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Day 3 - Show Up & Pay Attention, Inspiration is Everywhere

Product Manager

You’ll live in an era with more technology, more formal education, and more wealth than any generation before you. With the pace of technology, you’ll get to play with things that won’t exist in generations before or after you. Inspiration is everywhere, but you’ll rarely see it if you aren’t looking for it.

Discipline yourself to routinely invest time to:

  • Find an unanswered question that excites you. There are many questions that are important to answer, even if it takes generations to arrive at the answer. Find a way to contribute! You have more power to change the world than you know.

  • Fill your time with unfamiliar experiences and learn new skills. Say yes to opportunities to do things you have no experience with, even ones you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy. Discover something new about yourself and your potential.

  • Teach other people. Share your skills! Realizing how much you’ve learned and how helpful those hard-earned bits of knowledge can be to underserved communities will open your eyes to how much undiscovered potential there is in the world.

  • Discover more things to be grateful for. When you count your blessings, take an extra moment to list out three things that had to have happened to make those things possible. The randomness and statistical unlikelihood of these things will renew your belief in the overall goodness of life.

What are your favorite memories that are exclusive to your generation?

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

Do you have an example of something awesome that’s happened, where three seemingly random or unrelated things had to happen first?

What makes YOU feel inspired?

54 Comments
Community Manager
Community Manager

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

I'd love to teach... like for a living.  Nowadays, I'm teaching in snippets - a post, an article, or a presentation - at a time.  I'd love to be able to stand in front of a room and just talk about my experiences, the places that I wasted time (I'm looking at you Myspace), the places where I should have spent more time (early days of PowerShell), and where I think people should be concentrating their time (containers).  There's an old joke that "those who cannot, teach," but I don't think that's actually the case.  I think that you get to a point when you have reached your "FULL" mark and can't fit any more in your tank, until you start teaching.

I know that I've had wonderful teachers throughout my life and my career and I hope that they each got some of the same bump that I get when I teach.  Whether it's tutoring algebra, or giving an introduction to scripting class, or just sharing my experiences in support of legal IT, each of them has elevated my understanding and allowed me to grow beyond what I was.  Personally, I'd rather help 10 people get one step ahead each in life than just me getting that one step.  Put simply: pay it forward - in kindness and in knowledge.

Thanks Charlcye​ for sharing this great starting point!

Level 10

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

When will I reach 1.000.000 THWACK points?

Will it be before the first man lands on Mars?

Level 15

What makes YOU feel inspired? 

everything.....

I get inspiration from so many sources, from the commitment an dedication my wife shows in her job, to people doing simple acts of kindness.   Its all around us everyday we simply need to be aware of the life going on around us.  I love my job, so I do tend get get inspired to do a good job simply out of the fact I love what I do.  

MVP
MVP

So often people view everything from the angle of "what's in it for me." Once we begin to look at what we can bring to others our purposes will become more apparent.

Level 10

Great words.    I wish I would have learned more server build and configuration and trying to play catch up.    I have been recently filling role of Project Manager and want to get back into more of technical aspects.   Looking into improve my own value as well take that value and give to others via training.

Level 13

"Teach others" as they will be you one day.

Level 14

1. Teaching others rings true for me. My younger self benefitted from 2 mentors who help guide and push me forward. (Thank you Frank and Bruce). I am paying it forward now!

2. Be a sponge .... see all .... learn more..

3. Be grateful for the chance to do what we do... it's never boring and there's some much to learn!

Lastly, be generous with your time.... Generosity never goes unrewarded.

Level 7

Thank you for the interesting questions.  I think it is important to realize the numerous things we should be grateful for, and these questions will help me discover more.

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

I wish I could go back to university and teach a class on 'The Next Steps in Your Career'... let's call it LAUNCH101. I've watched so many peers from school, who had so much potential, squander it away by working low-level positions. You can do so much more than that! I was one of the lucky few who figured this out and I wish I could go back to that school and share my experiences.

