In today's episode, we discuss purpose-oriented resolutions. We'll discuss an exercise you can use to help drive this development process. We'll also continue this discussion about resolution development in the next episode of the show.
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Happy New Year to everyone who is celebrating a new year. If you are struggling with making decisions about what you would like to change, what you would like to improve, maybe you are making your resolutions or you're watching other people make theirs and you're not really sure what yours should be or if you should even have any. This episode is for you. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers find clarity, perspective and purpose in their careers. If you're thinking about becoming a better version of yourself, but you don't know where to start in today's episode, I'm going to give you a foothold, by way of thinking, a kind of process of thinking that should generate some of those answers for you. There's a very kind of step by step process. Hopefully it will start the wheels turning. It's not a foolproof process by any means, but anybody who's trying to sell you a foolproof process is probably lying. Really, the end result is essentially the same. It's going to require work from you. It will require dedication. It will require energy and time and prioritization. All of those things that you already know before we dive into that though, I want to try to help you find a sense of direction that is lasting. It's a really important part of this podcast, clarity, perspective and purpose. Clarity on your purpose is maybe combining those two things is just as critical. The purpose that we're talking about here is the thing that doesn't expire easily. It's the thing that lives through from job to job, from season to season, from responsibilities to other responsibilities. As your career grows, your purpose may shift. It may change, but generally speaking, it's going to stay relatively similar throughout most of your career. This is true for most people, at least. It's very easy to see how if you don't have this underlying idea, this underlying driving values, underlying driving intention or beliefs that set your career on its path, that you could easily be swayed from one kind of way of thinking into a totally different way of thinking, which is okay, except that often when this happens, it throws you off course. The things that you like to make progress on, you can't really make progress on. It becomes easy to become burnt out because when your job gets difficult or when it becomes uncomfortable, it's hard to push through that. It's hard to understand what that trade off is really worth. We all experience these kind of emotional swings on a regular basis. For example, if you celebrated a holiday recently, if you're like me, you celebrate it to the fullest. You decorated your house or you might have parties or watch movies that are in the theme of the thing that you were celebrating. But once the thing comes and goes, a lot of that kind of emotional attachment that you had to those decorations or those parties goes along with it. You're ready to move on to the next thing. This is evidenced in commercial settings as well. We see all of those holiday decorations the day after that holiday passes. You can find all those decorations on steep sales. What does this have to do with us setting our intention for the year with finding some kind of resolution? Well, the truth is that resolutions that are based primarily on a present feeling of emotion tend to not be good resolutions at all. Our emotions change. And therefore, if you have some kind of resolution or big decision that you're making based on those emotions, then it's likely to change as well. It's very difficult to understand or to kind of separate our emotions from what we would consider an enduring purpose or an enduring kind of set of values that are still there regardless of what our emotional state is. And some of the reason for that is because we actually have emotions about our values or our values kind of generate emotions. We become attached to them. And so it's very difficult sometimes to separate those out. And we're not necessarily talking about finding your purpose in today's episode. Instead, we're going to walk through an exercise of determining some of these more practical decisions. What are you going to do in your resolutions? But as you are going through these exercises, I want you to kind of constantly be thinking, why is it that I want X, Y or Z? Why is it that I want to learn this particular skill? Or why do I want to move to this particular city? Or why do I want a job in this field with this position? What is it that's driving that underneath? And more specifically, when would I not want it? What would cause me to decide that this desire that I think that I have is actually not there at all? In future episodes, we will likely do some more exercises in trying to find or uncover some of those values. But the most critical thing to pay attention to for today is asking that kind of one layer deeper question of why? Why this direction? Why this particular salary? Why do I want to learn this skill or improve in this area? That's the kind of filter that we're going to use today. It's not a perfect one, but it will at least take us one step further. And it just wants, again, kind of driving at that underlying purpose, trying to find something that is difficult to expire. So in this episode, and in the next episode, I'm going to give you a total of three prompts. And these prompts are intended for you to use either in a journaling process or maybe on a recurring basis. You can revisit these in a quarterly basis, perhaps even on a monthly basis, to guide your decision-making, guide your improvement process. But this first one is intended to be not only looking into the future, but reflective. And we'll go through it together right after we talk about today's sponsor, AuthZoo. Developer Tea is grateful for the support of AuthZero. Identity is the front door of every user interaction and login experiences are critical to a user's experience with your app. As a software engineer, you've probably spent countless hours on this very important interaction. And no matter how much time you seem to spend, it never gets done. If you're like most teams, you don't really want to spend all your time on the login. You'd rather focus on the product. Maybe you don't have the expertise you need on your team to make that login experience seamless or maybe you're concerned about security or perhaps just the constantly evolving nature of login. This is moving all the time. There's always new ways, new techniques for security and better UX. The builder by decision on login is essentially a no-brainer. This is especially true as you begin to scale your application. And it's best if you can solve this before you adopt a bunch of technical debt or hidden security issues with a homegrown login solution. I know you probably have written one before. Many of you have probably regretted doing that in the first place. And Auth0 is here to solve your login problems permanently for good. Auth0 provides simple, secure and adaptable login for applications and businesses, freeing you up to focus on the problems that you're best suited to solve in your product. Auth0 supports virtually every style of login you could want. Social login, multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, passwordless, and much more. You can implement Auth0 in your application in as little as five minutes by handing over to Auth0.com to get started today. That's auth0.com. Thanks again to Auth0 for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. For this exercise, we're kind of doing three exercises in one. We're going to be reflecting on the past. You can choose a period of time that seems reasonable for you. Most people are looking at the last year to try to recount some of the things