They've all taught me to reflect not only on what happens at the end but what has happened and what is happening with your life. It continues to teach me to be thankful for today and what you do and who you are today... you don't know how long you have or how good will the remaining time be.
Prospero: Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158
I love Jonathan Fields and the way he has pivoted from Career Renegade to The Good Life Project. He has always challenged me to think and push beyond what I thought possible. I don't know if the podcast hit me hard because of how good things are going or if it's a look at why things are going so well.
Just so I can save you from going to other posts. I got a job at Google starting next Monday. To put this in context: 10 days ago I applied for a position through Udacity and a staffing agency, Wednesday I get an email from the hiring manager and have a phone interview and send examples of my Github repositories, Tuhrsday I'm told we're moving forward.
Skip to today and I get a call from the staffing agency and he also confirms that this is moving forward. So I guess it's true then... unless something catastrophic happens this is actually moving forward.
The job itself is just as important as the thoughts it triggered. It has taken me a while to process but it boils down to this: How bad you want something? and how much are you willing to do to get it?
It didn't dawn on me until I was at Red Rock as to what's involved in the accomplishment that the job means. They looked at my writing samples I attached to my resume, they looked at Github repositories that I had created for personal projects... and much to my surprise they liked it!
I don't always admit to this but a lot of the people who I know in the web development business are better than me and are more charismatic than I am and they do a better job in front of an audience than I do and they are overall better. I have strong feelings of inadequacy when I talk to Rob or Jake or Eric... I feel like a complete fraud and I don't like that feeling. It also feels like I'm never going to accomplish joining their ranks or the Dev Rel team at Google or any front end job anywhere.
It's like the image below. You're comparing your inside with their outside and it's not a fair comparison to yourself and it may not obviously apparent what the inside of others holds and how they have evolved through it or, sometimes, in spite of it.
But you know what? I've also gotten better at what I do... I've been working on web stuff and writing about web stuff really hard over the past 3 years (ever since I left FireEye) and it's starting to show... I finished in 3 days a project that would have taken me weeks if not months to complete when I started in '13.
I've spent countless hours working, learning, polishing, sharing, polishing some more and then releasing it to the world. When I first started seriously writing on The Publishing Project I conciously chose not to monetize it... I wanted to keep the joy fresh and the skills sharp without having to change what I wrote because of who was funding it. I also felt self concious and with a severe case of impostor syndrome... I still do some times.
Yet I pushed forward. I kept working on it and I've slowly but steadily improved. I still get the random stranger who favorited a tweet with one of my posts, I still get referenced in other peoples' project and ideas. Yet I have to continually remind myself that this is an ongoing process... when you think you're done is when you're dead, both figuratively and literally.
Derek Sivers spent 15 years polishing his voice to where he became a good singer, despite what other people told him about not being good, about writting songs and getting a good singer to take his place. He pushed through all the negative criticism and reached his goal... something like what I feel I'm going through with this.
The flip side is the deceptive question Jonathan Fields asks: What If Nobody Was Looking? Would be continue doing what we do if we were the only ones to see the product? Once upon a time I decided that yes, that putting it out there was more important than seeing other people read it. You know what? One thing led to the other... I don't think I'd be pinching myself and excited beyond belief without the coding and writing I've done or the people I've met along the way.
So go back and keep asking yourself how bad you want this? why is this important to you? How will this change your life for the better? It all boils down to what's your internal motivation to do this. Why have you thought about changing careers and then stayed put in the field where you've been for the lasst 18 years?