Learning Unstoppable

Through the first 4 weeks of the unstoppable course I have spent ~10 hours a week working on or thinking about what this course really means. I have really embraced this opportunity as a chance for self reflection and self discovery. I have read books, listened to podcasts, watched movies and read blog post dealing with different aspects of finding a purpose, discovering your personal values and really discovering your passion.

In this process I have started daily reflections on each individual day. What am I grateful for? What could I do better? What amazing things happened to me today? These are all questions I ask daily. The answers astound me as I feel I am still being held back by my own preconceptions on life and career. Looking back, pretty much my entire career has been about being responsible. I wanted to find a job I could make good money, I wanted to take care of my family, etc. Although, I think my passions were directing me to an extent, I know I have not been entirely driven on passion and finding my sense of purpose. This course has really started my reflection down that path. I have seen that in my first drafts of my ideal job and ideal life that I would reflect on what could improve from what I have today, not what could be possible. I would assume certain limits and set boundaries where ideally there shouldn’t be boundaries. I still struggle to look passed my self-imposed limits.

As I get passed those limits I am really starting to see life and work in a new light. Previously I have worked up to titles and for raises. I have even sought this fictitious work/life balance. Now I am starting to see those were never really my driving factors. It’s probably why I never stopped there. I never found fulfillment and it ultimately wasn’t what I truly wanted.

So, what do I want? I think I am still discovering this to some extent. I think that it is clear that I have a passion for coaching, mentoring and even teaching. My subject passion is certainly still with programming, mathematics and even sports. I see that I do not incorporate enough of my passions in my life but have slowly been building it over the years. I see that my life is my work and that balance is my ability to share this with my family.

This first module has me anxious to learn more. I want to learn to clear away the clutter more effective and focus on my passions. I want to continue to evolve my stand, my ideals and learn my purpose. I want to continue to collaborate more with others on their thoughts and ideas and find ways to help them achieve theirs and further realize my own. Overall, I think this opportunity is well timed as I opened a new chapter of my life a few months before this and now I am seeing that as my first step to this. I may not know what the rest of the steps look like but the ride looks awesome!

Further Defining My Purpose and Values

So, in my previous post I defined my Purpose and Values as follows:

Purpose

Change the world one line of code at a time sharing my journey and experiences along the way.

Values

  • Learn something new each day
  • Always will myself to succeed
  • Mentor and be Mentored at every opportunity
  • Reach others by taking an interest and understanding them
  • Be creative
  • Be passionate
  • Always give 100% into everything I do
  • Enjoy each day striving to make a difference

I think that this is a good start. I really believe my purpose is to change the world through the programming and technological work that I do. Today, I see the main part of that change rooting in the second half of that sentence above, though. Previously I always thought this meant developing some great piece of software or becoming such an expert that everyone desired my time and skill. Today I believe the way I will change the world is through my sharing of my journey, teaching others what I know, what I’ve done and how they can learn the craft as well.

As a kid I thought about the mansion, the cars, having never-ending money but I never felt like that was me. I even use to say I would be a professional baseball player and just make the league minimum because I just wanted to play and even the minimum was plenty of money. Today I feel the same, I don’t need that fame and those riches. I believe this is where my values tie in (restated with a few additional):

  • Constant Learning
  • Mentoring
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Be Passionate
  • Will Success
  • Immerse Myself
  • Family-oriented
  • Carpe Diem

Where does this lead me? Below I have another list of where I am going and what I will be doing (or not doing).

Things I would like to be, do or have in my life

  • I want to be Family-oriented
  • I want to do a family vacation each year
  • I want to have my kids in my life as long as I can

 

  • I want to be a Teacher, Speaker, Mentor
  • I want to do conference courses, screencasts and teach
  • I want to have knowledge be shared freely and constantly

Now if someone asks where do I see myself in a year the answer is: I see myself establishing an online presence and sharing my knowledge with others. I will write more code on my own time to continue to expand my skills and grow my interests. I plan to continue to educate those up and coming developers. All of this while helping my daughter and family enjoy the summer before she attends high school in the fall.

