As this time of year comes around I find 12/31 is always a great day for a little reflection on the last 12 months, a specific quote always comes to mind and I think its fitting as we reflect what is behind us and what is head of us.
"The past is behind. Learn from it. The future is ahead. Prepare for it. The present is here. Live it."
- Thomas Monson
Although I do set goals for the new year I tend to set desired accomplishments or achievements I want to reach for the year and set goals that will help me hit them quarterly, both personally and professionally. So I find the end of the year a great time to reflect on both the successes and failures I have experienced, because lets face it, we all have a little of both every year and prepare for what I want to gain from the new year.
12 months ago I stepped out into the deep dark unknown without a plan bigger than taking some time for my family, only knowing that it was time for something new and hoping there would be opportunity in front of me by the time I needed it. That was likely the most uncomfortable thing a conservative risk avoider like myself could have done, little did I know 7 months later I would do the next most uncomfortable thing a conservative risk avoider would do and start a business.
As I started 2018 with a very blank slate I kept my desired list of accomplishments short and within my control. I knew expanding my skills professionally was an important item for the list, after all I was going to be seeking employment at some point in the coming year so this seemed wise. I set a focus of completing several certifications and renewal of existing certifications I had ignored the last several years. You might ask why someone who has focused on management and leadership roles for the last several years of their career would be so determined to complete technical certifications. I will address this in detail in a coming article this month "To certify or not to certify? It's no longer a question!" I'll share two key points now, first I enjoy being close to the technology, its why I got into the field and why I stay, it's fun, I am passionate about it, and what it can do for the world. Second, the speed of change in our industry is going from 100 miles per hour to light speed overnight. In the coming years I believe the ability of non-technical individuals to survive in the technology industry will be exceptionally difficult, builders and engineers will lead the next phase and if you cannot keep pace you will struggle. So how did I do? I fell one certification short of my desired accomplishments. As I mentioned I set goals each quarter and as I entered the 4th quarter I made a conscious decision to delay the last certification until 2019 so I could adjust my priorities on events I could not have planned for in January of 2018. My new business needed my attention on other areas and my family needed my free time and focus for other things. So I will finish this in the first quarter of 2019, that's the benefit of making quarterly goals, flexibility to adjust your focus. I'm still proud of my accomplishment, five certifications (some of which are considered very difficult) in one year is a success in my book.
The next accomplishment was the most important, to invest in focused time with my family, the first several months of last year were the best investment I could have made. I am thankful to have had that time without interruption or distraction. The value continues to reap rewards far greater than anything I could have invested time and effort towards. So how did I do? I started off strong, but as I chose to start a new firm this summer and the demands that come with launching a business I realized that I still have some work to do on learning how to balance when I have multiple demands, I've done far better than I have in the past but I'm setting the bar high for myself and won't stop until I reach it. Failure at home will never be compensated for by professional success. I'm lucky to have a wife that supports my crazy ideas and long hours, and blessed to have a son who wants my time and attention, there will come a time when his focus will turn to other distractions and that time will come too quickly.
Next up was finding my next adventure for my professional life. I'm still humbled and grateful for the friends and a network I am not certain I deserve. The number of opportunities they opened for me was unexpected to say the least, but those situations didn't feel right at the time. I shared that journey in a previous article Do we really need another consulting firm? How I came to CloudLogic, starting a firm was a huge change in direction from what I saw myself doing next at the start of last year, my normally risk adverse approach saw me landing at another established firm or returning to my former employer in a different role at some point. In fact I would suggest that the last 12 months have been a learning curve in accepting a little more risk in order to have a little more fun and opportunity. So how did I do? I am ecstatic about where this journey has taken me, the adventure at CloudLogic has been fun, challenging, and exciting. The opportunity to write for Above the Cloud has allowed me to grow and develop. We have seen the firm begin to fill the gap in the market we believed was there. 2019 has tremendous opportunity for us and I expect it will be another exciting, fun, and challenging year.
2018 was not the year I expected, but it is the year I needed, a year I will value for me, my family, and my business. So as I close the book on another year, what is my focus for 2019? Well some of the same areas of focus will take my attention in the new year. The battle for learning and certification will rage on, there is always more to learn in this field. As I mentioned my ability to balance and provide the time and focus to the level I desire with my family will likely be a life long learning process. I have high expectations for CloudLogic and Above the Cloud this year, the momentum we carry into the year has our sights set high. We have some exciting announcements for the coming year. However to add to the list, I need to do more to invest in myself and my health, I am lucky to still have good health with all the long hours over the years. I need to ensure I maintain and improve in that category. 2018 was a great year, an opportunity to build myself, my family, and build the early stages of a business. 2019 will be a great opportunity grow what has now been built. I hope 2018 has provided each of you successes to build on and failures to learn from, and that 2019 brings you opportunities to grow, develop and meet your goals. Best of luck as we start whatever adventures lie ahead in the new year.