7 Resolutions To Help You Make A Big Difference!

resolutions for 2014Raising the Bar!

Has loosing weight or finding a new job become your annual resolution?

Time for a change…

How about going beyond the NORM and really making a difference in 2014!

With the new year almost upon us I know many people are putting together a list of resolutions. So, I decided to help with 7 ideas.

Let me warn you now though, these resolutions are BIG, provoking, and may even ruffle some feathers.

If that happens then I may have found an opportunity for you to really dig deep and make some real changes.

Warning – Stop now unless you really want to make a difference!

1. Become a technology mentor.

A while back I wrote a post on technical mentors and it was well read so I’ll start with this as my #1 suggestion.

Becoming a technology mentor isn’t easy to do (or commit to) but that’s what makes it a difference maker, right?

Maybe you work somewhere and there are newbies all around (and they are lost).

You deal with them by hiding in your dark cubical. Yes, their questions are annoying but they need you!

So in 2014 make it your goal to help them get trained. Help them learn VMware or Openstack, or whatever virtualization technology you are using.

Become a mentor to them and you will find there are benefits such as support from people who will cover your back. And best of all, who respect you.

Teach the newbies to fish!

2. Check your attitude (ego).

It’s doesn’t matter how many CERTS or degrees you may have. Stop being a jerk!

Maybe you work for Amazon or Google (or think you should) but you are arrogant and people don’t like working with you. That’s not good.

Make it your goal in 2014 to chill-out on the ego-trip and become likable.

I’m not asking you to mentor but at least try to be helpful to those around you who look to you as the SME or leader.

Yes (we all know) you have worked hard to get to the technical level you are at but frankly that doesn’t give you the right to treat people disrespectful.

Here’s a tip – Things are changing in IT [and jerks], even with talent, are not being tolerated anymore.

Make a difference and start today with an attitude change…even if it’s just saying “Good Morning.”

Become likable!

3. Clean up documentation.

Oh-boy, I’m going to say the four letter word – “documentation.”

I know how hard it is for IT folks to keep up good documentation.

Yes, I know it takes longer to document something than to just do it.

Unfortunately, you’re not the only person doing the task so to keep within a set of standards there needs to be documentation.

For example – If everyone chooses a different way to deploy a VM, or worst, a MS SQL VM, then your environment will soon be in chaos.

Good documentation helps define excellence.

So if you want to make a difference in 2014 and offer value, create some good documents on the daily tasks you do. Then socialize them and get some feedback. Once everyone agrees, then make them your standards.

And don’t wait until 2015 to update them. Keep your documentation updated.

4. Build a home lab.

Over 16 years ago when I started my IT career it was common to find other IT people building home labs.

Now, when I interview people for jobs I ask then if they have a lab and sadly most say no.

Then I follow up and ask, “without a lab how do they keep up with technology” and they say, “with training at work.”

Here’s a tip – Invest in yourself and build a lab at home. Stop waiting for work funded time and training to sharpen your saw.

Old servers and PCs are cheap on eBay or Craig’s List. Heck you probably have 2 or 3 in the garage already.

Build a lab and install ESX, KVM, Openstack, Xen and make them all work together.

Then teach yourself scripting and figure out how to automate the build of a VM via the API using a shell or Powershell script.

And then when someone asks you in an interview how you keep up with technology you will have a great answer!

Make a difference in 2014 by building your home lab and investing in your skills.

Sharpen your saw.

5. Clean up the data center.

Do you know all the old junk in the data center is embarrassing? Do something about it!

Think about the impact an outages would cause if someone tripped and pulling a data or power cord. And what if your customers found out? Yikes!

I get it.

Yes, you are busy.

Yes there are too many projects going on.

Yes. Yes. Yes, to all of your reasons why you don’t have time to get rid of the dead and old server hardware cluttering up your data center.

And probably piled around your cubical and common areas, too.

This is why this suggestion makes for such a great opportunity to make a difference in 2014.

Get others involved and make this a team resolution to get it done by the end of January.

Take initiative.

6. Read a book.

No, reading Google search results or blogs does not count for reading a book.

I realize you probably do a ton of reading of short technical stuff all the time. But this isn’t good enough.

Buy a book like Virtualization Changes Everything, or The Phoenix Project, or Lean Enterprise, and read it cover to cover.

This will give you a big picture on where the industry is going and how you should adapt.

Make it your goal to be intentional about learning new and innovative ideas by reading.

Yes, I know this may interrupt your gaming time but it’s worth the investment to get ideas from leaders who are already making a difference.

Become a thought leader who reads.

7. Watch your words.

Let me get straight to the point. Stop complaining!

Be thankful for your job and the opportunity to make a difference where you are.

It’s always much easier to find flaws in leaders because their out front but stop talking smack about them.

Become a leader yourself and learn to defuse complaining by holding your tongue, or better yet – find positive words to say.

It’s not an easy job managing. And it’s probably much harder making the big decisions that keep businesses running and us employed.

But of course we know better, right?

Wrong.

In 2014 make it your resolution to drive a positive change and stop the complaining that has people around you frustrated. Your words have the power to motivate people for greatness or frustrate them.

Speak hopeful words and in the end, right normally turns out right.

Bonus Resolution – Start with a Fresh Slate.

If you’re anything like me you start a million projects and never finish most of them.

Here’s a secret I’ve learned. When I run out of motivation I just wipe the slate clean, no guilt.

In today’s world this is called pivoting. Why continue burning cycles and resources on something that doesn’t work?

Maybe you’re surrounded by reminders of resolutions or projects you once started and now you’re so full of guilt you can’t imagine making one more resolution.

You need to clean house, and clean it now!

If there is something you still want to work on add it to the new list and start fresh.

Maybe it was to write a book, or start a blog, or build a lab.

Or maybe it was go back to school.

Clear your mind of all those old goals that you failed to complete and start fresh.

Get rid of reminders that only make you feel guilty (have a yard sale or donate them).

Make 2014 the year you really start fresh!

Celebrate Wins!

In closing I want to encourage you to celebrate your wins, even the small ones.

In today’s busy world of rushing to work to be over-loaded with too many things to do, it’s easy to move from one accomplishment to the next task without stopping and thanking the people around you who helped you. Take a moment and thank them.

Also, if you do decide to become a mentor, celebrate the small accomplishments you have with the people you help.

Or if you read a book, when you finish it write the date on back cover and celebrate by buying yourself another book.

You can make a difference!

Make it your goal in 2014 to make a difference for the people you work with, and for the people you live with, and most of all – for yourself!

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