that have happened in the past year. It might be helpful to look at a year because that gives you some kind of way of avoiding seasonality. If you want to go further back, if you want to count back in three or four years, since of course, every year comes with its different challenges. We've all experienced some unique ones in this past year. There's some value in looking at the most stressful times and figuring out, okay, during those stressful times, what brought me the most fulfillment? Or what were the most memorable moments that I would like to emulate that feeling? I'd like to have the same feelings that I had then. The goal here is to look at the peaks and the valleys. You're looking for moments that you thought were extraordinarily good. They stand out to you or when you revisit the memories, you have very fond connection to those memories. The valleys or the bottom out moments revisit those. I know that can be a scary or difficult thing to do. Revisit those. Particularly what we're looking for is moments that could have theoretically been avoided based on your actions, things that you chose to do that you didn't enjoy doing, for example. And then also looking at some kind of baseline. What did my daily, if I had to evaluate what my daily baseline looked like, what was it like? You're looking for, was it wildly erratic? Did I feel really great on Mondays and Wednesdays and then Tuesdays and Thursdays awful? Looking for some kind of trend line along the way. Really, all we're looking for in this exercise is how did I feel at the very best, at the very worst, on an ongoing basis? Not necessarily an average, but maybe something like a moving average. You can capture whether you're swinging up and down wildly. This is even better if you can supplement it with some kind of note taking or journaling that you've done. I know that I'm not incredibly consistent with my journaling process, so it's not always available to me. If you can go back and find pictures or any kind of thing that gives you a sense for what those times were like, there is some survivor bias here because we don't tend to take pictures of things that we didn't enjoy very well. But nevertheless, what you're going to do with this information is look at the kind of commonalities in those very positive moments. This exercise shouldn't be that illuminating. It shouldn't be that wild. To consider all of those high points and figure out what was common in them. Was there something fundamental happening? Maybe it was with a particular set of people or maybe you find that your social time in general is what gives you really positive feeling moments or maybe there is even that intro. You know, it could be introverted moments, moments of solitude. It could be that you engaged with some kind of hobby or it could be that you engage with some kind of media material. Maybe you're reading a book or something. Whatever it is, try to find those common points. And it's possible that there aren't any and that's okay. But if you can find those common points right down kind of the theme. We're looking for some kind of theme or a couple of them that explain what are the things that really kind of made you happy this past year. Or however long back you want to go. And similarly, the theme of the negative experiences. And then when you're looking at your baseline experiences, the goal here should be to try to determine some kind of principle factors that you think contributed to those experiences. Right. So it's possible that you had a baseline level of happiness this year that's higher than years before. And maybe the reason for that is because you're working remotely this year. Right. There's a lot of things that could be happening and you shouldn't become overly dedicated to one particular theory of why you're happier or sadder. But instead, try to learn from those experiences and take down some of those things. And the reason that we're doing this is to kind of carry it into the next two exercises, which we'll talk about in just a minute. But essentially, look at the things that make you happy and see if you can incorporate those kinds of things more in your life. Look at the things that make you not so happy and try to incorporate less of those things or eliminate those things out of your life. Now, of course, there is some limit to this, right. For example, it might be that you had very good moments that were celebratory. And if you just celebrated all of the time, then that would water down kind of the significance of those fewer moments that you were celebrating. So there is a lot of caveats to this as there is with any kind of advice that we give on the show. But generally speaking, most of the time on an ongoing basis, you can find these kind of themes of activities that make you happier or not as happy. And try to use that to drive your decision making and your resolution making. And the next episode, I'm going to share two more, at least two more. We'll see how I go a little bit further than that. But at least two more exercises for you to use in this process of developing some kind of plan, some way of improving. And if you're like me, this can get a little bit daunting. It feels difficult to always be improving on everything about yourself. So I want to encourage you to take some time to just relax. I know that sounds kind of wild as you begin to start a new year. Everybody is in kind of go mode and ready to get out of that relaxation mode that tends to pervade our into the last month or so of each year. But I want you to relax as you give your brain some time to decompress. These kinds of decisions that you're making, the kinds of decisions that will last, the kinds of decisions to change, you know, major things about your behavior, about your, you know, maybe your job or maybe your personal life, these major decisions that you are making are best made after having a lot of diffuse time, diffuse time. That means after letting your brain decompress, right? Not thinking about all that you want to accomplish necessarily in the year, but instead just being present in the moment, right? Just experiencing your day to day and enjoying that time, celebrating as the new year rolls in. That's what I would encourage you to do between now and the time that the next episode comes out. Don't worry about going too deep into your journal or creating all of your personal OKRs or getting your Trello boards organized or put a combine by boards, whatever. Don't go into that yet. Give yourself a chance to totally decompress as the year begins and start with that diffuse time. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to Auth0 for their support of Developer Tea. You can get started with Auth0, get implemented in less than five minutes by hanging over to Auth0.com. That's a UTH0.com. Thank you so much for listening to this show. The next episode is going to come out on the seventh year anniversary of Developer Tea. I cannot believe it's been seven years. We'll talk a little bit more about that in that episode. We have no plans of cutting this podcast off anytime soon. And I want to thank you very personally from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to continue doing this. And if you want to keep helping out and keep this show running, one of the most important things you can do is leave a review at night tunes. A favorable review is always nice, but we also appreciate reviews that are directive and critical as well. But perhaps the most valuable thing you can do for yourself if you enjoy this show is to join the discord community, the Developer Tea Discord community, head over to developertea.com slash discord. That community is totally free to join. It will always be free. We're never going to charge for that because we want you to have access to those conversations and the people that are in there, including myself. So go over and join today developertea.com slash discord. Thanks so much for listening. And until next time, enjoy your tea.