It has been a few years since I read (and lost) a great article on career progression and personal insight. That article helped me relax into who I am from a professional point of view, but it also challenged me.
I have been in IT for over 20 years now and in truth the first 10 years were not so great (perhaps a story for another time) but it was when I stumbled upon the vCommunity by way of Twitter and then subsequently I attended my first VMUG (in London) which completely challenged and changed my way of thinking and approach to my career. Talking to and observing peers whom I respected gave me a lot of inspiration to re-evaluate what I was doing in my career, why I did what I was doing and perhaps most importantly of all was I really being the best I can be?
However. it is fair to say this was not without its pitfalls and this is where the article I read several years ago (I wish I could find it) really helped. You can be challenged and inspired and then get exasperated by your own lack of progress when you see others whom you respect progress really well. This is where the nasty things like self-doubt can creep in and the ever-present imposter syndrome.
Then along came the article I read that really settled me, essentially (and I cannot put it as eloquently as what was written) we are all on our own career path furthermore we are all at different points on that path and finally the pace at which we are progressing is also different. Everyone is different (well of course they are but you get the point).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired and aspiring to be better and improve but having enough self-insight to know who you are, what you are capable of and what pace you can run at (at this point in time) is crucial to your own development. I have been fortunate enough to know some seriously clever and giving people whom have done nothing but challenge, inspire and encourage me. (I am calling out my fellow blogger Sam as one of the many).
It is healthy to check where you are at, “Am I moving forward?”, “Have I learned anything new?”.
Now I am very aware that you can get turned off by cliché self-improvement talk, but if you want to take control of your own career you must look at yourself first and make some decisions. “Am I the best I can be right now?”
Over a year ago I made a personal decision to find a mentor from within the vCommunity, someone whom I respected and could trust and would be prepared to challenge me on who I was and where I was at and it has been a really great experience. This was a personal decision and I would highly recommend it, you need to be teachable, but it is not for everyone and the success of having a mentor is that it is a mutual agreement.
I have set myself differing goals, short, mid and long term all of which I know are achievable rather than fantasy. Also where possible I would align this with business goals so it would then be a win/win.
In closing, I have found peace and satisfaction in my progression without fretting about how fast or where others are at and this is in my opinion critical to my success and progress going forward. It is an ongoing process and should not stop even when you retire.
If I do find the article that has in a roundabout way inspired this post, I will most certainly link it here in the future. I hope you found this article of use and please feel free to poke me on Twitter if you have any questions or feedback.