2012: My Year of Quiet Professional Reflection
2012: My Year of Quiet Professional Reflection
»Embracing the Fall
Some of you that have known me professionally for awhile may have noticed that I was unusually quiet in 2012. In this post I will talk a bit about why that was and what I learned about myself, our industry, my profession and my peers in that time.
I didn’t start out with the intention of stepping away from what had been a very active level of participation in our online and in person communities. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t until I had been quiet for a few months that the idea of stepping away from the daily interaction and dialog began to appeal to me.
The path that led to my “quiet period” actually started in the Fall of 2011. For some reason I find myself becoming very reflective in the fall as the leaves begin to change and the temperatures begin to dip. Fall is to me is the period of decline in the natural world, the slow slide into darkness of winter after the peak of the spring and summer months. It is not THE END of nature, but it is an end… And end to a cycle, a turning of the wheel, an inevitable repetition of a process that has repeated far before I walked this Earth and will continue on long after my mortal husk has replenished it. Now don’t read this wrong, I love fall. It is truly my favorite season of all, and the reason for that is that I recognize that this end is really a beginning of a renewal. Without this the Fall, there can be no spring.
So last year, like so many others years before it, I found myself reflecting on the year so far, where I was professionally, personally and digitally. What I found when I really reflected on my professional and digital self was that I was becoming frustrated, jaded, cynical and emotionally exhausted. Those that truly know me know that these are not characteristics that I typically embody (sarcasm yes, in great heaps), I am typically very positive, optimistic, and hopeful and work very hard to extend those feelings towards others both in person and online. So I started reflecting even more and decided to do a few things. Initially I was just going to coast along for a little while and try to better understand what was causing these feelings and to what degree I could affect the causes.
After a few weeks I realized some things:
- As much I love to be an active part of the dialog, sometimes just watching other people interact gives you a much better understanding of the makeup of a community of people.
- After almost 15 years of Presenting at Conferences, Facilitating Workshops, Building IT Communities, Publishing Blog entries and generally fighting passionately for an Industry that I loved, I was tired and was resentful that very Industry was incapable or unwilling to change and adapt towards what appeared to me to be an obvious choice between extinction and evolution.
So I stepped away…
It was selfish, it was childish, it was petulant, and it was exactly what I needed.
It was my Fall.
»How Stella got her groove back
Now don’t get me wrong, I stayed connected, but I shifted from my daily obsessive need to be constantly “Current” on the conversations and arguments du jour. I embraced the role of “Consumer” with a zeal that I had long ago forgotten.
_I rediscovered my curiosity. _
After a while I came to understand that I did not need to be constantly embroiled in the daily conversations to remain connected, quite the opposite actually, I have come to realize that the more selective I am with both my consumption and interaction the more I get from the community. Sure, I miss some opportunities to share some of my experiences and pile on to dialogs, but the beauty of many of the online communities these days, is that you have the ability to truly choose who and how you engage with communities and the individuals in them.
I also found I had a lot more time to do things that had previously brought me a lot of joy and kindled my professional passions:
_- I read voraciously (over 20 books this year) mostly books focused on the human side of technology, singularity, and the future.
- I attended Dreamforce 2012 and was blown away by how disconnected IT as a whole has really become from the businesses we support.
- I started a hyper-local tech movement which is poised for big things in 2013.
- I deepened some of my relationships with people who are personally important to me (I missed connecting with a few last year, but plan to make up for that this year).
- But most of all, I spent a lot of time truly watching and listening to what was going on around me, not just physically but virtually.
*- I observed, I absorbed, and I grew as a result.*_
»Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do!
Not all of what I saw in my observations of our industry inspired me, in fact much of what I observed caused me grief. But I will not let that grief cause me to give up hope. Instead, I have started tuning it out.
I know you can’t ignore the cancer in our industry, but there are plenty of others who are doing the job of pointing it out. Me I am going to focus on highlighting the good in our industry and ensuring that those who are passionate and hell bent on dragging this industry into the future can and will be recognized and supported.
As such, I have decided to selectively participate and invest my time and attention in the industry where I think it makes sense and where I can stoke the fires of my professional passion while driving us towards the future we need to embrace.
Where we’re going we don’t need roads, and we certainly don’t need to drag along our legacy engagement platforms. That said, I will be doing most of my professional engagement and writing on Google+ from here on out. After spending the last year weighing, measuring and refining how I use most of these tools, I feel it has the greatest potential for native engagement especially for long form communications and selective sharing.
I am already excited about 2013 and the changes that I have already seen coming and will be spending some time over the coming weeks sharing some of my observations, and reflections from the last year.
via Shane Carlson – Google+ Posts https://plus.google.com/116277330785749890836/posts/7DC5jmHPmTs