Thursday, June 12, 2014

How Do I Measure Success?

You know when you're really good at your craft and you have the self confidence to achieve pretty much whatever you need to within those bounds? It feel pretty good, doesn't it?! Then other times you may have some skills but little experience and so you flounder around and muddle through a task. In the end you look back at your work and think, "Hmm, that wasn't so difficult." You most likely learned something as well.
The past half a year I've been taking what few skills I have and have been stretching. Some of the experiences have been under tutelage and others have been more raw and exploratory on my own. But in each case I've looked back and been grateful for what I have learned. A single question comes to mind through these experiences. How do I measure success?

A number of months ago I switched job roles at work, slipping into a full time position for a company with whom I had been consulting for two years. The new role is completely different from anything I've ever attempted before though it's still in the same computer science discipline. I'm still learning and it seems like too slow for my own liking but incremental improvements can be seen and my efficiency is increasing. My goal is by the end of the year to be able to review and see substantial progress to the point of near total self sufficiency.

The novel writing has been a rather strange experience as it combined my imagination, some rudimentary skills in writing and then finding my way through the publishing world. I'm still navigating those waters as I'm trying to self publish and I sincerely appreciate those that have taken the leap and read the novel (s) and for those that have just tipped the jar by purchasing a book they may never crack open. Understanding how each platform works and the different formats available for publishing has been a real eye opener as well. But the process I went through in creating, garnering feedback both from the cheerleaders and the critics and then, in a vulnerable way, put it out onto the market has been incredibly liberating. And just when I thought things were a little smooth on the publishing front, my good mother discovered several issues with the published version out in the wild. Thanks Mom! A new version will be coming out soon.

Lastly, I've been able to express my love and appreciation for some dear friends through serving them. At times I wonder who is serving whom as I tend to make jobs more difficult than helpful. With their move from our neighborhood, the Waldens have had several home improvement projects from painting (easy for me), to basketball standard and trampoline assembly (oh the stories on the basketball standard assembly), deck building and the latest project an outdoor shower. Let's just say that over the past couple of days Dan and I have come to the conclusion that he works more efficiently when I'm not around but he doesn't laugh nearly as hard. Home Depot on Precinct Line in Hurst may know us by our first names now as they have seen our faces far too frequent within just a couple of hours. At one point on our 'X' visit within the hour, Dan asked if I wanted another lemonade and the line from National Lampoon's European Vacation came to mind: "Look kids, Big Ben." It truly felt as though we were traveling the home improvement circular and just couldn't seem to get off and make the project stick. But with gratification over a couple days worth of work, a fully functional outdoor shower was installed. It's going to be a glorious addition to a fun party house.

So what's the point of this post? Sometimes it's just plain fun to do things when you don't have the skills to do them. Other times you just have to laugh during the journey and enjoy your friends. Other times, allow your wives to laugh at you as you make your 10th journey back to the home improvement store in a 24 hour period. And when you're the cause of maladies on a project and your friend still invites you over to "lend a hand," be grateful you have such a friend. I'd say that's how I measure success.
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