You drive looking through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror

I have a pretty dedicated morning routine. Each day, I wake up, meditate for 20 minutes, grab a cup of coffee, then spend the next 45 minutes to an hour working on something productive. This morning, that was writing this post, but generally it is time spent studying a technical topic for work. Yesterday, I looked at the books I have on my coffee table and left them to open up the course I’ve been working through, on Serverless. Within minutes, I felt like I was wasting my time, yet I couldn’t convince myself to stop watching the videos and pick up the Devops Handbook, or a number of other topics I currently find more pressing. Something was holding me back.

For a little history…a little over a year ago, I took on the role of Engineering Manager, leaving my life of day to day coding behind. Yesterday, was my first day as Director of Development, even further cementing the fact that I’m now in “management”, and no longer a “developer”. For anyone who has made this move, it’s kind of a terrifying change. For so long, your job has been to get deep and write the software. Now, your job is to assemble teams and enable others to do that work. I think I was a “pretty good” developer. I’m passionate about technology and I love the software industry. But, even though I was pretty good at writing code, I have always been great at seeing the bigger picture and being the go between for business and engineering.

Back to the story. I’m sitting here yesterday and I have the realization that I’m wasting my time. I have so many things on my agenda, but I’m taking hours and hours of that time to work on something that is not urgent and frankly, not that important. Why? Because I was afraid. I spent so much time identifying with being a developer that I wasn’t sure how to let go and fully embrace my life as a manager. In that moment, I saw how I’m holding myself back by not looking forward. It was if I was driving down the road while looking through the rear-view mirror. So yesterday, I made the decision to look ahead and fully embrace whatever the future holds. Admittedly, it’s scary. The security of what I have known is inviting, but no one makes real progress from their comfort zone. There is only so much time and we have to choose where to put that time. We also have to leave room for the aspects of ourselves that nurture our spirit. For me, that is a focus on self actualization, being the best version of Mark I can possibly be, For me that consists of mostly meditation, study of Buddhism and spirituality, and cooking. I was so worried about the fear of the future that I was neglecting some of the things that matter just as much as my “job”. So yesterday I made the decision to let go of the fear and embrace what comes; to give myself the space self love to fully be who I am and spend the time on the other things in my life that matter.

Are you driving forward while looking through the rear-view mirror?

One thought on “You drive looking through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror

  1. Fantastic analogy, Mark — so many of us are driving while looking in the rear-view mirror. Hats off to you for realizing that, and for having the self-awareness to embrace change.


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