Level 13

This article described where I currently, except with an open ended direction.  Right now I have a bit more opportunity to choose which direction I am going.  I've found that following that learning, teaching, and growing is a constant process that will never end, so long as you are driven and focused on being the best that you can be.  Personally, I need to work on taking more initiative on deciding which direction I want to go and forging the path there.  I've done so to get me to where I am today but with freedom and opportunity, comes accountability to myself in getting to my next goal.  Thanks for the article!

Level 12

Our kids and family could always use more time from us.

I'm intentional about making time for my wife (date night on a weekly basis), and the kids.

Level 14

What are your favorite memories that are exclusive to your generation?

The Lunar landing on July 20, 1969.  Talk about the things dreams are made of.

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

My grandchildren.  I look back fondly on long conversations I had with my grandfather.  He would challenge me with questions that made me think, like why is the sky blue and why do we see the lightning before you hear the thunder.  What I wouldn't give for a few more hours of his time.

Level 9

I have also made a commitment to have a better work/life balance.  I think this is overlooked too often in America.  In many cases, work because our primary purpose in life.  I always try to remember my priorities:  God, family, then work.  In that order.

Level 11

Teaching others always make me feel better. Being able to pass on my knowledge of what I have learned to assist others to move forward is a great feeling. I have worked with those that lock everything up and that helps no one. Don't be worried about training someone to replace you. If you are worried about that your not doing your job. If you are doing your job you have nothing to worry about. Train others it will only help you.

Level 10

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

  • Who really killed JFK?
  • Is there life outside of the Earth?
  • Will we be able to make interstellar travel possible?

What are your favorite memories that are exclusive to your generation?

A: Generations overlap so that is hard to pinpoint. My favorite technological advancement during my lifetime is the introduction of cable TV to the home. Remember the "information super highway?"

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

A: Is there other life out there? Has other life visited us before? Do we get to see the techer's edition, so to speak, and see the all the answers when we die?

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

A: Interns, newbies into IT Support. Those who find it challenging handling stress or difficult customers. In my early days I intentionally chased after the difficult customers to challenge myself. I

Do you have an example of something awesome that’s happened, where three seemingly random or unrelated things had to happen first?

A: This is a very tough question. I will have to get back to you. I am sure I have plenty of examples for the opposite of awesome. lol

What makes YOU feel inspired?

A: I'm a process junkie. I love routine and that is where I am most comfortable. Not to say that I don't love exploring new opportunities. When I came to this company 8 years ago I quickly realized that the infrastructure was in a woeful mess (I don't manage any of it). I quickly took responsibility of SolarWinds "monitoring" and worked with the manager to begin enabling SNMP, WMI and syslog on devices. All of a sudden all of the alerts started flowing in. All of these problems that were there all along were now on the surface and recognizable. Action Plans were prepared to address them. Things got better. SolarWinds "monitoring" quickly became SolarWinds NPM to this company. I put together a business case for SAM, then more of the same. I then created a process for this. I then introduced LEM, NCM, Patch Mgr, NTA, IPAM/UDT...

This kinda stuff has continued to inspire me my entire career. My tagline: "Identifying stragetic opportunities that exist in the operational day-to-day."

Auth. note: You'd be surprise with the amount of traction that tagline does NOT get with exec's and c-levels. lol

Thank you for this, charlcye​!  Eloquently written.

Fill your time with unfamiliar experiences and learn new skills

I've been in the hardware arena for most of my IT career (servers, networks, desktops, etc.) and a posistion just opened up at my company for a Business Systems Analyst with emphasis on MS SCCM.  After my initial interview, the lead individual gave me some "homework", which was to write a script in PowerShell that performed some tasks and generated a deliverable.  Well, I have little to no experience with PowerShell but I was up for a challenge.  12 hours later on the day before the script was due (I only had a day and half, literally, to complete the task), I had my 12 lines of code.  Not very efficient but there it was.  The only problem was that it only met 90% of the requirements, so by business definitions it was a fail.  But I didn't feel like a failure: I stepped out into an unknown realm and worked hard to figure out an answer.  Had I started learning PowerShell when the language first came out 10+ years ago, I'm sure that the task would have taken little to no time.  As it was, however, it took me a third of the alotted 36 hours but I was able to produce a result.  And while I didn't become fluent in the language, I learned enough to say "How do you do?" and "Where is the bathroom?" (which, by the way, are two VERY important phrases in ANY language! ) so I consider it a win.

