Happy New Year! Ok, it’s not really January 1st. At the time of this writing, it’s July 15th. Remember years ago the Christmas in July sales? For a moment, let’s consider it to be virtual New Years Day. I’ll bet you haven’t thought about January 1st as being part of a Continuous Improvement cycle and the start of the next sprint.
If it were January 1st, you would be taking some time to take a look at yourself. You’d be coming up with some resolutions that you might believe will improve your life. You would likely enter the season of exercise. The month of January is the largest part of the year for the folks who sell exercise clothes, exercise equipment, and gym memberships. Yet, we all have had, at one point in our lives, a gym membership that we didn’t use after February or a treadmill that served as a clothes rod.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice about getting exercise that I can offer. However, in the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, don’t you think you should do a retro on your career? As I talk with folks any more, the conversation always revolves around how to get the next “great job” and the the lack of career opportunities that don’t seem to be out there. Yet, in these same conversations, the suggestion of increasing the odds by improving skills and knowledge is often met with the common phrase of “I’m too busy.” Too busy to invest in yourself? Really?
Changing your stars is not a concept that happens unless you are willing to make changes in yourself. Think about the impact of investing one hour per day in yourself. How much time would be invested over 3 months? At an hour per day three months, the answer is 90 hours. That’s the equivalent of over two weeks in just 13 weeks. How much knowledge can you acquire?
Sometimes, changing your stars has nothing to do with a plan, but a quest for knowledge. 8 years ago, I took a Scrum Master class that I had to pay for myself. That one class started me on a journey that has led me to Florida, back to Indy, to a couple of startup, Angie’s list, and turning a part-time opportunity into a full time gig. The ride has had some bumps, but what I ride I have had. Once I completed the class, I have been a sponge soaking up everything I can get my hands on.
I found an interesting Tony Robbins quote the other day: “In life, you need either inspiration or desperation.” For me, I prefer inspiration. Embracing a continuous improvement cycle in your life enables you to not have to get it perfect the first time.
As humans, we get wrapped up in what is immediately going on in our lives. We don’t take the time to stop, evaluate where we are, identify changes and then adapt what we are doing. I preach the continuos improvement sermon all day every day, but need checkpoints in my life to reflect, adapt, and iterate.
Take this opportunity on virtual New Years Day, reflect on what you have done so far this year, identify what you are going to change, and then adapt for the rest of this year. It’s never to late to invoke Continuous Improvement. After all, you only have five more months on that annual gym membership.
Thanks for coming in today.