A Look Back
What a year it’s been!
Every year seems to feel like the most exciting, stressful, eventful year in memory, but I think in the case of 2017 it might actually be true.
If I had to choose 1 word to describe my year I would use foundational. A lot took place that I believe will have lasting impacts on me both personally and professionally.
I moved to Seattle
Ran my first marathon
Really grew into my current role at work & received a promotion
This year I was happy to begin writing again. I had a few posts in particular that I was happy with and I felt were well received
How embracing “mistakes” has improved our learning and adoption of Kotlinengineering.udacity.com
Adopting Kotlin as the mobile team’s primary development language for Android.engineering.udacity.com
I also finally settled on a functional blogging platform and got a personal site up and running
Spent a lot of time in self reflection; examining my own beliefs & goals
Not exactly “foundational” but I was pretty excited when Stan Lee drove past me in a hallway at Emerald City Comic Con while I was waiting in line to get his autograph
Consistent, healthy self-care in vitally important
Moving to a new city is exciting, but also isolating and stressful at times. Working remotely is great, but it’s easy to fall out of balance with the rest of your life.
This year I learned to really value self-care and developed a few new tools that I’ve found really useful
- journaling: starting and/or ending my day by writing out thoughts, emotions, goals or anything else that comes to mind has really helped me to be better aware of my current mental & emotional states and stay more balanced throughout my day
- meditation: I found that fitting in time for a daily meditation practice helps calm my mind and allows for better focus
- running: Consistent running has helped me in so many ways. It allows me to clear my head, increases focus, gives me a chance to think and prioritize
Empathy is not to be under valued, and an increase in empathy can have positive impacts on many aspects of your life
This has been an emotionally charged year for a lot of people. Events both personal, professional, and national forced me to examine my thoughts, opinions and beliefs.
1 theme I keep coming back to is that we could all stand to apply a little more empathy in our lives
- how do we come to an understanding with another person?
- how can we impact those around us?
- how do we find commonality in our goals?
- how to we build products that actually better the lives of our users?
Personally, I’ve recognized that many things; whether building a new app feature or having a political discussion; are more productive when I really take a step away from my own pre-conceived ideas and try to frame my thinking around what those around me may be thinking and feeling. Often it’s not what I expect (or not what I was telling myself) and I’m better able to proceed with whatever it is I was pursuing.
Putting yourself out there can be intimidating and scary; but it’s worth it
Fear of failure & fear of public criticism have always followed me
- It used to take me sometimes 10–15 minutes to craft a tweet because I was worried what people would think about it. So worried in fact, that I would generally stay silent.
- I would avoid writing any kind of blog post because I would worry I would get a technical detail wrong, or someone would disagree with my approach.
- I’ve avoided speaking up during meetings worried that my idea is not a “good” one
A lot of the reading I’ve done this year has helped me recognize how these fears have held me back (and also pushed me) over the years.
Over the past several months I’ve been working to really be mindful of these emotions, recognize them, and then be able to mitigate their impact on my life.
Slowly, I’ve been able to make peace that the vulnerability involved with sharing. Whether thoughts on social media, opinions/ideas in meetings, technical articles, or anything else I’m finding that the benefits of putting myself out there far outweigh what I perceive as the “negatives” associated with sharing.
One benefit has been that by engaging with the community, and sharing my thoughts & ideas I’m able to seek out constructive criticism and grow both personally and professionally.
“constructive criticism is a gift: seek it out”this is something I’ve been actively working on the past few months and, while scary and difficult at times, the benefits have been far greater than any of “fears” that I sometimes allow to hold me back
Through this process I can then better share what I learn and ideally help others as well.
A read a number of books this year, but these were a few of my favorites in 2017
- Creativity Inc
- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now
- Ready Player One
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Was really fortunate this year to be able to travel quite a bit
- Multiple trips to California for work
- Conferences in Portland, OR and NYC
- Hiking in the Cascade Mountains
- A beautiful road trip up and down the Oregon Coast
- An anniversary trip to Portland, OR for some rest & relaxation
- Visited Big Sur in December
2018 Frame of Mind
Going into 2018, I have a number of goals in mind
In general, I’m working to put myself out there, take risks, take on challenges, and build my ideal life
- I’m starting a Meetup to start giving back to the community and hopefully helping others grow and build their ideal careers
- I’ve already submitted several proposals for talks at Android conferences in 2018, and have plans to submit to several more over the year. This scares me and is really exciting at the same time.
- 2nd marathon & 1st 50k
- This year we are planning on having interns on our team, and I’m really looking forward to working with them, and developing an enjoyable and beneficial experience for all those involved. I want to ensure they get valuable work experience and education out of it, and I want to use the opportunity to develop my own mentorship skills.
- I’m planning to write more in 2018; including non-technical topics. I don’t know that everything will be public, but I enjoy the practice of writing and how it enables me to question my own thinking
- Meditation is something I plan to make a consistent habit in 2018
Ultimately, I want to continue to make every day count and improve the lives of those around me in some small way.
I wish you all a happy 2018!