What are your favorite memories that are exclusive to your generation?

For me, it's 70's and 80's music.  Disco was, well, what it was and the 80's had big hair, big glam and big metal, but hearing songs from those decades makes me remember the times as if they happened only yesterday.

Discover more things to be grateful for.

How appropriate to bring up this important reminder during this time of "Thanksgiving" and of "Holy"days.  As pcollins07​ stated above, Faith, family, business and IN THAT ORDER!  I am also grateful for everyone in my life who challenges me and encourages me to become a better person.  My wife of 21+ years, who keeps me grounded; my friends, who keep me laughing; my mentors, who keep me on my toes; and my Mom, without whom I would not be here (LITERALLY!).  BTW, My mother had me later in life, is now 86 years young and still kicking like an Army mule, though her kicks aren't as high as they used to be! 😉

Level 9

I can't always offer a couple of hours of my time, but I try to offer any that I do have to our helpdesk team. "Hey, I've seen this before" is helpful in time as well as in advance.

Level 15

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

Anyone. I've personally been blessed enough to have an exceedingly wide breadth of experiences throughout my life, and I hope that I am cognizant enough to willfully push those lessons into my interactions in life. We all learn from each other, whether we want to or not, I hope that I can help others in some way. It really doesn't matter how though. Maybe I teach, provide, or even just listen. The point is to be mindful and open (IMO).

What are your favorite memories that are exclusive to your generation?

  1. Apollo mission splash downs and recoveries. I remember going to my neighbors house who had a color TV, we still only had a black and white, and sitting in his family room to watch them.
  2. Seeing entertainers like The Police, Journey, Lover Boy, Air Supply, Moody Blues, Howard Jones, Bobby Vinton, Don Rickles, etc. in concert at reasonable prices that I could afford on a retail job.
  3. Going on ski vacations and renting at reasonable prices that I could afford on a retail job.
  4. Not having any of my friends or family die in a war.

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

  • Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
  • Who shot JR?
  • Why does the arrow of time seem to only point in one direction?
  • How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter? Or is it the other way round?
  • What happens to civilization if a massive solar flare destroys all of our electric grids?

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

  • I have tutored people throughout my life. I have always believed that my goal should be teach myself out of a job. Of course I know that will never happen because most people don't want to understand the technology at the level I do and enjoy it. They just want it to work. But if I can teach someone why a thing happens and what to do when it does, they feel empowered resolve it themselves freeing me up to learn more. So I think everyone I interact with.
  • My wife was a social worker for decades and at one of her jobs I used to tutor the men in math. They were required to take college or vocational technology courses as part of the program they were in to turn their lives around. One gentleman I was helping had a course in which I didn't even understand why they were teaching it this way. Seemed very odd to me and I understood it. So I changed the language to something a little more streetwise that he could relate to and we worked thru the problems. Two weeks later at our next session he came back so excited, he told me that during class the teacher was going over an example and he noticed the teacher had made a mistake. He politely raised his hand and said, I believe that should be X instead of Y [the particulars are important.], and the teacher responded with a "Why you are correct Mr. Smith, thank you for pointing that out." This gentleman was so excited that he had understood something well enough to recoginze an error in a similar problem and offer a correction. He felt so empowered. He went on to graduate from the CNC program, got a very good job as a machinist [making way more than my wife at her job as she liked to point out.], got married, bought a house, and when we last heard from/about him had a child. I would like to think that he and his family are continuing that trajectory and perhaps generations of his family will benefit from our brief encounters. Considering he had been in every prison in the state and was eating out of dumpsters mostly in the years before getting into the program, it was an honor to be part of the team that helped him turn around.
  • I often think of who I can help, if nothing else, by just having a compassionate, meaningful, and respectful conversation about whatever topic or concern they present at that moment.

