What's Your Mission?

Hey there, community. Who has two thumbs and is overwhelmed at the tremendous opportunities to learn in this modern world? THIS GUY. I love learning, and I need to learn. I get unsettled and irritable when I get complacent. But there's a downside to a glut of opportunity--the paradox of choice:

Trying to choose a path from so many options can result in, well, no choice at all. And that's not good. So to circle back to the title...what's your mission? Not what your day-to-day job-related tasks are, but YOUR mission. For me, I've been at F5 for nearly 14 years now and my mission has been to bring technology specifics and related solutions to the community in an engaging, helpful, and informative way. The mission itself isn't changing, but some of the ways in which I serve that mission are.

What I Learn

As I referenced above, there is so much I could learn, and as I have spare time, I try to at least have a high level understanding of things that cross my path. But for my interests and the interests of the community I serve on mission, I'm focusing on deepening my understanding and skill in three areas:

  • Cloud Platforms - F5 Distributed Cloud, AWS, Azure, and GCP. That's where the focus is. Not a strength for me...yet. Kubernetes as foundation, and I have a plan (thanks to internal solution architects) for tackling the certified kubernetes administrator certification. I'll write about that journey.
  • Automation Tools - $Hashicorp_tools + Ansible.
  • Python - I keep this on my list because it serves the other two and I just love it. It makes me happy. And I've been a long time novice/intermediate coder--excited to actually execute a plan to polish my skills to the point I could be a full time developer if I wanted that.

The Ways I Learn

I'm no spring chicken anymore. Until I hit my early 40s, I could pick something up, read it, and move on. That's no longer the case. I need to learn differently now. I covered some of this a while back in an episode of You Want Answers, linked here:

If I were to summarize my current learning journey in a few bullet points, they would be:

  • Consistently applying learned skills, through exercises or challenges - F5 has been awesome in that we have access to O'Reilly Learning as well as LinkedIn Learning, so there is no shortage of training materials. On the python side, I personally have subscriptions to Talk Python to Me and Real Python training, as well as Python Morsels and PyBites.
  • Scheduling distraction-free blocks for each area of skill - This is crucial. Shutting down all notifications and time when there are no family "emergencies" to take me out of deep focus time. I keep a notepad to jot down anything that pops into my head I might want to rabbit hole on so I can review later...AFTER the learning block has been completed.
  • Simplifying learning to one thing at a time - I like to take on projects that end up being way too much to grok at once. Sometimes this is good and necessary because you get a feel for how all the pieces fit together, but early on for new learning, at least for me, it's often at the expense of grasping the important nuances of the individual technologies.

So that's where I'm at, and that's my mission. What's YOUR mission?

Published Jun 30, 2022
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  • Great reminder to stop and think about what is important JRahm.

    Focus and Intention are things I've only learned to do *on purpose* in the past few years.
    Working with a coach I teased out the times I did great at something, the times I did terrible at something and looked at them closely to discover what drove great & terrible respectively.

    In my case - I was motivated, in the extreme, when I figured SOMEONE ELSE thought I would fail. I was also de-motivated when some task was overly complex, if nobody was waiting on it, and I couldn't figure out the best place to start. Those seem simple enough to understand in the abstract but recognizing when they were *happening* to me in the moment was less obvious.

    BUT...now I am exercising three things more regularly:
    * checking in regularly with my own personal goals.
    * invoking the "challenge myself" muscle such that I can mimic the extrinsic motivation I've had in the past - I can sorta make it pop from my own head without the need to have someone else doubt me AND
    * I can more often recognize the signs of when I am stalling myself out (procrastinating) and getting myself back on track more often.

    I'm still not close to 100% success on all of those activities but I'm certainly better and they almost always start with slowing down for just a second, recognizing how they look/feel as they are happening, and then, with increased intention, confirm that the action I'm about to take (or not take) is aligned with my personal goals and short term targets.

    My mission then is improving my ability to more accurately turn on, and turn off, my powers for my, and those counting on me, benefit.

  • Good stuff, LiefZimmerman! Setting goals is something I used to do consistently and got a way from. And then I got back to setting goals, but then didn't check in on them until I realized I didn't hit any of them when...setting them again. So now, like you, I'm trying to be more regular with the evaluation/reflection part of having a plan.