Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick update

Sea Salt Caramel Truffle ice cream sits there on the counter, awaiting our guests for weekly game night, and I can't have any.

But don't cry for me. I'm overweight, and that needs to change.

I started working with my friend Cynthia, a personal trainer, again this morning. I'm heading into a second round of physical therapy soon, to work on a chronic pain in my lower back and soaz. I'm dedicated to losing this weight, so giving up ice cream is easy. OK, not easy. But possible. Even when it's one of my favorite flavors.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A new chapter

I lead an amazing team. They've been through so much together over the past fourteen months. They've grown as individuals and as a family. They've learned to depend on each other, and to focus their strength to deliver some simply amazing results. I'm deeply humbled by their commitment, deeply proud to lead them, and deeply grateful to call each of them my friend.

I'm a believer in, and advocate for, strengths-based growth. I believe that, if you know your strengths, build them, and find a way to use them in the world, you're on the path to happiness and fulfillment. Building on your strengths will bring much better results than focusing on your weaknesses and trying to be as good as everyone else at everything.

I've used that philosophy to lead my team, and to mentor others. Now, it's time to apply that same approach to my own life.

This past year was challenging, but it gave me a great gift. It made me focus on what, exactly, makes me happy. On the things that bring me energy. On the activities and roles that make me jump out of bed in the morning. Over the past several months I've looked inward, and benefitted greatly from the generous advice and support from my wife, friends and mentors.

Here's what I've learned.

I love creating. All of my hobbies are creative and artistic. I love getting my hands in, to express myself and to solve problems in creative and powerful ways. That's what drew me to computer science, and that's what characterized the jobs in my career that have best strummed my heartstrings.

I love puzzles. Writing software, and especially debugging software, is an exciting and fascinating challenge. I love the moment when, after experimentation and deep thought, insight lights up the solution in my mind.

I love mentoring people. And by that, I don't mean I need someone to say to me "I'd like you to be my mentor." I mean being present with people. Being sincerely interested in their joys, fears, aspirations and trials. Being in an authentic, personal, real relationship with people, and doing my best to empathize with them, to give them advice, and to receive it from them.

So after four years as a manager, I'm going back to my roots. I've gratefully accepted an offer to return to software engineering, and to do that as part of one of the most innovative, creative teams within our innovative, creative business. I'll be writing Mac and iPad software, as part of the TurboTax Mac development team. I'm so very, very excited! I can't wait to get stuck in.

I don't regret my time as a manager at all. I've had the opportunity to lead two amazing teams, and learned a great deal about leading people, and about myself. I've formed strong relationships with all of the people on those teams. I'm looking forward to keeping those friendships healthy, and to growing them even stronger now that the necessary, but very real, distance between manager and employee is gone.

It's time for a new chapter. One I can't wait to start writing. Come on. Let's see what happens.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Time to renew

It's been ages since I posted here. It's been a challenging year for me, about which I'll post more later. My weight and blood pressure are both up, my energy level down. It's time to renew. I started today with a simple breakfast, and a couple of glasses of water, which is a good start.

Cheer me on, folks. I'm going to need your support.

Thanks in advance!