In this week’s episode, I explore the topic of mindshare, the things that get our time and attention. I share the ways that I’ve tried to help manage what gets my mindshare to balance my happiness and productivity.
My uncle coached youth baseball for a number of years and he left a huge impact on the way I handled myself and players when I started coaching. In this episode, I talk about how that influence has impacted my work as well.
• Give yourself the time and space to learn. There are enough stress/distractions on the playing field (i.e. at work). Kids are hearing their teammates, their parents and the opposing team. Likewise, you’ve got the voices of all of your responsibilities vying for your attention. All of these voices create a significant amount of noise and it’s very hard for signal to get through.
• Proper practice makes you prepared. The more preparation done in practice, the less there is to think about on the field. This preparation includes not only focus on technique but contingency plans and working under duress. The reason teams practice hurry-up offense and audibles is because the conditions won’t always be ideal.
• Leave the judgement on the practice field. Mechanical thinking during game time is counterproductive. My biggest flaw in golf was that I was overly focused on position during play. Instead of simply trusting the process that I’d established in practice, I was judging myself as I was doing it.
• Have fun at practice. The time you spend honing your craft doesn’t have to be dour or onerous. I grew up with coaches yelling at us with colorful language but we also had fun even as we were working hard. Make sure that you make room for that in your practice. Balance is key.
You can listen to the Cocoa Nomad Podcast on the following services:
In this week’s episode, I talk about the value in creating small things and how you can use it to increase your likelihood of success. I’ll share some of the advantages of starting small and using those wins as building blocks
When setting goals it’s important to establish boundaries to avoid negative thinking about your journey. Committing to a certain period and then evaluating afterwards is good for a number of reasons. In this episode, I talk about the importance of “finishing the season”
Streaks can serve as both a motivation and a deterrent if you’re not careful. Sometimes it pays to take that sick day. In this episode, I talk about the struggle to leverage streaks in the pursuit of consistency.
We are typically incentivized to change when we aren’t getting the results we want. We are more often to criticism and alternate methods. But what about when we receive criticism and things are going incredibly well? In this week’s episode, I talk about Tyler Perry movies and the difficulty of changing what works.
Passion is often talked about in computing as the secret key ingredient in the work that we do. The true power that separates you from the “pretenders”, the newbies that are in it for the money. It has grown louder of late as the field has grown increasingly larger and more diverse. The newbies are often decried as not being “passionate” about programming because they don’t think about it day/night. They’re not spending every spare moment polishing their code late into the night. Heaven forbid they have other interests or priorities.
That’s not what’s most important in the work that we do. I find it often used as a tool for gatekeeping, seeing those who see tech careers as a path to upward mobility as somehow undeserving. As someone who spent most of my youth doing manual labor in agriculture and the service industry, not once was my “passion” ever questioned. Other than at a pep rally for my job at Arby’s, passion was never even mentioned (people get worked up over Beef N’ Cheddars).
But you know what was questioned? My competence and commitment.
Passion is hailed as the thing that will keep you going when thing go sour or as a defense against of burnout.
It’s simply not true.
I started programming when I was 12 but I was burned out on programming a few years ago and needed a break, precisely because my passion allowed my life to get out of balance.
Passion doesn’t imply greater ability either. I went to high school with many passionate basketball players who just weren’t good enough to make the team.
And even after accounting for competence, we often assume passionate people willingly provided what’s needed by the team. There are plenty of talented and passionate running backs that are not committed to picking up the blitz. Similarly, I know many passionate developers uninterested in mentorship, even when the organization sorely needs it. You have to understand what people are specifically passionate about. They may be passionate about “their” code. Passionate developers can often be an impediment to team success, if the passion is self serving.
I live in Mexico and one of my favorite activities is taking early morning walks. I like to see people get ready for the day, watching a city literally wake up before my eyes. All the shop owners, vendors and employees, often getting ready before sunrise, so that people like me can get a coffee or tacos de canasta as we start our day. They have bills to pay and mouths to feed. I have no way to quantify their passion but I’m certain of their competence and commitment because they show up each day without fail. And I’ll take that over passion any day of the week.