As for the 5 year question: I see myself presenting at conferences and putting myself out in the community more. I hope to have created some applications or donated my time wisely to help business or organizations with software gaps they have. I want to continue to teach up and coming developers and mentor them to success in their own career. In 5 years, who knows maybe one of these developers will be my daughter as she discovers her path in life. By this time she will have started college, my son high school and my wife and I enjoying the fact we still have many years together.

My Set Point

Stand

What would I do if I knew I only had one year to live?
I would …

  • spend each day sharing an experience or words of wisdom that I have learned with my children.
  • journal my thoughts, feelings and dreams for family, friends and any one else to read when I am gone.
  • do my best to live in the moment and seize each day for what it has given me.
  • share my remaining time with my wife and let her know what she has meant to me.
  • coach one more season of softball as it’s important to me to continue to give back.

What would I do if a natural disaster or terrorist event struck my town?
I would join any volunteer efforts to help recover from the disaster and recruit family and friends to help in this effort as well.

What would I do if a friend asked me to help him move but I really wanted to go see a movie that night?
Friends are more important and I can always see the movie another night, I would help him move.

What would I do if I found out my favorite brand had been exploiting workers and participating in environmentally destructive practices?
I would stop buying the products and share why I have done so with family and friends.

What would I do if I won the lottery?
I would …

  • setup trusts for my children to be able to pursue their passions with proper education and training to start them off.
  • invest money for retirement and ensure my wife and I are taken care of for our years remaining.
  • invest money in local businesses and causes that inspired me.
  • treat my daughter’s softball team to games at the Crushers, Indians and Racers, hoping to get the teams to meet the girls.
  • Unrelated to the lottery winnings, I would continue to pursue programming and teaching. I would definitely work on AI projects while I continue to pursue speaking at conferences.

What would I do if someone decided to fight me for no good reason?
If a physical fight presented I would walk away. I would not allow myself to be hit and I would also not hit.
In a non-physical fight I would try and resolve such until I see no resolution possible. If no resolution can be reached I would wish the person well and give them time in hopes time heals whatever started the issue.

What would I do if an opportunity for an inside deal came my way with no chance of anyone finding out?
if a question of legality or ethics exists, I’d pass…

What would I do if my team were bashing a teammate behind his or her back in my presence?
I would ask what this person did to them and why they felt a need to do so. I would hope to cease such nonsense and build camaraderie between us.

My Stand

  • Share the joys of the day with those you love.
  • Allow others to benefit from my experiences as they may see value where I don’t.
  • Give back to those that help shape the world my kids will live in.
  • Teach others through experience and example as well as words of wisdom.
  • Turn away from the nonsense of the world focusing on the important things life offers.
  • Bring others together all the time and not just in times of need.
  • Exercise the mind and the body equally as only with both are we whole.

Passion

What books, movies, art, or music get you pumped?
My of the books and movies that get me pumped are stories of personal experience or words of wisdom.
Examples include:
Books: Monday Morning Leadership, Dreaming in Code
Movies: Hardball, The Rookie, Coach Carter, Hoosiers

Art is more about spirituality and reflection. I am pumped by visions of nature, lakes, and paths. Creates a sense of inner-peace for me.

Music is all about the beat. A good beat can carry a workout to the finish.

Who inspires you and why?
Steve Jobs – his drive, passion and ability to deliver on knowing what you don’t even know you want yet.
Robin Williams – his ability to think quickly, improv and passion to make others happy.
Jearl Walker – taking pride in teaching and reaching his audience.
Linus Torvalds – creating an OS and Source repository and still striving for better.

What characteristics of yours make you feel great about yourself?
My will to not give up and keep the course
My ability to analyze data and discover different facts, patterns or inferred pieces that no one else sees.
My ability to reach many audiences in different terms of technical understanding by adapting my vocabulary and reading the situation.
My intelligence to grasp something such as programming and mathematics and gain deep understanding into difficult concepts.

