Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category
Thank you Microsoft for all of the amazing memories, friendships and a lifetime worth of learning about business, technology and perhaps most importantly, a lesson on how to work together with others to achieve a common vision. It’s funny how the skills I learned in grade-school about how to cooperate and work well with others ended up being the most important ones in my career.
I joined Microsoft over 13 years ago – as an intern. Towards the end of my internship, I was given the offer to join full-time. After exploring some other career options, I figured what the heck – Microsoft would be a great place to spend a couple years (at most!) before going to get my MBA. I never imagined that a 20 year old would be given so much responsibility anywhere else. I accepted! The MBA never happened. I was learning a ton on the job and fell in love with Seattle and the company. What I thought to be a short stint turned into much more.
During my career I worked on mergers and acquisitions, new business models, product naming and branding, pricing, market research, product planning and finally, business planning for our retail channel. I’ve traveled the world, met with Fortune 500 companies and CTOs, worked as an individual contributor and been a manager of several different teams. I worked on line of business software, productivity software, enterprise services, consumer services and operating systems. I couldn’t have asked for a more broad-based and educational experience.
I can say without question that happiness in the workplace is directly related to the person you work for. A boss means everything. I’ve been lucky to have many world-class managers. Thank you to my past managers: Paul, Marc, Jason, Jenna and Bernardo. You gave me the latitude and flexibility to do my work as I saw fit and apply my own creativity, with just enough guidance to stave off disaster. You looked out for the business and also for my own well-being. Thank you for that.
I am leaving Microsoft to travel the world, see the American country-side and witness my life through a different lens. I’m not leaving to join any other company – as most people would think. I don’t have a startup idea or some other business venture on the side. I am simply resigning to do something now that I thought I wouldn’t be doing until after I retired.
Most importantly, I am lucky to have the chance to go on this great adventure with the most special person in my life – my wife Alison – before kids or further obligations come into the picture. For my entire adult life my identity has been largely defined by Microsoft and the Seattle area. Aside from heights, the only thing that scares me is the idea of living a life wondering “what if…” I’m going to find the answer to that question.
So here I go. I’m going to spend the forseeable future (a year? maybe more?) living a different type of life that is free of daily work, and full of whatever else comes to mind. Some days will be great, others will be tough. This vagabond style of life is not going to be forever, but it is the right thing for now. As a 34 year old, I have many more years of my life left to work (and plan to!).
For now, it is time to get my but out on the road while I am healthy and able.
You can follow our exploits at www.raviandalison.com.
Last weekend I attended an Unarmed Self Defense workshop, conducted by Insights Training. The last time I hit anyone was in tae kwon do class when I was 10 years old. I figured it would be a good idea to learn how to hit and defend myself at a basic level. I also heard great things about the training and figured it would be a good use of a weekend. I was right.
The workshop was two full days and was mostly drill-focused with partners. Hardly any time was spent sitting in chairs. We would learn a technique for defending/attacking and then carry it out multiple times with multiple opponents. We covered a variety of grabs and attacks – both standing and on the ground. We also learned how to de-escalate verbally and through body language. The culmination of the day was a full force attack against a trainer in a specially designed attack suit. During breaks the trainer would tell stories and answer questions to teach new material.
The most important learning for me was a new mindset (one of preparedness and a desire to protect what matters most) and a firm understanding of my rights to protect what is important to me. Mindset is even more critical than fitness, equipment or skill. Personal safety is not something I have spent much time thinking about so this weekend definitely opened my mind to a whole new world and how to deal with it effectively. If you are in the Seattle area I highly recommend taking this training.
- Each of us are really the Great Self
- We deny this because we don’t “feel it”
- We are frightened of feeling it
- We develop a method of practice of putting off feeling it
- We think we need to suffer and be worthy of being our Great Self
- All of this is just postponement, because we are afraid to see it in the here and now
- Suffering is something we (falsely) think we need to do to achieve enlightenment
- Suffering has nothing to do with realization of the Self
- Realization of the Self is just about “coming off it” (it being our own perceived model of the world)
- A guru/teacher is always saying to you “what are you doing? what is your game?”
- A guru/teacher has many methods of helping you see the reality of who you are
- If you have a thin shell, it can be easy for a guru/teacher to help you
- If you have a thick shell, it can be tougher
A simple but very important question to ponder, particularly for those of lucky to have “enough”.
Last month I participated in my second Date With Destiny experience. This is a program led by Tony Robbins that focuses on identifying the core values driving you today, the new values you want to live by and using this new “inner compass” to direct your life in an even more fulfilling manner. There was a lot to take in over the six days, but one distinction that I came away with is that we control the meaning of our lives (past, present and future).
No matter what.
No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what troubling conditions we are dealing with in the present, and no matter how potentially bleak the future looks; we can create our own meanings from the experience and either use it to empower ourselves or cast ourselves as a victim.
In the same way that one person could love a day full of bright sunshine and another could cower with fear of getting sunburn, so it is that we can define how we react to situations, memories and possibilities in a way that serves us or in a way that doesn’t.
I just built a little raised bed in my yard.
I needed more space to plant greens (I eat a TON of them!) and this part of my lawn was already destroyed from overgrowth and pine needles that killed off the grass.
It was a simple little project, just arranging some rocks, adding soil and planting seeds (all organic!) – but it feels good having done it. Building things with your hands isn’t about doing something cheaper or better, it’s about the sense of accomplishment and pride that can only come from creating something from scratch – by yourself.
What are you building?