Last week, I traveled with some of my best childhood friends to go skiing in Colorado. We spent three amazing days skiing Keystone, Vail and A-Basin. After each day of skiing I felt mentally refreshed and ready to take on the next monumental mountain.
When we finished our last day of skiing, I mentioned to my friends that when I was skiing down down the mountain I only thought about skiing. My mind was clear of all other thoughts. My friend responded, ‘you can free your mind because you are so focused on that one goal ahead of you. Making it down the mountain, alive.’
We laughed but there is a lot of truth behind his comment. A clear and measurable focus is critical to achieving your goals.
Skiing illustrated three major aspects of having a clear and measurable focus that can translate into the office.
- Have a clear and measurable end in mind, like making it down the mountain alive and uninjured.
- In technology, one of my team’s goal is to eliminate manual testing for our PDF documents by the end of 2017
- When you’re going down the mountain and you come to a cliff, you may need to pivot and try a different route to arrive at your goal.
- As we work to eliminate manual testing, we will try a number of different methods to automate the testing of documents. We’ve tried using GUI automation to trigger a CompareDocs tool we use in our system. We are also working on finding ways to compare XMLs that are created versus what is expected. The key here is to constantly tinker and try different routes.
- After you pivot away from the cliff, be mentally and physically prepared for any situation that may come up, like sharp turns and other steep slopes.
- It can be physically and mentally taxing to work hard on something and find out that route you just tried isn’t going to work out. When you pivot and it doesn’t go well, be prepared to try again, work a few extra hours, invest more time to learn what you don’t know and sometimes put on a good face when you are disappointed.
Keeping these aspects in mind while planning and working through your goals will only increase your ability to shred down bigger mountains!
(all photos in this post are mine)