.’ His suggestion, as I worked on my resume was to go through my past jobs and write down my favorite part of each job. These often resulted in the things I had accomplished and most proud of (which translated into a pretty handy skills-based resume.)
The next task was to refine and discover the intrinsic values each accomplishment represented. This wasn’t easy but what I came out with was an answer to “What do you do?” and provided me with the framework to help answer hard questions.
At our #leancoffeeKL meetings we’ve talked a lot about the need to define what your product does, why it does it, and align everything you do to that.
Defining myself is what I had to do.
That’s what I came up with. It sat on my whiteboard for a while to sink in. The more I found myself in a position where I didn’t know what to do, whether it would be day-to-day, or making life decisions like moving my to New York, I came back to this list. It gave me confidence to jump into new things if they were inline with what I was good at and if they fulfilled what I needed to do to be satisfied in my career. My next adventure fills all of these requirements (with exception to point number 5… I’ve still got a long time to do that).
I challenge you to do this. Spend the time (even at that moment when you’re frustrated and think it’s dumb) and you’ll give yourself a manifesto and the confidence to make tough decisions.