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 ūüėé

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 Рthe  knowledge Рand 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!