Friday, December 31, 2010

What I Learned This Year

I have many people to thank for what I've learned this year. What I learned on my own pales compared to what I learned from others. I decided to list those learnings out, as they come to me, in chronological order.

I learned how much there is to learn from others. Through conversations and working together, through friendship and mentorship, I gained valuable knowledge and insight from Lyssa Adkins, Tobias Mayer, Giora Morein, Lee Devin and Amy Feinberg, Mike Cottmeyer, and Jesse Fewell. 

I have learned how great a group of like-minded people can be, effective and humble, knowledgable and open-minded, being fortunate to work at Rally. I learned from the first coaches I observed: Ann Konkler and Aaron Sanders. I learned from those I trained with: Alan Atlas and Ronica Roth. From those who've coached me: Rachel Weston and Jean Tabaka. And from the incredible peers on topics from what it means to be a coach, the agile enterprise, lean start-ups, agile games, retrospectives, kanban, and on. I have been continually surprised at how much they know and the quality of who they are as individuals - Ben Carey, Isaac Montgomery, Steve Adolph, Bob Gower, Mark Kilby, Ken Cline, Rick Simmons, John Martin, Karl Scotland, Julie Chickering, and Dale Schumacher.

I have learned how much there is to learn from peers, sharing what we're doing, helping each other, challenging each other in a peer coaching circle with Dan Diep, Travis Morgan, Sarina Huber, and Tyrone Salters.

I learned about skill and craft and different viewpoints and passions from working with David Lokietz, Jonathon Golden and Kiran Thakkar.

I have learned personal insights, and about change, friendship and community from mentoring and the small group at my church - Jim Fredericks, Brad Nichols, John DePaola and Don Saladin. 

I have learned that there's always more possible, both in myself and in others.

I have learned that being pleasantly surprised is a mindset.

I have learned that what's possible (or impossible) is really a decision of how hard you're willing to try.

I have learned that making a difference is about people and conversations, over working up an elaborate plan or breakthrough idea.

I learned the gift of giving to others without expecting (or even ability) to return the favor.

I have also learned, albeit with more difficulty, of receiving without the ability to return the favor.

I have learned that great change often takes a lot of work. Especially in me. 

I have learned that giving honest feedback takes courage and trust. It is much easier said than done, but does get a little easier with practice. And, it is a gift -  it's not about me and how I feel when giving the the feedback, but about them and wanting their best for them.

I've learned that growth is an investment, and I'm responsible for it. There is no "ideal time" when it comes (or starts) easily.

I have learned that real change can come about when I seek out other like-minded people and share a vision that benefits them. 

I've learned, again, that there is no antidote for the weariness of life like a shot of support and encouragement from a friend. 

Amidst all the work, and travel, and companies, and conferences, I have learned that my wife and daughters are my most precious items in life. Working on learning in that area is my top goal for 2011. :-)

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