Letter to My Younger Self

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Just by calling this a “letter” to my younger self, I’m dating myself. It makes me wonder how my teenager would frame this concept. A tiktok video to his younger self??? A Discord message? Who knows. The medium changes, but the overall intent stays the same. The overall intent is essentially to help your younger self learn from your more experienced self.

Dear Michaele,

It is the year 2008. You are in your mid 30s, with a toddler and a busy life. Right now, you are just trying to make it through the day, and maybe get 6 hours of sleep a night. Right now, you are rushing from thing to thing, overscheduled and overtired. You like what you do, you like your coworkers and you think you are at a good spot in life – when you have 5 minutes a week to sit and reflect.

Right now, when you hear people “I love my job!” You think they are bananas. Or maybe just a bit daft. Or perhaps just being polite and choosing not to share the nitty gritty details of a job they don’t care for.

You can’t even imagine fully backing that statement: “I love my job!” Because you see it as a binary statement, all or nothing, on or off.

____________

Today is it March 3, 2021. Both of my jobs are 100% remote (you are still teaching and working full time – not a surprise, I’m sure) . There is this thing called Zoom that we all love and hate. There was a global pandemic in 2009 and another kicked off in 2019. The first one didn’t impact us much, the second has changed the world. How? You ask. We don’t know yet. A large portion of the world is still working from home – if they still have a job. This has been going on for over a year. At one time, restaurants, gyms, and hair salons were shut down. No, I am not making things up. I wear a face mask when I go out in public once or twice a week.

On the flip side, I use Zoom to talk to my friends across the word on a regular basis. Last week I was chatting with friends in Berlin. This morning, I had coffee at 8 am while recording a podcast with Arie Van Bennekum from the Netherlands. The biggest issue I have now is translating time zones as I log into meetings with people from Washington DC to San Francisco to Singapore.

Our country is still struggling with equity and inclusion. I’m not getting into the details, because it is too upsetting. Suffice to say that America did not learn from the Rodney King incident. Parts of Uptown were destroyed due to peaceful protests that turned into race riots in Minneapolis. The tragic event that sparked the Minneapolis riots also led to global protests. Yes, global.

On the work front, Agile has become a thing beyond just XP developers working with customers. CIOs are talking about Agile. Yes, really!

That toddler is now learning to drive. That still scares the stuffing out me, so I won’t mention it much here. I’m waiting for that letter from myself (our self) from 2030 to arrive and tell me the “having a teenager driving” situation cost. Not just the insurance, but also the damage to multiple cars.

So now to this moment, You/I woke up this morning an hour early thinking: “I love my job!”.

What??? You say… How could I turn into one of those people?

First, you have learned the loving something doesn’t mean you are “in love with it” all the time. Refer to the aforementioned teenager. Unconditional love allows you to weather the ups and downs, and focus on the good when the frustrations surface.

Second, you have learned that life has magic moments, but none of them are permanent. Value them. Live in the moment, because the good, bad and ugly will pass. You still live in the same house and have 2 dogs, but they are not the same dogs and you are no longer married.

Third, you have learned that you are happy and engaged when you are helping connect people to people, people to ideas and ideas to ideas. Keep doing that and find a trusted circle and a larger like-hearted community so that you can keep connecting and growing.

Fourth, you have stopped carrying the load for those around you.

Most importantly, you have distilled your learnings and hopes into a framework that can help others create a resilient mindset and approach to life.

Was it easy? No.

Am I “there yet”? No.

Am I happy? Mostly. But it is ok to not be happy every second of every day. Sometimes I take a moment to feel what I need to feel. I don’t force the emotions. Instead I listen to myself.

Do I love my job? Most of the time.

Do I love my job today? My Agile Best Self job? HELL YES! And that is what prompted me to write this. To give you some hope, some clarity and some possibility.

MIchaele – Agile Best Self Co-Creator, March 2021

Laura Madsen talks about the Magic in the Space Between

Laura Madsen

Today’s episode features data governance expert Laura Madsen. In this conversation, Laura talks about how Agile methods influenced her work, the story behind her North Star statement, and reveals some insights on how the Agile Best Self mindset lives in the space between. You’ll have to listen to the episode to learn about what that means. No spoilers!

Let’s learn a bit more about Laura:

Laura Madsen isn’t shy about her dislike for formal bios, to her they tend to come across as stuffy and disingenuous – two things Laura is absolutely not. That said, she’d be selling herself short if you knew nothing of her wealth of experience from 20+ years in data and analytics, authoring books on data governance and healthcare analytics, impassioned speeches about innovation, data governance, and the value of data in healthcare.  But what’s really important to know is that Laura spends her days helping you build programs that align with the aspirational vision of today’s modern companies with the less-than-glamorous work of data management. 

Laura co-founded the Minneapolis-based consulting firm Via Gurus to converge two of her biggest passions: helping companies define and execute successful data strategies and radically challenging the status quo. 

You can find more information about her book, Disrupting Data Governance, here. If you are a data professional that wants to up their leadership game in this space, this is a must-read.

Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

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