Given that I just spent the last hour or so reflecting on my last year of goals, I want to keep these fairly brief. I've noticed a pattern in my writing is that I write a lot for the first few paragraphs and then it drops off.
This year, I want to be more brief and effective with my words!
Thoughtful & intentional leadership
One of the most rewarding parts of my day job is helping teams accomplish things they didn't think were possible. A lot of this revolves around providing effective communication inside of the teams and organizations that I work with.
The biggest barrier to getting things done quickly is communicating intentions effectively across different groups of people. This is where I've seen the most friction and frustration that can really break down the momentum of a project.
This year I want to work on distilling my ideas into principles and patterns that can help me share these ideas with others. I want to help those I work with learn the tools that I use to communicate more effectively, and I want to learn more from those folks as well.
I want to emphasize helping our engineers set and accomplish their own personal goals, and really encourage them to reach for higher goals than they normally might. I've found that the time I put into mentoring others really pays dividends for myself in terms of how I think about my own goals, and seeing common struggles across my mentees.
Personal note taking & public storytelling
I filled out my last entry in my journal/notepad today which I've been using since August 9th. I've also been using this blog a lot more often than in the past few years since I've had it.
Stories are a personal passion of mine. I love hearing great storytellers take their audience on a journey. These storytellers can be podcasters, musicians, directors, or even conference speakers. I really appreciate the craft and it's something that I want to work on.
I want to close the gap between the abstract thoughts in my heads and the ideas that I put into the world. Especially at work, I can ramble on and on and realize that not everyone is keeping up with me. I've worked very hard to be able to articulate how I feel, and what I'm thinking to be able to share honestly with those around me.
This blog and my new personal notebooks will be my main medium for working on this goal. I want to be more consistent about writing and put down relevant details on paper when necessary. Reading through my current journal I've missed days or weeks at a time, and some pages only have a handful of words on them.
Be someone people want to spend time with
This is really piggy backing on last year's goal, but given the situation of the last year I think I have a more refined understanding of what it means to me. I got to catch up with a friend who has been living in Hawaii for the past few years, and I had him over for dinner/drinks.
I told him how our mutual friend, when she had her first born, talked about how great it feels to create the kind of safety for a child that just lets them roam the world feeling totally comfortable. My friend responded something to the effect of: "well that's how you're making me feel right now". Especially in such a turbulent year, I want to make sure that I'm a calming presence in people's lives; not a chaotic one.
In normal times, I had people over for dinner at least once or twice a week; even if it was just for normal hangouts. Once it's safe again, I want to resume those kinds of dinners and just use my home as a place that people come to eat, drink, and be happy.
Move into engineering leadership
I don't really believe in stretch goals, it's either a goal or it's not. Leadership has been a strong part of my personality since I could define it. In every interview I've ever had I've said: "I want to be an engineering manager. I want to lead a team."
A favorite quote of mine is "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity". You can't control the opportunities or when they appear, but you can control how prepared you are when they do.
With the obvious exception of rapidly applying to open manger roles, this goal requires an opportunity to present itself. I love where I'm at and the people I work with, and throwing that away for a role I want seems silly. I am going to continue doing the work that I think will best prepare me for the right opportunity.