Sunday, September 20, 2009

You don't have to look far

I think everybody has a moment where they don't know where things are going, what things mean. And this doesn't mean that you're undirected, or unguided. It just means perhaps that you need some perspective. This can take the form of wild success and massive failure. Perspective can usually be found around you.

Despite the lack of direction, the last few months I've had, have been the most meaningful I've had in a while. And this comes from being able to fully appreciate both a job well done and getting a fat kick in the nuts. Most importantly though, are people who help you bring some clarity to the situation. The can come in the form of mentors who go out of their way to make you better, and those who just inspire you to do your best. And just from what I've seen, you don't need to look far. You can usually find them within your existing circle, both personally and professionally.

On the professional end, there are many things I need to work on. I've been very fortunate to have a manager and colleagues who have taken significant time to coach me on soft skills that need tuning. My manager has gone far and beyond to help me take lessons from working as a chef and apply them to working as a sales engineer. Specifically, it's how to build the same satisfaction one gets from a great meal, into a sales engagement. There isn't a text for this.

Great lesson, but what's more important is the opportunity I have here, to prove to him and the team, that time spent on me is time well spent. Taking this back to music lessons, one of the saddest things is when a teacher has given up on a student. Now reversing that up, the opportunity to keep practicing and performing so your mentor won't give up on you is one of those unspoken promises that I think can be fully appreciated at work as well. Perhaps it's this aspect of work that provides meaning. And it has for me for the past few months.

On the personal end, every once in a while you'll meet somebody, usually through another friend who just by what they represent, inspires you to step things up and make good decisions. It could have been their experiences, it could be what they say, it could be just how dialed in they are. This time it was a combination of the three. This weekend he'll be moving to the east coast to take up an incredible job opportunity, mentorship being a key component. It's very well deserved.

It's important to highlight here a few aspects that might be overlooked. One, I've only known him and his family for a few weeks. He's got a great wife and kid, and as one friend pointed out, is genuinely appreciative of his situation. Two, he was introduced to me by another friend who I look up to, who visited last month. Both their accomplishments are impressive. Both are incredibly humble. And so when I'm trying to figure out what this all means, I don't need to look far. Just have to appreciate the situation for what it is, who is around you, perhaps the key to living meaningfully. And that's what has been going on the last few months. It's a nice change.

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