For most of my life I’ve been more of a content consumer than a content creator. I never saw the point of writing blogs that nobody read, nor did I ever really want to create anything for people to critique and consume. For some reason though, this year I challenged myself to change that. Maybe I hadn’t ever tried because I didn’t think myself knowledgeable enough, or maybe I hadn’t ever tried because I was tied-up watching Netflix or playing PS4. But what was really keeping me from producing more was a lack of personal reflection, also known as being busy.
I’m very, very good at keeping busy. In fact, I feel restless when I don’t have something scheduled for myself to be doing at any given time. The older I get though, the more I realize that it’s important to slow down and reflect on the world around you. Even more so, it’s important to reflect inwardly on yourself. Am I being who I want to be? Am I headed where I want to go, and am I doing things that will take me there? I used to hear people say that a ship with a compass that’s off by just a few degrees at the start will be off course by miles soon enough. You could also say a ship whose captain doesn’t keep a watchful eye on the course of the ship will find them selves miles off course soon enough. While that might be a bit over dramatic for the context of this blog, it’s true. Part of who I want to be and where I want to be involves being productive and not getting stuck in an infinite Netflix binge loop.
Maybe a couple months ago now, Paul Straw messaged me on slack and asked if I wanted to do a podcast. Initially I thought about how many thousands of podcasts are out there — how could we possibly get listeners, and why would those listeners care anything about what we have to say? It would have been easy to pass on the opportunity — I’m not the brightest thinker, smoothest speaker, or the most talented programmer after all, but before I could do that I saw my fingers typing the word “Yes”. We pulled together some ideas, made a couple of pilots, and sent them off to my friends Bryn and Sarah from Spec.fm. They had some very encouraging things to say, and then they sent it out for a few more people to listen to. Fast forward a few weeks, and suddenly we’re releasing Does Not Compute, the fourth podcast in the Spec lineup. It would have been much easier just to say no, but I’m glad I didn’t.
If you find yourself in a similar position right now and are looking for an excuse to start producing more, here it is. Additionally, I’ve made a short list of things that I’ve learned so far on this journey, and hopefully they’ll be of use to you. They certainly have been for me.
- Don’t worry about being the best, but always do your best.
- Don’t worry about always being 100% correct, but always do your homework (you’re a human after all).
- Don’t worry about what others might think of your efforts. It’s easier to focus on 1 bad review than 10 good ones.
- Remember that people that you look up to and might compare yourself to started in the same position.
- Be consistent.
- Prioritize time for personal reflection.