Lessons Learned in 2016

It’s been past the end of January 2017, so the official bucketlist post is beyond its expiry date, but who cares 😎

Truth be told, I needed to write some of the things down as a lot has happened since my last post. 2016 has been a breakthrough career-wise, as I managed to break into an entirely different industry (from Translation to Tech) and I think I can easily classify this is the achievement of the year.

Before I jump into what big plans lay ahead of me for 2017 (and they must be bigger and better as last year’s, as, you know, all that eternal-growth neurosis has caught up on me as well), let me make a recap of some of the interesting and precious lessons, relating mostly to my new work environment and field:

Communication === Value

The tech company I work for is selling WordPress themes. I am the one communicating with our clients when they need help with our products.

Technically speaking, I do technical support.

But it is so much more to it. Every exchange, even if you talk about plugin compatibility, server issues or appropriate image sizes, can also add a value of its own to that client’s experience. It has taught me to appreciate the power of communication, which I never before gave much heed.

I never focused on how I was communicating with my clients back in them translation days. My communication was formal, minimal and dry. I never wanted to take any chances by being over-personal. Needless to say, it didn’t provide any additional value to my translation services.

When I saw how much value my boss attributes to communication and how much he personally invests in it, it inspired me to learn more about it myself. As a trained linguist, I have the building blocks, why not use them to create a beautiful structure, paving way to strong relationships both personally and professionally?

This realisation is just a start of a long journey ahead, but it nevertheless seems a powerful one to me.

< = > (Less = More)

Ever since I remember, since primary school, my learning style be like:

  • do homeworks (external motivation, fear of minus points)
  • don’t learn regularly (why bother?)
  • learn 1 day before the test by following this pattern:

> inject fear of failure > increase stress levels

> increase energy levels > increase ability to learn quickly

I leveraged the value passed on from my family – the  knowledge – and used fear of not having the knowledge (=== value) as a motivating force for my learning.

This pattern has brought me more or less safely throughout all the way to the end of university.

Fast forward 10 years, I encountered a problem. I know how to sprint, but the sprint doesn’t cut it – I have to learn how to marathon, if I’m going to keep up with the life-long learning adage.

I’m not as young anymore. I have less energy, less explosive power and more obligations, e.g. obligation to support myself financially. The injected stress hormones are messing with my overall hormone make-up, and its loss of balance can have severe consequences on my health.

2017 Aspirations

I was going to write …

“Learn how to be a better coder”

“Land a junior web dev position”

“Increase web presence”

.. etc.

Instead, my goals are simple, if all-encompassing:

  • learn how to learn sustainably (which includes enough free time)
  • improve on your communication (which includes personal growth)

What is sustainable learning? Basically, learning that does not draw its motivation from external factors, e.g. praise, promotion,  reputation, browniez, fear of shame in the eyes of others, …

… but rather from within, most important question to ask are:

– Does it quench your curiosity?

– What kind of positive feelings does it inspire as opposed to, what kind of negative feelings does it prevent?

I don’t have a detailed plan yet, but I think these are the approximate guidelines to follow. Every… single….day.

What do I mean by ‘communication’?

I’m not good at communication.’ is such a lie many people tell themselves, just to avoid being put outside their comfort zones.

This year’s experience has taught me I am good at a certain type of communication and I want to continue building on that, which also includes more regular posting on this blog, where I’m eager to share the very intense and challenging learning path I set myself on, and would love to share my insights here. So …watch this spot :}

Thank you for reading and have a lovely start of the week!