2011 Lessons Learned

While looking over my 2012 goals, I realized that I hadn’t really thought about 2011. This year I want to practice regular renewal and recommitment to my goals. In the past, I achieved my goals more or less, but that wasn’t through a practice of recommitment. It was a chaotic result of my other obsessive behaviors. I am working to make this a more repeatable process this year by constantly evaluating where I am.

To that end, this is what I learned in 2011.

This year brought big changes in my professional life. Atalasoft was acquired, changing my job somewhat (more focused on product development, but with a more aggressive roadmap and bigger team). Having this focus has helped make sure we deliver our roadmap. Additionally, it has let me direct all of my energy at product management, which brought me to consuming the works of Horace DediuClay Christensen, and exposed me to the “Jobs to be done” framework, which has had a profound impact on my thinking. While trying to find out more, I met Bob Moesta, who generously spent an hour teaching me more details of the framework with plans to talk more about it.

Lesson #1: Focus allows you to make outsized gains in the area you focus on.

This year, I have found a purpose that has helped me improve my networking. Drawing from Seven Habits, I have long thought that the best “uses” of a network was to help people find each other for their mutual benefit, but I haven’t been good at thinking of ways to do that proactively.

Through my work with the local Regional Employment Board, my exposure to so many job seekers and employers, and my belief that high unemployment is the most important problem to help solve, I have set the broad goal of trying to make connections that result in hiring by myself and others. Additionally, I have blogged some practical tips about job seeking for programmers, and I tweet every good local tech job I see.

Lesson #2: A goal centered around a purpose is easier to achieve

My biggest goal of 2011 was to “get in better shape”, which I defined as having a BMI and health measurements (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) within normal ranges. I started the year trying out 4-Hour Body and trying to get back into running, but when that didn’t work, I finally joined Pioneer Valley CrossFit in June. In December, I got serious about eating better and adopted a paleo diet. I started 2011 at 180 pounds and ended at 153, with 80% of the loss after June. More than that — I am more fit than I have ever been in my life.

Lesson #3: Be willing to change tactics quickly if they aren’t working.

This year I hope that I apply these more consciously. What did you learn in 2011 that will make 2012 even better?