I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I recently was on my daily commute and as always I use that time to get up to speed on the new episodes of all the podcasts I subscribe to. Anyways I was listening to HANSELMINUTES and a specially interesting episode:
I would highly recommend it but what really struck me was this idea of sharing our learning process. Nobody is an expert on day one and the path to master a specific topic as we all know it, can be a roller-coaster and you are guarantee to fail, but failing fast and in the open can accelerate your recovery and better yet, motivate or encourage others to communicate their own discoveries and save you from taking a route they already proved it wrong.
Let’s comeback to this in a second.
In the same week that I came across this episode, I read a post by Joel Hooks where he states exactly:
My blog is a digital garden, not a blog
What a great point of view!!! I got remind it of the article when Hanselman mentioned it on the show (What are the odds!!!) and then, a lot of others moments started to surface:
I could not find the tweet but basically someone shouted:
Share your knowledge, even if is wrong, wrong gets spotted quickly, fixed, corrected and everyone learn, ambiguous content for fear to be mistaken is worst than a virus and gets spread quickly.
There are also a lot of tweets from seniors developers admitting they google every day for the most basic things and there is nothing that I appreciate more that seeing someone I look up to, struggling with the same type of issues I do and without hesitation googling it, solving it and moving forward.
I attended last year (when we could all travel) to the Caribbean Developer Conference and there was a specific talk that also resonated with me:
Here, Heather makes the argument that letting yourself being seen will become an asset and why you should embrace it. One of her slides had in big letters: Working Hard is not Enough.
My point here is simple, not everyone has the same circumstances, privileges or opportunities so comparing yourself with others is a recipe for frustration, go at your own pace but realize that we all deal with impostor syndrome at some point but the way to fight it is standing up, and one step at a time.
I could continue but I think we are at a point where we should give some order to this puzzle.
- Learning in Public
- Sharing your Knowledge
- Be Visible
- Working Hard is not Enough
- Impostor Syndrome.
Learning in Public
I have never learned more that when I have struggled to understand a concept, that when I have failed horridly, or when dealing with a really complicated project. I have been stubborn and not wanting to ask or I believed my question is too simple and I would look bad if I ask but the reality has proven me, that most of the time, people are willing to help and probably they had the same question when they started it, that is why pair programming is so valuable, the learning process is a million time faster when you are unapologetic for not knowing, admit it, read, ask, share and you will be up and running in no time, and also pass the knowledge, there is no best way to learn that teaching.
Sharing your Knowledge
Create a blog, do a YouTube video, a podcast, share your experience, you might think: I don’t know enough but the truth is there is always someone who will benefit from your experience. Did you create a project where you struggle a lot? I guarantee there is another developer dealing with your same issue, how about that article that finally helped you overcome your problem/bug/obstacle. Well you could be the author for the next developer.
But it is a lot of work, and I am putting myself out there. Yes, but even if there are always risks, first don’t apologize or feel bad for your mistakes, learn from them. Second, the rewards is soo sweet, wait for you first email where someone thank you for your post (best feeling in the world).
I would give you two more reasons:
- Best Marketing Strategy for getting new projects
People can’t contact you, hire you or propose new projects to you if they don’t know your skills or your passion.
Lastly, if I still can’t convince you to start gardening on your own blog, at least participate on Conferences, seminars, virtual events, go, do it, then comeback, was it worth it? 🙂
I do like confident people, opinionated people, I don’t always do what they state but I like their security, people who believe in what they are telling you, people passionate. There is nothing more contagious than them and it spreads fast. Short story, I breath and live XAF and XPO and since I started pushing to grow the community I have been amazed for the response, XAFers from any part of the world reach out to me with the same spirit, with the same push and also with a lot of new point of views, I believe that collaboration has motivated me to keep moving forward, to keep learning.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one was there, did it make a sound? I will say definitely, but who really knows. How many brilliants developers are out there and nobody knows them? Coding is important, but social interaction, networking, community, that is what takes you to the next level, so be visible, be present, be memorable.
Working Hard is not Enough
My grandfather, honest, hard working, modest, shy. You need to burst that bubble. Working hard is good but working smart, and valuing yourself, no one will do it for you. Have you guys read: Hourly billing is nuts? Working hard is important, never think otherwise but value yourself, learn to say no and choose your work, your client, your projects, it has to be a good fit both ways, at the end we spent almost more time with them than with our family. Does that sound accurate?
Do I need to say more? If you can leave with something from this post, is this, be consistent, there is nothing more powerful than that. Speed is important…. but constancy and clarity in your goals is everything…
If you know me, this is a big one, I am a big advocate for the community. We are social beings, we need interactions, and exchange, that is how we grow, how we thrive.
Now, to come back to the digital garden analogy. What I like the most is that you should not make it an obligation but a hobby, don’t get overwhelmed by it, one post a week , one post a month, no cadence, do what feels good, do you play the guitar everyday? do you garden everyday? No, just when it suits you, when it disconnects you from the world, make it an space of creativity, of organizing your ideas, a mental notebook, a digital playground, is not about everyone but you, does it have to be perfect? absolutely not, it has to be yours.
Impostor Syndrome can bite me.
Everyone has their own cognitive resources, everyone has their own limitations and more importantly, everyone has the ability to reach outside their own world and make an impact in others.
When you think you can’t, then is time to push forward.
You will be amazed.
Help people become more skillful, more knowledgeable, more capable, be a better learner, share your experience and don’t be afraid to fail, remember everyone you see in the “top”:
- Has failed repeatedly
- Has been rejected from a job
- Has deal with impostor syndrome
- Has spent a lot of hours learning
- Has not given up
We won’t either.