This evening, my daughter and I were playing doctor. I laid on the floor and she gave me a checkup. She looked at my ears. "Better". She checked my heartbeat. She nodded her head. And, lastly, she checked my temperature. Her response was perfect and I hope I never forget it: "My temperature is happy".
An Unhappy Temperature
It's been a while since I have blogged. My temperature was far from happy. I spent the better part of eight months working on a challenging project. My spirit was crushed after dedicating myself to its success. Loose lips sink ships and blogging about my experiences as they happened, may not have been wise. Some time apart has allowed for a clearer mind and true reflection. Let's jump right in.
I have learned that I'm most engaged and feel most accomplished when I am solving problems. I like all aspects of problem solving: identifying issues, evaluating/researching options, collaborating with my peers to get well-rounded opinions, implementing a solution, and evaluating it. There is something very satisfying to get paid to solve problems.
Focusing On People
Technical problems present challenges. But, overcoming them effectively should include others. I do best when I'm helping and supporting others - teammates, clients, and stakeholders alike. I have learned that others are most successful when they are enabled to succeed and when their concerns are heard. I believe in education as a powerful tool for proper decision making. And, when my focus is on enablement, I've seen those around me do amazing things as a collective force. I've learned that people should never get overlooked due to circumstance. It's been incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to enable others.
I have learned a lot about bounds and priorities. Everyone needs time away to think, refocus, and evaluate circumstance. It's beneficial for the soul and people need time to think without the constant distractions presented by our connected lifestyles. I spent a large part of the last eight months investing in a largely thankless endeavor. I regularly convinced myself that time away from the family would somehow pay off longer term, especially if I worked harder and overcame circumstances. I learned that it's more beneficial to have balance and work smarter than it is to push yourself beyond your limits and succumb to stress. I didn't demonstrate my best work when I was busy putting out fire after fire. I didn't provide myself opportunities to think and focus. I needed to disconnect. And, I lost track of that which was most important: family. It is clear that a better work life balance is not optional.
My daughter unknowingly helped me articulate what I learned in the last eight months. This reflection has very little to do with project operations or typical lessons learned. It has all to do with focusing on my strengths and understanding when I put myself in circumstances to succeed. People should strive to be better, but do so within their own limits. We need to prioritize that which is most important and strive to recognize when our balance is off.
Your temperature should be happy. For that, I'll be receiving regular checkups from my daughter and ensuring her number one patient does his part.