Do you have an example of something awesome that’s happened, where three seemingly random or unrelated things had to happen first?

  1. My company purchased SolarWinds products
  2. I stepped outside my comfort zone and presented at a SWUG
  3. Someone who was a part of that team thought I was worthy of being an MVP and advocated on my behalf.
  4. This lead to becoming an MVP and having the amazing opportunity to meet a wonderful group of people last year at ThwackCamp 2017. That community is something really special.

What makes YOU feel inspired?

  • I am inspired and dispirited by people's actions.
  • Things that invigorate me - learning, teaching, experiencing the natural world with some understanding of how that came to be such that my senses can take it in and my mind can perceive it.
Level 9

Everyone has a different skill set and different experiences. Look for opportunities to share yours and to learn from others. Time learning and time teaching is never wasted. Often, they are simultaneous.

Level 9

Inspiration can be found everywhere...some choose to not open their eyes while others face it and make the best of it.

Feeling that "I'm needed by someone" enhances my inspiration.  It causes me to draw on experience and creativity, and is a feedback tool that increases the feeling of being necessary.

MVP
MVP

So many questions, so little time... As Leon says, I have time  but maybe living forever would help me learn a little more. I want to know everything including the secret to eternal life. The problem with eternal life is that it would eventually become monotonous and tiring without the energy of youth.

Every day, I discover something new. If you talk to people and are genuinely interested you will. I learned all about gas pipes yesterday from a workman at the front of my house digging up the street.

Someone asks me a question about something I know about and I'll gladly show them how it's done. Someone asks me a question about something I know nothing about and I'll gladly help them find an answer. My work colleague told me that when I trained him it wasn't like a traditional training session because I got him involved and actually identified a problem he needed to solve and we solved it using the tools he used every day. I love to help people.

My favourite memories are those days spent examining the trinkets, precious stones, watch and clock parts in my father's antiquarian horology shop. There was magic in that shop. The old iron stone walls and the dark oak furniture.

I'm grateful for the safety I experienced growing up in a small middle England town. I'm grateful that I managed to scrape my way into university and that I graduated. I'm grateful to Wolfgang who I met on a beach in the Cook Islands for teaching me to slow down to look at plants. I'm grateful to Hesper my wild hare. I'm grateful that having a terrible job lead me to go self employed and to focus on an excellent product that helps me learn something new every day.

Randomness is a good thing. You never know where you will be or who you will be a year from now. It's security that is dull and undynamic.

I once needed a dollar to get a bus to LAX and my bank card had stopped working. I stood outside the bank for about half an hour worried. A dollar flew past my foot. I picked it up and jumped on the bus. As the bus pulled away I heard this guy yelling about some woman giving him a dollar and that it had disappeared. I felt very guilty and I tried to remember this guy so that I could figure out a way to send him some cash when I got back to the UK. I never did find him.

I'm inspired by creative people, by nature, by hope, by love.

That's it for now.

Adam acmtix

Level 10

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Level 9

Well put, I recently had the opportunity to take on roles within the company that I had no prior experience with. Every day is a new learning adventure

Product Manager
Product Manager

Many schools have student alumni associations that would love for you to come speak about your current professional role, provide guidance on getting started in the field, do some Q&A, and help the students build their resumes.  If your school doesn't have a working alumni association, they might be happy to let you start one!  I imagine it would make a huge difference to a lot of young adults over their lifetimes.  Go for it!

Level 9

I try to fix things that I have never dealt with before in my personal life.  Water heater was acting up recently so a little research online and I tried to replace the elements, thermostat, and anode rod.  I was only able to get the thermostats and one element replaced myself as these things can be really hard to remove.  But now I have an easier time communicating with the plumber who fixed this issue.

