How’s that adventure going? Started yet? We’ve had a few cold weeks here in Oklahoma and are ready to get out of the snow and start raising the temps up a little at a time through Spring, aiming for Summer. We need to wash that salt off our cars and trucks and put grease on the bearing and lube on our bicycle chains. Sun’s out!
A few of my coworkers are probably tired of hearing me quote George Washington. However, they’re not here to stop me from writing on my blog.
No danger is to be considered when put in competition with the magnitude of the cause. –George Washington
This phrase has been wearing on me a lot in the last month or so. It’s a powerful arrangement of words that you can take just about however you want. It can push you to keep digging out of your trials, it can push you to avoid the same pits that others have fallen into, it can push you to make huge changes that you’ve wanted to do for years — but never had the courage to undertake.
The internet is a funny thing — how it won’t forget my words, even if my blog dies, if I die or if someone makes a crater out of a data center or two. Backups will be restored, bits will flip, zeros will become ones and ones will become zeros until this page resurrects from the dust and becomes available again. With this knowledge in hand, I risk sharing too much about myself — and with that risk I consider the cause — and must decide if the risk is worth the prize I’m aiming for.
I love the company I work for deeply. It’s got it’s passions, quirks, oddities, specialties and no matter where you go, you’ve got the full array of personalities. It has been a great place to work for 6 years. I’ve noticed that over time, we’ve continued to recognize our needs and work to fill them — we’re always focusing on growing and doing what’s right for our customers.
What I’m battling right now is simple motivation. I’ve always been a bit of a “find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it” kind of a person. This leads me to be a multitasker and a jack of all trades. It leads me into lifelong learning and always looking for the next way I can help make people’s lives easier. I’ve shared with my closest friends, coworkers and manager a list of things that I love — things that set my heart on fire. The way I see it, if I have something I can share, I want to let others light their candle in it. If my heart is on fire about something, I want others who care about the same things to be able to catch the flame, light the torch and carry it with me.
Last time I spoke about pursing passions and having adventures was about two or three weeks after kicking off my renewed vow to find and do what inspires me at work. We’ve also started a campaign at work to renew our efforts in several areas to help make us better so we can better serve our customers, too. So the timing is perfect for me to start moving. The problem is getting from where I am to where I want to be.
I’ve allowed myself over the years to simply take what’s handed to me in terms of career path. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, really — it’s afforded me a lot of opportunities to learn new things that I wouldn’t have likely picked for myself if I knew what was coming around the corner. The annoying part is — it has kept me from a few goals. Ultimately, I’ve been trying to get to a place where I can be creative, can build, can fix, can teach, and somehow not ever dread Mondays or pray for Fridays. The tasks that bring out these traits have varied a bit over the years — from graphic design, to web design, writing, music recording, bicycling, amateur radio, event support, public service and ministry through my local church.
Currently, I’ve been working on a project to migrate accounting systems — and this year has been a mirror image of the one before. Basically, we moved to one system, then found out quickly that we need to move again. A bit of learning by trial and error, I suppose. The frustrating part is that as tasks and questions come up during this second round — I know for a fact that we have discussed before, but can’t recall whom I discussed it with. You see, I’m a Business Analyst — responsible for gathering details about what people do each day and how they need the computer to help them do those things. I work with a small team of folks to make sure we ask enough of the right questions to be able to make good decisions — then we move to make the changes to make life easier.
I guess the moral of the story is that nothing’s free. In order for someone else’s life to be easy, I have to work harder — the team I’m on has to work harder. Eventually, my workload eases up and we start the next project. To be honest, I’m not complaining about hard work — just that I’m having trouble with being motivated to do it, while seeing my goals sit idle.
I mentioned our efforts to become a better company, right? Two of those tightly connected goals are training and communication. Things that in my tenure, I’ve been able to be involved in, but not to the extent I would have liked. We started building tools to help with each of these things, but then lacked the time to maintain them properly, then before long, people come and go, and we lose the know-how to maintain them. I move on to other positions and things start to gather dust. We’ve gone though an interesting process in the last year or so to merge our company in Tulsa with another based in Virgina. Turns out, I like that company, too — and now we’re one. Now we share these goals.
We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago that sparked that dusty fireplace in me to life again. I watched a presentation where someone was demoing an example of what could be the greatest tool for training and communication that we’ve had to date. The last six years flashed before my eyes — all the times I started, but couldn’t finish the project — all the times I was too busy with work to exersize my mind and become impassioned enough to get to the point that this other person has just done. Fighting back tears, I realized that each of these little decisions have lead me to where I am now — and it was time to make change and pay the toll — and direct myself back toward my calling.
A handful of other meetings on the same topics have taken place and each time, more logs are added to the fire. If only someone would open the damper and let me burn bright before the smoke fills the room! No danger should be considered! Look at the magnitude of this cause! This is a unique combination of events and timing that I cannot simply ignore.
The trouble is that the team I’m on right now is rather busy and there seems to be more work than time to accomplish it. Deadlines are looming and workdays growing longer. That’s the trouble with progress, I suppose. I don’t wish to abandon them in their hour of need, but I need air, I need a place to let out the heat and release the pressure.
“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”
I’ve laid out a set of goals in my mind — and some on paper — and this time, I’ve clearly defined then and set dates by which I plan to start each phase of achieving those goals. The question is will I be able to spread my wings or will I spend the days flipping bits and rearranging electrons?
What dreams do you have? What cause do you have to fight for, for which no danger should be considered? Do you show any of the three signs that you’ve found what truly motivates you? Do you see me motivated about this topic I’ve shared today?
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”