« All Episodes

3 Commitments for 2017

Published 12/5/2016

In today's episode, we'll be talking about three commitments you can make as you prepare for 2017.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode! Head over to Linode.com/developertea or use the code DeveloperTea20 at checkout for a $20 credit towards your cloud hosting account! Thanks again to Linode for your support of Developer Tea.

And lastly...

Please take a moment and subscribe and review the show! Click here to review Developer Tea in iTunes.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode I'm going to be giving you three commitments to cultivate in 2017. Of course it is December it's the end of 2016 and we're coming up on the two year anniversary of Developer Tea. Huge congratulations to the design details guys. They are also coming up on their two year anniversary. It's a very exciting time around the world really. The end of the year there's so much that goes on at this time of the year. A lot of people are you know going and shopping buying gifts for each other. There's a lot of traffic in and out of the office even. There's a lot of people who are planning vacations and I want to before we get too close to the end of the year I want to give you the opportunity to start thinking about next year. Now of course once January first hits in 2017 it's a day like any other day. Nothing has changed necessarily so giving you this idea is really more of a cultural participation thing than it is us saying that there's something special about the year coming to a close and the new one coming up. But if there's anything mentally that gives you energy that gives you some kind of momentum then take advantage of it. And so that's the idea here. I'm going to give you some commitments to make. I don't really like the idea of resolutions because so many times those get dropped off the map. We talked about resolutions in a previous episode of Developer Tea. I talked about making shorter term resolutions in that episode go and check that out. Of course you can find that as spec.fm. But in today's episode I'm going to be talking to you about about commitments to make. These are commitments to values. These are not specific goals that you can measure. So that's not really the kind of thing that that fits into a resolution or a shorter term goal. This is something to cultivate perhaps for the rest of your life. And these are not technical technical goals or technical values. These are things that are going to make you a great developer. This is kind of a part of the great developer mindset series that we've been doing this year. And hopefully this will kind of cap off the year. So again, there's a little bit of warning there. This is not a technical episode. This is much more of a soft skills episode. Of course, Developer Tea is largely weighing on the soft skills at this point. So let's go ahead and jump straight into the three commitments you need to cultivate in 2017. Number one, spend time with your coworkers outside of work. Spend time with your coworkers outside of work. There are a lot of people who are listening to this right now. And you're immediately jarred by this concept by this idea. Surprisingly, a lot of people view their job as more mechanical. Right. It's easy to feel like that everyone at your job stays the same. And that you are the only one that is really human. You kind of naturally have this mental perception. The shortcuts we take in our minds, they can cast people that we encounter, especially our coworkers that we encounter every single day, into roles that we never mentally separate them from. They kind of have that role in our minds permanently. The reality though, is that everyone comes to work with a different set of circumstances every day. It may not be drastic or dramatic, but everyone that you work with has their own likes, their own dislikes, their motivations, tastes, and preferences. And everyone you work with has basic needs and desires. And if you're going to become great at anything you do in your career, whether you're a developer or not, you have to start first by learning about yourself, but second by learning about your coworkers. A lot of us have a stronger handle on ourselves than we do on our coworkers. Certainly the most common pushback to this idea though, is that you don't really have the time for this. But here's the thing. Let me start by saying, being great at your job doesn't necessarily demand 60 or 80 hour work weeks. And if that's what you think I'm saying here, that's not at all what I'm saying. But what it does demand is a higher level of commitment than simply showing up, clocking in, writing code, and clocking back out. If you don't spend a single minute thinking about your job outside of work, and hopefully you do, if you're listening to this podcast, you probably do. But if you don't, then more than likely your job is going to end up staying stagnant. In other words, you're not going to move anywhere in your career. You're not going to become great at what you do. If you want to be great at what you do, it must become important to you, important enough that you're willing to go and have dinner with a coworker important enough that every once in a while, 530 is not that bad rather than leaving at five o'clock from the office. Again, this is not about spending extra time, but rather about making your career important to you. Now, it's quite possible that if you're still pushing back to this concept, you are either working at a company that you don't quite connect with you. You don't align with them 100 percent. Maybe you don't really even want to be at that company. Or the position you are in doesn't really get you excited. You're not excited about the type of code you're writing or maybe the people that you're working with in a particular project or something like that. When you're working at a company you align with doing the kind of work you enjoy more often than not, the concept is staying an extra hour or meeting with coworkers outside of the office. It really becomes a natural part of your life. Now, of course, the important thing here, if you really enjoy your job, it can be very easy to spend too much time at work. I easily can stay at the office far too late and then I end up not having time to spend with my wife for exercising. I end up eating poorly if I stay at the office too late. Those are the kinds of problems that can occur if you're not careful. Now, with a child on the way, there's even more of a reason to be aware of my tendency to stay a little bit late. But if you're pushing back against that, then it's most likely something to do with your contentment at the job. So start thinking about what you can do, what you can pursue, the people that you can talk to, perhaps your boss, you can talk to your boss and let them know some of the things that you aren't content with in your job and figure out a way that you can move more towards that so that you can become a great developer. You