Doing new is difficult and demands (and deserves) all the energy you can muster. Often it feels you’re the only one pushing in the right direction while everyone else is vehemently pushing the other way. But stay true and stand tall. This is not an indication things are going badly, this is a sign you’re doing meaningful work. It’s supposed to feel that way. If you’re exhausted, frustrated and sometimes a bit angry, you’re doing it right. If you have a healthy disrespect for the status quo, it’s supposed to feel that way.
Meaningful work has a long time constant and you’ve got to run these meaningful projects like marathons, uphill marathons. Every day you put in your 26 miles at a sustainable pace – no slower, but no faster. This is long, difficult work that doesn’t run by itself, you’ve got to push it like a sled. Every day you’ve got to push. To push every day like this takes a lot of physical strength, but it takes even more mental strength. You’ve got to stay focused on the critical path and push that sled every day. And you need to preserve enough mental energy to effectively ignore the non-critical path sleds. You’ve got to be able to decide which tasks you must get your whole body behind and which tasks you must discount. And you’ve got to preserve enough energy to believe in yourself.
Meaningful work cannot be accomplished by sprinting full speed five days a week. It’s a marathon, and you’ve got to work that way and train that way. Get your rest, get your exercise, eat right, spend time with friends and family, and put your soul into your work.
Choose work that is meaningful and add energy. Add it every day. Add it openly. Add it purposefully. Add it genuinely. Add energy like you’re an aircraft carrier and others will get pulled along by your wake. Add energy like you’re bulldozer and others will get out of your way. Add energy like you’re contagious and others will be infected.
image credit – anton borzov
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Mike Shipulski brings together people, culture, and tools to change engineering behavior. He writes daily on Twitter as @MikeShipulski and weekly on his blog Shipulski On Design.