What activities would you do if you had more time and no barriers?
Play baseball and other sports, most specifically take the mound on a baseball field and pitch for hours.
Create and architect my own software applications that can be used to better solve issues and making things easier for others.
Write code for AI projects and tap into the notion of creating artificial intelligence through code.
Speak at conferences and schools teaching and sharing my knowledge with another generation of dreamers.

What benefits to others would these activities or characteristics provide?
My will would provide an example of someone others can look up to, someone who persists with goals until they’re achieved. In programming I would provide others solutions so they may expand on them but also so non-developers can use them to solve their own issues as-is. My speaking and teaching desire would then empower others with the knowledge and work I have put together. Preparing them for the next step.

Could you change the world, making it even a tiny bit better, by focusing more on these?
Yes and regardless of the path I take I hope to impact the world for the better.

What would it take to get you to step into the arena of even just one of these activities?
It would take time and also the knowledge that I would not be sacrificing my family.

Purpose

Change the world one line of code at a time sharing my journey and experiences along the way.

Values

  • Learn something new each day
  • Always will myself to succeed
  • Mentor and be Mentored at every opportunity
  • Reach others by taking an interest and understanding them
  • Be creative
  • Be passionate
  • Always give 100% into everything I do
  • Enjoy each day striving to make a difference

My Ideal Life

What do I want out of life? what are the characteristics of my ideal life?… This is a question I am being asked to complete as part of this unstoppable course that I have enrolled. I will tell you what, this question alone has caused so much reflection on my life I am not sure I could have ever anticipated that the pre-work (the work before the course) could have been so beneficial and I haven’t even started the course. but enough of that, back on topic…

My Ideal Life would include:

  1. Friends
  2. Dating my wife
  3. Playing Sports
  4. Playing with Technology
  5. Good Health
  6. Volunteering
  7. Becoming a Speaker
  8. Being a Mentor
  9. Family Man
  10. Have Purpose

First comes having a couple close Friends. As a kid this was my best friend, the person I flew out the door to play with and stayed up until I was forced in at night. In high school it was more “my partner in crime”. Not real crime but the friend I was always with. As an adult it was a guy I worked with. We hung out outside of work and our families ended up being good friends. Now of course I am married and she is a great friend but in an ideal life I would have that friend that we either shared my passion of tech or my passion of sports, neither of which my wife and I share. With that piece missing I feel like a part of me is just on hold for the time being.

Speaking of my wife, in an ideal life we would definitely date my wife more. I have very often felt that my wife and I give in to the old married couple syndrome of staying in or using our time alone to get practical things done. Over the last few years I have pictured taking her out to the theatre, going on road trips or just doing fun things again.

Another aspect of my ideal life would be playing sports. My desire here is to either join a couple more leagues or be playing for fun on weekends. At one point I was playing basketball, soccer and baseball, often with overlap and this was only a few years ago. Now I know I am getting old and I should “take it easy”. yeah right… If my body is going to self-destruct because I am doing something I love than so be it…

Now I already feel pretty good with where I am but I definitely believe that technology will be an important part of my ideal life. I need my play time and to enjoy the craft (programming) that I put so much time into.

Ideally I would have good health. Today I am thankful for every day I am able to wake up and do what I do. That being said, ideally I would love for the tinnitus to disappear, my hearing to come back, my shoulder to not be torn. These ailments are most definitely livable and I live with them every day but if we are talking ideals, let’s not leave these out. Correcting these means less headaches, migraines and most importantly to me more innings pitched.

Now in my ideal life I would continue to have opportunities to volunteer. Today I am a baseball/softball coach, equipment director and a member of the little league. I would love to continue this and find other opportunities where my skills can help.

Along with giving back, I would love to become a speaker at conferences and different types of events. Today my career is all about teaching and speaking in front of people. I would like to continue this and find more opportunities to speak at events like CodeMash, StirTrek, possibly user groups and especially Hour of Code events at schools. I would even love to someday speak at a graduation and talk to graduating seniors and share my experience and advice with them.