Doesn't matter how old you are as there is always something you haven't dealt with.

Level 9

What are your favorite unanswered questions?

Will technology ever help my non-verbal child express his thoughts without speaking, typing, or other expected typical skills that he has yet to master? I hope so.

Will our society come up with reliable ways of preventing "alternative facts" from being shared widely and believed when they are factually untrue?

Level 8

This is a wonderful post that I'm lucky enough is practiced in our environment. I spend a lot of time learning that which I don't know from those around me and teaching those around me what I know. It makes for a more productive environment  in that the cross training prepares those who want it and are eager new knowledge and skills. We have a policy of learn what you can and teach what you can to those around you. Not only will it increase the knowledge and productivity of everyone around you but should they find themselves looking elsewhere it may just help them to better their situation should the need arise.

Level 10

These are very great advice.

Teach other people - The more you impart knowledge, the more knowledgeable you become

Discover more things to be grateful for - A grateful heart is an happy heart

Level 11

"Inspiration is everywhere."

It's nice to think that. When I look around I tend to not find inspiration, but reminders of things I cannot pull off. Not that I would not like to, but for which I just lack the bandwidth.

Level 11

Passing on of knowledge is so important, it's a shame that people dont do it, for fear of no longer being in control.  Remember we were all padawan's at some point.

Level 8

Thank you for sharing, I have some of the same thoughts myself

Level 9

How do you get chosen to write something?

Level 9

Who might benefit from a couple of hours of your time?

My 20 year old self would benefit a lot from a few hours of my time, so much that I did and didn't do!

MVP
MVP

One of the greatest enjoyments in my job is showing others how to use the SolarWinds tool sets. Deploying the modules and showing customers how they can monitor their devices and what they can do, they get excited! That excitement drives me to do my best for them because if they're happy, I'm happy.

I like this! It's important to find the things that help you appreciate technology and/or find ways to improve your capabilities with existing technology. I agree with shuth in that there is so much within solarwinds that sometimes I'm finding new things just trying to showcase to others the things I already know. It's almost like a discovery some of the time.

Level 9

I find point 3 most important, giving folks guidance on their own journey...

Level 7

Without sharing knowledge, I think we would all be in worse circumstances. At times there is an perception that if you relinquish said knowledge you are replaceable and have given the company options for your replacement. The issue with that philosophy is nothing will grow for the company and it will stymie your growth as well.

Level 13

In my experience (YMMV) I always learn the most when I'm teaching others.  Sometimes you're literally only slightly more knowledgeable than the person you're teaching, but having to teach a concept requires you to wrestle with the knowledge, the right way to convey it, and tocome up with multiple analogies or ways of communicating it.  You don't really understand something until you can teach it, and teaching it always highlights deficiencies in my own learning or understanding as well as helping to bring more clarity my knowledge.

Level 11

To all the MVPs who advise they enjoy sharing and helping, i'd love to take some of your time to help improve our SW setup.  Sharing is caring after all

Send me a PM, and I'll be happy to help

Level 15

Find an unanswered question that excites you.

I like studying astronomy and quantum physics, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

Well said From your footnotes:

"What are your favorite unanswered questions?"

That, in itself, is a good question! For me,  all unanswered questions are my favourite, as each one is a potential learning or giving opportunity. If I know the answer, I can pass on my experience and help out, and if I don't, I'll go and find the solution!

Level 12

What makes me feel inspired? Easy! SolarWinds!

Level 9

Nice Thoughts !! totally agreed to it.

Level 7

As an IT support bod of some 20+ years, I can confidently state that yes it bloody does!

Level 14

How do you know we haven't already landed a person on Mars (see that, politically correct.  Women are people too           ).

Level 14

Best memories.  Far too many really. 

Who would benefit from my time.  Everyone   (I work in IT so must be really important       )