While technically my journey towards expanding my career began last year when I created a course to teach the basics of Selenium WebDriver, I lost momentum and allowed myself to fall victim to old habits. In the closing months of 2016, I started attending more webinars and conferences and reading more of the books and articles that I have been collecting. I have now reached a point where I am making the decision to move forward with both purpose and passion*
I have always been a person that enjoyed learning. I’m not talking about sitting in a classroom memorizing facts, but actually gaining knowledge and wisdom through research, exploration, and a bit of trial-and-error (mostly the last two). I recently found out that I get even greater satisfaction from helping others learn and collaborating with them on various projects. I suspect the reason for this is two-fold. First, teaching a subject requires a deeper understanding of the topic than simply using the knowledge. This helps me to get past the tedium that can set between the initial thrill of learning something new and true cementing of the knowledge. The second part is the awareness that the knowledge is not being wasted. Once I have passed it on, I can feel the purpose of having done the work even if I no longer use it myself on a regular basis.
With this in mind, I have started a new regimen where I will be actively learning and then imparting that knowledge onto my followers (maybe I’ll even end up with some minions!) and those who stumble across what I produce. The initial steps are to spend 1 hour each day learning new skills or honing existing ones, to publish at least one blog post each week, and to produce at least one tutorial video each month. Once I have succeeded in creating this habit, I will increase the number of posts and tutorials published. I am also working on developing talks to be given at user groups or conferences.
I am not expecting this to be an easy set of tasks to accomplish. Not only will I need to change my current habits and schedule, but I will be fighting to get past my aversion to public speaking and my introverted tendencies. In the end, I believe that I will be healthier and happier for making the changes and I hope that my experiences will help others expand their horizons as well.
* If those words seem familiar, it is intentional. Several years ago I went through a program called CEO2 with coworkers. One of the exercises we did was to find our “Purpose and Passion”. While many of the things we did fell by the wayside, the statement I created has stayed with me. I am now taking steps to actively pursue my passions rather than passively carrying them along with me.
Through resourcefulness, curiosity, and determination, I challenge myself and others to learn new skills and information, face all challenges, and share our experiences to help one another become more than we were, so that we can continue to strive and succeed at making the impossible possible.
Shawn P. Conlin – August 28th, 2012