can become great at what you do. Every employer wants to help their employees unless their company ends up failing. Every good employer wants to help their employees find what they are very good at doing and then help them do that thing. So don't be afraid to talk to your boss or your supervisor about that particular subject. But again, a number one, spend time with your coworkers outside of work. Remember that everyone is going through something different. Everyone had a different experience the day before than they had today, even. Everyone that is sitting in your office has different struggles. They have different things going on in their life that you don't know unless you get to know them. You don't know unless you have a personal relationship with those people around you. So once again, number one, the first commitment to cultivate in 2017, spend time with your coworkers outside of work. Now we're going to take a quick sponsor break to talk about today's sponsor, Linode. If you have other plans for 2017 on top of what we're talking about in today's episode, for example, if you want to create your own website for your personal brand or maybe you want to create a service, you want to build some kind of experience with SysAdmin work. Linode is a great option for those learning opportunities, especially for younger developers because Linode starts at $10 a month and they're providing a $20 credit. If you use the code Developer Tea 20 at checkout, you get $20 credit. So over the course of 2017, if you've got a hundred bucks to invest in your career, go and check out Linode. You're going to have a server and SSD-based server in the cloud. It runs on Intel E5 processors and of course they have eight data centers. You probably know this. If you've been listening to Developer Tea, Linode has been sponsoring us for quite a while now. So a lot of these numbers, you've probably already heard before, but they are still good numbers. So two gigabytes of RAM, for example, that's the base plan on one of these servers. If you're looking to get a server up and running in the cloud, whether it's for your personal project or for a large scale project, go and check out Linode. The spec.fm slash Linode, don't forget to use the code Developer Tea 20. Check out for $20 worth of credit for Developer Tealisteners. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So we're talking about three commitments that you can make in 2017, three commitments to cultivate in 2017. The first one we talked about was spending time with your coworkers outside of work. We're going to talk about the next two. Number two, do extraordinary things for the people around you. This sounds a lot like number one. Spend time with your coworkers outside of work, but this is not just for your job. This is not just for the people that you even necessarily have a personal relationship with. Perhaps the most fulfilling parts of life are those where we spend time, energy, money, and effort on other people without expecting anything in return. While I try not to push too many personal opinions on this show aside from things that are kind of founded in research or something while I try not to do too many personal opinions on values on the show, there's one thing that I believe very strongly that I will portray on this show. And that is that selfishness in your career or really selfishness in life takes you nowhere. It takes you nowhere. Secondly, it's easy to become accidentally selfish. Now I don't want you to feel bad about this, but I want everyone to take a moment and think about this. It's easy to become accidentally selfish because most of our lives we can really spend just kind of looking at our screens. And before we know it, we haven't really done anything to connect with or help the people around us. And we're not saying that this is going to skyrocket your career. In fact, there are many opportunities that will come to selfish people that won't come to non-selfish people. And there's plenty of advice that tells you to look out for number one, so to speak. But the truth is, while selfishness could land you a job title or maybe some extra cash, you will always be surrounded by people. And those people, once again, as we've already said on this episode, those people are going through things that you have no idea unless you intentionally connect with them. So remember that everyone around you is facing something different each and every day. They are facing their own financial struggles, for example, their own personal and emotional situations. And the amazing thing is that as humans, we have the opportunity to help each other through the hard times. And we can also celebrate the good times together. Now, maybe difficult, perhaps you're listening to this episode and you're trying to figure out why we're talking about giving things away or being generous on a development podcast. It seems a little bit misplaced. I'm sure, especially if you're early in your career. But to see how this perspective can pay off, if you take the time to practice generosity and humility and do it for the course of the year or even if you just do it for the course of a month, I think you will be surprised by how fulfilling and how exciting it can be to help other people, to give to other people and to celebrate with other people. Really, this is about connecting with those around you instead of just being heads down and having that the selfish attitude or the looking out for number one attitude. And this isn't about just giving money to charity and it's not just about helping the disenfranchised or those who are in need. This is also about connecting with the people around you and being generous even to those who may not necessarily be deeply in need. The reality is you can have plenty of money and have a very strong need for someone to simply connect with you in a conversation. Take a moment to move your eyes up from your screen and onto the people around you. I can nearly guarantee that you will not walk away thinking, man, I wish I could get that time back or man, I wish I hadn't given that money, bought that thing, bought that person that lunch. Instead, you're going to walk away feeling fulfilled by this. So, once again, number two, do extraordinary things for the people around you. Commitment number three, take one step every day towards something you've been putting off. Take one step every day towards something you've been putting off. I want you to take a few minutes and write down two or three things, maybe a list of five things that you've been putting off. These can be any number of things that could be quite simply cleaning up the garage at your house or maybe something significantly more important. Like go for that job interview at that company you've always wanted to work for. Write down those five things. Now, this sounds like a motivational speech, but in reality, this is perhaps the most revolutionary concept that I've adopted for myself, not just in my career, but