Stepping out into the wild and staying there.

Apologies for the lack of activity since the summer. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped blogging or contributing towards the Tableau community, in fact you can read and listen to some of it here and here. While you are at it, please visit the rest of the blogs on the InterWorks page, special mention to Deep Dive series as they are well put together by Robert Curtis.

As it’s customary, most people use the days leading up to the new year reliving the previous 12 months and using their time to reflect on their successes. It often leads to their goals and resolutions for the new year. I don’t have resolutions as I think they are often too short lived and I rather avoid the disappointment and the questions from friends. That doesn’t mean I go aimlessly into 2018 without a clue as to what I want to do and achieve.

2017 was a year marked by change, I moved to a new role at InterWorks after 6 1/2 years at my previous job. No matter how much prep you do beforehand, but companies operate differently and people are different, which means adapting is tough and you stop and scratch your head more times than you care to admit. I’m lucky to have friends and a supportive spouse who push me outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis meaning I get to grow a little each and every time. At the same time surrounding yourself with interesting, intelligent and curious people means that if you are willing to, you will learn new things every day.

The opposite is true, you can live your life like Aaron Burr and wait for things to change, playing it save or resting on your laurels. Another way to put it, is that you can keep playing the game the same way you’ve always done.

Here’s an example; I often get asked by clients to show them an example of a time when I created a dashboard for x industry or segment. That often saddens me for two reasons. The 1st one being that if you are working for hospitality and just want to see work from hospitality as a vertical, you may miss some novel ways to look at data being developed in the retail sector. As above, learning from others and other industries is always valuable. The second reason is that it feels like providing second class service if I’m only being asked to repeat what I’ve done in the past. I strive to be better every time and repeating a previous design or pattern won’t do that. I think it to be much more valuable to create something bespoke for the case in hand rather than doing a copy paste job.,

That mentality has served me well in 2017, and I intend to keep at it in 2018, stepping out into the wild and staying there. Keep pushing to be better every time and outdo the previous work. I spend little time dwelling on previous achievements, preferring to focus on the objectives ahead of me. In years past I probably would have written a long list of goals to meet in the new year, nowadays I still write lists of goals, but they are much more fluid. They are movable pieces I get to align and change at will. This means that while I know the various things I want to focus in 2018, I also know that by sheer nature of my work and my curious nature I will end up dedicating time to other pursuits and looking at things in different ways than I do now. I also follow advice I heard at the Tableau Conference, where Stephen Dubner talked about quitting and not worrying about the backlash. As an example, just because in your new year resolution you’ve written that you’d learn French, but 3 months into it you find that you can’t stand the language, there’s nothing wrong in quitting and move on. Your energy is better spent elsewhere.

As the year draws to a close and you start writing those goals down, give yourself the option to move and change them if you want to. Avoid treating those goals as stuck in stone and allow yourself to be in charge of your own growth.

Thank you for reading, and here’s to a successful 2018.

David

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