A smart person once implored me to recognize the value of the journey as opposed to focusing on the destination, and a younger me refused to listen. Journeys are how you get where you are going, I insisted, but the destination is what it's all about.
Older and slightly wiser now, I realize that the key point I missed was that there is, in fact, no such thing as a destination. All we have is a never-ending, always changing, never simple, always interesting journey, and it's up to us to plant signs next to the road when we accomplish something of note. Sometimes those accomplishments are on purpose, sometimes (most times in my experience) they are by accident and sometimes it's hard to even recognize them at all, but those are the reason we keep moving forward.
Armed with this better understanding of how things work, I've been trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I've been extremely lucky in my career, and I'm at a point where I have some control over where I go and what I do, and with that control comes the need for some introspection around what to do with it. Don't mistake my acknowledgement that I have this control as ignorance of how I got it: I have worked very hard, had some awesome employees and co-workers, worked at some incredible companies, gotten very lucky and have been able to form relationships with people who have helped me become a better engineer, better manager, better leader and better person.
The last couple years have been crazy for me. My growing family deserves and demands more and more time, my company is growing faster than I ever thought possible and the scope of my job has continued to increase. I have met some incredibly smart people and gotten to work with some amazing technology. I have been surprised by friendships that have formed right under my nose and been disappointed by people who I thought were friends letting me down. I have succeeded and I have failed. I have grown. I have been good at many, many things, but I have not been great at any of them.
I have decided that I want to be great. Regardless of the destination or accomplishment, I want to be great at the things that matter to me. Personally, I want to be a great husband and father. Professionally, I want to be great at leading the development of technology solutions for customers and using those to drive the success of my employer. I don't know if I can succeed at any of those things, but that's a destination-based view. I know that I can commit to putting in the effort and making sure that I'm open to listening to the people around me, and I know that my passion for my work and for technology will serve me well. I'm willing to take the journey and hope that at some point I can plant the sign by the road that says I was great at something.
The trick is that I don't think anyone can be great in a vacuum. You can be good, even VERY good, all by yourself, but I think that to be great you need to be part of a team. Personally, I have the best teammate ever in my wife. I know that we can do anything, and that we can build the kind of family and life we want together. Professionally, I'm ready to start the process of finding the team I need for this journey. I'm not afraid of hard work, and I'm not fixated on a destination. I'm open to the possibility of whatever comes my way, and I'm prepared to embrace anyone or anything I can learn from along the way. Bring it on.