also in my personal life. If you put things off, they will simply not get done. This is almost universally true, at least for me, and very likely for you as well. A very simple example that I think kind of proves this concept. If you have a read later list, I want you to think about that list. How many articles are in that list that you've never opened? How many bookmarks are in your browser that you've never visited a second time? Most of us have emails in our inbox that have never been read. They're years old and they're still sitting in our inboxes untouched and we don't want to delete them because maybe we'll get to it one day. Books that we've bought that are sitting on our shelves, but we've never even cracked them open. All of this points to a very simple fact about humans. There's always more that we want to do than we have time to do. This is such a simple concept and hopefully you connect with this. Let me say it again, we always have more to do than we have time to do it in. So this is the challenge to you. Every single day, and if possible, every morning the first thing you do, I want you to take one significant step towards something that you've been putting off. Okay, I want you to take one significant step towards something you've been putting off. Now, the important part here is that it's not just any one thing. You're going to have to whittle down your list to the things that you really actually care about, the things that you really actually want to do. Take one significant step towards something you've been putting off. This doesn't have to be something specifically related to being a developer either, but of course, it can be. If you've been wanting to learn a new programming language, make time every morning, wake up 30 minutes earlier. The earlier in your day, you can accomplish something the more likely you are to have the mental energy to put towards that thing. But aside from the research or the proofs on this subject, this changes the way you think in a very simple way. Instead of waking up and being summoned into the office and responding to all the emails and looking through the air logs and looking at your list of tasks and picking them off one by one and then going home, falling asleep and doing it all over again the next day, you wake up with purpose and energy and confidence that you are spending your day on things that you want to do in your life and your investing time into something that you actually care about. Now, some very simple ideas of things that you may have been putting off for a while, if you have wanted to learn a skill, like a new programming language, where you mentioned this, commit to a month of daily learning on that skill in the mornings. This is probably the most common category, this idea of learning a skill, because skills are the gateway to so many other things that we can do. Maybe you've wanted to learn how to work with physical electronics. That's one of my goals, for example. Or perhaps you've wanted to learn to play the guitar. Maybe you've always wanted to learn a particular foreign language, or maybe you just want to become a great cook. Maybe you've always wanted to accomplish a particular milestone, for example, run a marathon or hit some other physical goal, or maybe you've wanted to develop a habit, like regular prayer or meditation. Maybe you want to start a podcast, or write a book, or a blog, or spend time with your coworkers, like we said, in the first commitment. Some goals may even be things that you want to quit, like smoking. Whatever your goal is, I want you to recognize a few things about this goal. There's no one in the world who has this goal for you, but you. No one, therefore, can care about your goal as much as you do. That means the person with the most power to accomplish your goals is you. The only person who can do the things that you've been putting off, that's you. If you don't take action to accomplish these goals, they will end up on the read later list. Now, here's the interesting and perhaps the most complex part of today's episode. That is combining number two with number three, specifically doing extraordinary things for the people around you and not having a selfish attitude, combining that with taking one step every day towards something that you've been putting off. Sometimes it may feel like to you that you are being selfish by doing the things that you've wanted to do forever, or somehow that you are taking away from other people. Now, everyone you encounter wants something from you, and our brains kind of encode that as something poor, as something negative. But this doesn't mean that the people around you who are asking you for things are bad or somehow your enemy. The truth is, all of us have goals that require the help of other people. Few people expect that by asking you for the thing that they're asking for, that they could be taking away your ability to accomplish your own goals. Because your goals, once again, are yours. You're the only one who can care as much about your goals as you can. So, as you move forward with your own goals, you will realize that you also need others to help you achieve the things that you want to achieve. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that everyone else's requests for your time must come first. This isn't valiant or even helpful to you. And really, in the long run, it's not helpful to them. In fact, in the long run, this perspective can damage your career. It can damage your personal life, and it will damage your mental health. The interesting thing is that you will most likely find that even when you put your own tasks, your own things that you've put off, you have that list of five things, even when you take one of those things and put it first in your day, you can still be very productive on the things that are being asked of you to do otherwise. Once again, the three commitments to cultivate in 2017, number one, spend more time with your coworkers outside of work. Number two, do extraordinary things for the people around you. And number three, take one step every day towards something you've been putting off. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea today. I hope today's episode was inspirational to you. And I hope that as you move towards the end of the year and into next year, that you'll think back to this episode and use it as kind of a point of inspiration and driving you to be intentional about connecting with other people, about helping out other people, about giving to other people, being more generous, and also pursuing the things that you've always wanted to do. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. Of course, it's a little bit longer than average, but I really appreciate you sticking around. Thank you again to today's awesome sponsor, Linode. Remember, you can get $20 worth of credit on a Linode server by using the code Developer Tea 20 at checkout. Spec.fm slash Linode. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.