A fresh new year is here, the holiday fog is lifting, and many of us have recently-edited lists of resolutions and goals. What if we not only looked forward to improved selves, but also to a better world?
Most resolutions are pointed inward. A quick glance at mine proves that point: I’m going to get outside more, get back into running, become more proficient with Docker, and write more. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of value in personal improvement. But what if instead of having just inward-focused resolutions we turned outward as well? What if we looked at how we could make positive impact in the community?
If I apply this thinking to my personal goals I could say, “Not only am I going to get outside more, but I’m going to encourage my kids to bring friends with us on hikes.” I’d be proud to give a group of kids the opportunity to get out of the city and into the woods. I could add a new completely selfless resolution: volunteering at the new STEM lab at our local school. My small actions would then have impact on many people.
How would looking outward change my professional goals? Not only could I say I want to become an expert with Docker, but I could challenge myself to share that info with my team. I could focus not only on my work, but also offer to pair with other Docker noobs and give advice on code check-ins. Maybe I could even muster the confidence to contribute to Docker itself. I could also look past my current list and have a selfless work goal: to help a junior dev over the hump of getting to the next level.
Resolutions and goals are powerful. They help drive us. By adding an outward impact we are multiplying the effect of our hard work.
My challenge to you is this: For each inward resolution you set, set an outward one. Let’s see what happens. Let’s make this a kick-ass year.