To the extent of giving back I would always want to be a Mentor and be mentored. Whether this is being a mentor for programming, leadership, or sports I love working with anyone who want to learn. It is nice to sit one on one with someone and not only be able to help them succeed to the next goal but to learn so much from their journey and their chosen path.

Another characteristic is that I would want to be a Family Man. I focused too much on being successful by someone else’s definition of success and been distant from my family at times. Success is watching the your children grow up and have the opportunity to be successful in their own right. This all starts with being there for them and being a part of their lives. I can’t force a life on them but I want to be there to teach them right from wrong, how to be independent and how to be responsible. I am so proud of who my children have become at their current ages that I can’t wait to see their futures.

For my last characteristic and I think what really sums up everything I have here is to find purpose. I want to find my purpose and live for what I was meant to do on this earth. I have always felt a sense of imposter syndrome in many aspects of my life and in some cases it just doesn’t wear off that easy. In my ideal life I am going to become many things and find the purpose in my life and enjoy the ride.

“Life is a game, play for fun not to win!” This is a saying I live by and something that in my ideal life would be so true as each day needs to be filled with more fun the last.

My Ideal Job

As part of the pre-work for the unstoppable course I was asked to describe my ideal job. I started the assignment like I would any other. The problem when I finished is that I described my ideal job compared to my previous jobs. I was not thinking outside of my experience and about what I would really want. So… here is try #2 (probably really 3).

My ideal job would exhibit the following characteristics:

  1. Code
  2. Teach
  3. Collaborating with great people
  4. Be comfortable at work
  5. Flexible schedule
  6. Constant learning
  7. Feedback and transparency
  8. Access to latest technologies
  9. Fair compensation, great benefits
  10. Profit sharing

Code
I love to code… I have always enjoyed solving problems in code. There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck on a problem for days but the most satisfying moment comes when you have the breakthrough that helps solve that issue.

Teach
Who knew an introverted, hates public speaking kid would love presenting technical material to really anyone who wants to hear what he has to say. From the first time I was forced to teach to the many times volunteering to take on class after class to finally becoming a full-time instructor, the more I present the more excited I am.

Collaborating with great people
I have worked with some great teams over the years. I consider myself lucky to have been a part of such great teams over the years and always want to find a team I can truly contribute to and be a part of.

Be comfortable at work
Give me Jeans! I understand dressing nicely and being polished in front of customers but if there are no customers and you really want me to focus, being comfortable helps that process along.

Flexible schedule
We all have personal lives and they constantly get in the way of work. 🙂 j/k
Seriously, there are times when you need a day off, a half day off or just an hour for something. It is nice to be able to do what you have to and then focus back on work.

Constant learning
I am a life long learner. I love to learn things and I am always open to diving into a new topic more and more as time allows. I find that I have too many interests and not enough time.

Feedback and transparency
Who doesn’t like to know where they stand and how the company is doing.

Access to latest technologies
Being in the technology space I quite enjoy being at the forefront and being able to try new tech as it is happening and share that with customers, colleagues, etc.

Fair compensation, great benefits
Knowing you are being fairly paid and the company has great benefits is always appealing. It provides a level of security that your family is going to be taken care of.

Profit sharing
Any company that believes in rewarding employees for a really great year by providing them a cut of the profits sounds spectacular. Why not share the wealth of the company with those that work for the company.

Overall, I want to work somewhere where it doesn’t feel like work. The more it feels natural and the more I really can’t tell where work ends and life starts is fine by me. I don’t want to be buried in my work to where my family doesn’t see me or know me but they should see its importance in my life, the joy it brings me without being a burden. I should be able to share it with family and friends, not have it rule when I can see them, or take me away from them.

My ideal job probably isn’t far off. I have been seeking it for some time and really believe it can be achieved and that I hope to spend a good part of my career achieving everything I have listed. At times I have a few of these to most of these but having everything all at once would be special.