Finding Your Path Between Passion & Regret

This post comes with a TLDR; feature. Click here to get the gist.

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

This question sucks.

It really does! Think about all the things you’d like to do during your lifetime. Some of them seem downright impossible, some of them are probably a tad lackluster (yes, someday I would really like to finally beat Ocarina of Time). There’s an endless array of passions to chase!

The trouble is, this question does very little to help you find your “big” passion because there’s so many ways to answer it. I’ve found two different questions that I like to ask people, because it helps me understand a bit more about who they are and what their goals are. Interestingly enough, I’ve discovered those same questions can help me determine what my goals are… or should be, at least!

What Could You Do Every Day?

Question one: You are set for life, but you have to do the same thing (or type of thing) every day. There are zero educational, financial, or technological barriers – it can literally be anything. The only requirement is that it needs to be something that you can be satisfied with long after it loses it’s luster.

I’ve gotten some great answers to this question. My best friend somewhat dodged it by responding with “R&D.” But that’s true to who he is – someone who is passionate about creating something new. For others it’s adventure, or improving their community, or helping a loved one. Some don’t know, and that’s o.k., as long as it doesn’t stay that way.

The answer can change over time as you try things out, but by and large this helps you to identify what you really should be pursuing. So pursue it hard, right?

What Will You Regret?

Question two: You’ve just found out that you have a day to live. What parts of your life are unacceptable to you? Who do you wish you had spent more time with? What have you not done? Should you have parented differently? Studied more? Less?? Whatever things you’d regret, take note.

Back to reality: you’re not dying tomorrow, so change that crap before it really is too late!

Merge, Everybody Merge

If you’re playing along, you’ve probably discovered that what you’re passionate about and your regrets may be in conflict.

For example, I want to be working where faith (BTW, I’m a committed Christian), the community, and the family intersect to make life better for everyone in the little chunk of Vermont that I call home. A tiny fraction of that work is creating economic opportunity, which is where Indelible Inc. comes into play. Down the road I’d like to spend less time building websites and more time tackling even harder issues, requiring Indelible to pay me more for less of my time.

To achieve this, I work hard. Long hours, late nights, weekends, holidays, you name it. Society celebrates people like me as go-getters. But my family celebrates me as a dinner guest. If I were to die tomorrow, that would be my greatest regret, and it stands in direct opposition to the pursuit of my “career goals.” Don’t worry, change is in the works. I’m sure there’ll be a post on that soon…

What I propose is that you have to find a balance. Clarify your passions. Clarify your current and potential regrets. Now chart a course that gets you as close to your goals as possible without sacrificing the non-negotiables.

TLDR; In order to do what you love it also needs to be something you can stand doing even when you don’t want to. Once you know what it is, pursue it as hard as you can, tempered by the regrets you don’t want to have down the road.

 

Why I Used a Free Theme Instead of Building My Own

This post comes with a TLDR; feature. Click here to get the gist.

Introductions

In order for this to make any sense, introductions are in order. I am Mike Dion. You’ve probably figured that out, but I’m also a professional web developer. That means that by day my (3) monitors are usually loaded with code and debugging screens. I spend hours making sure that designs and functions are to spec, so how could I just install a theme and start writing?

Blogging Serves a Different Purpose

Blogging, at least in this experiment, has a different purpose. It’s not about the cool things I can do with CSS, or the functionality I can add. It’s about the writing. To be fair, I’ve already found style tweaks I want to make, and am really struggling not to spend an hour hunting through google fonts… but what I really need to do is spend some time writing in human readable markup.

Clear Communication

I serve as the primary contact with several of our clients at Indelible, and we’ve just hired a full time employee. Would you believe that I’m keenly aware of the gaps in my ability to communicate clearly and succinctly now more than ever? Yeah… I didn’t think you’d be surprised. This blog is practice!

Yes, I’m practicing on you… think of it as a privilege! You get to be the reason that my employee knows what needs to be done. You get to be the reason that my business excels because my clients know what to expect and when to expect it. So thanks!

Reflection

I have four kids. I co-lead a small (but growing!) business that takes a ton of time and commitment. Did I mention I have four kids? At this point in my life I don’t even shower every day, so when is there time to reflect if I don’t commit myself to some sort of regular writing?

Save the World!

Ok, that might be a bit pompous… But I have learned a ton that can help other people out. From guidelines for conflict to the pros and cons of building a progressive web app based on the WordPress REST api. Heck, I may even tell the story of the miserable failure that was the start of my company if I can do it in a way that encourages some other failure out there.

Fin.

That’s it. My goal is simply to get better at communication while I reflect on life and try to help share what I’ve learned the hard way so someone else won’t have to. To that end I’ve chosen a super minimalist blog format, and (at least for the time being) intend to keep it that way.

To keep my focus on the writing alone, I’m setting a few rules:

  1. No custom coding.
  2. No images unless the writing directly calls for them.
  3. Each post should be able to be condensed to a TLDR, which I’ll include at the end of the post

Big lesson #1 – alone I fail. So will you help me make this thing happen? Read it. Subscribe. Comment. Challenge me.

TLDR; I need to focus on writing and clarity of thought, so I’m writing a blog with a minimalist design and not ‘wasting’ time on images or other design/functionality elements.