handling a blue moment

I should admit it: I’ve been almost depressed lately.

I’m not saying “depressed” fully because I know the whole implications of depression and it would mean ignoring all the pain that people that go through that kind of path feel.

But yeah, I’ve been underwhelming to say the least.
The reason: Too much “undefined” work, and too less “direction”.

This made me realize that, as remote workers and also as general workers, that these two elements are critical for a well being.
We need them to thrive and move forward.

Defined work “knowing exactly what to do and how to do it” helps us being happy or not with the result. If there is no expectation, how do you judge the work you’ve done?
If nobody checks out your work, how do you know if it was good or not?

Secondly: Direction, as known as “knowing where to go”, makes it really easier to put one important thing in front of another, to set a vision.

So, back to the title: is there a solution?

To me it always goes back to asking for help, first and foremost.
But even asking for help isn’t enough sometimes.
I too had an hard time defining my problem and honestly I do believe we live in a culture when we’re not used to sharing such difficult moments.

So what? The second step is to ask for help again and share the issues. And the third and final step is to be aware that we’ll all eventually move on.
That all the stress will be fixed one step at a time because if there is no much definition one thing that might cause it is the fact that you’re too much far off the result so it’s hard to “see” it .

One step each time will make you closer to what you should be doing.
One simple, small, step

death and opportunities

I don’t understand suicide. It’s awful, it’s terrible, it doesn’t leave a trace.
Yet, it’s a message of failure.

Failure of the system, of the society as a whole, failure of the circle of support that should be resembled by family and friends.
Failure to notice.

Today a person I once met committed suicide and it’s terrible.
I’m sad, even though we weren’t really friends, but I’m even more sad because he was young, less than 30yo.

I don’t know the “WHY”. Even when we do know the “WHY” from people who left some notes, we still don’t know “how was it possible”.
Because if we know, we could’ve stopped it.

When I think about suicide I always think that it’s linked to one fact: Belonging and opportunities.

The sense of belonging to this world and the people around us, to have a place, is critical for our well being. We do take it for granted if we don’t have problems, but it’s a dealbreaker.
It changes how you feel in the world itself.

Opportunities on the other sides are some form of hope. If you think you still have opportunities (to change, to create, to build), you would conclude that it’s not worth it to die, you can defer it and try to change things.

At that age the world is your oyster. You have infinite opportunities, your brain is active, you can learn anything you want, change jobs, change life.

If you don’t see those opportunities though, it’s harder.
Yet we are gifted with thousands of opportunities, options available to us at no cost and only one requirement: The courage to take a leap.

Opportunities are rarely “near” us. They’re not “easy or fast”. They need some leap of faith to get there, and some time we fail anyway.
But when we don’t, well, in those times it’s when our life changes.

Because we only need one good opportunity to change our life.

reviews will hurt

As a product creator, reviews are one of the most amazing feedback one can ask. It’s spontaneous, many people don’t get that it’s a great way to collect user feedback, not only for marketing purpose, but for product development.

Yet, at the same time, they hurt a lot. Even a four star review sucks and you feel it.

I was on the verge of disabling the unverified reviews, but I decided not to (for now).
Those 4 star reviews are actually good.

We are always tempted to shut down anything that might damage the image of a product, but it’s what makes it worth reading.
Those unbiased review are goldmine of information.

You will get some hatred, it’s fine, we live in the internet.
Our goal as product creators is to have enough good reviews to outshine the bad ones.
After all there is no perfect product, but if your product it’s amazing enough, that’ll be sufficient.

Not every example should be a reference

I’d like to write even more and share my thinking with the world and one think that’s blocking me is one simple fact: I shouldn’t be anyone’s reference.

I am different than the majority in terms of willpower, energy, motivation, goals. This not to say “I am better”; but to say that some of these attributes influence my choices and decisions.

If I didn’t have such willpower I might give up early, if I didn’t have a sudden drop of energy when I face some confrontation I might reach even more results, but the whole mix? It’s my mix.

You can apply it to each and every person in the world. They can be your reference, you can be inspired by their words but keep thinking: What of their traits made them like this?

Because words are a starting point, but then you have to give what you have to reach those words.
Don’t look just for a reference, look at what traits are the one that make your ideal possible.

The worst part is when you’re the only critic

I miss judgement, people knowing better than I would what to do.
I’m not saying that I’ve reached a point where I can’t learn, only that when you can’t receive feedback it’s hard to truly grow.

To me it’s still ok because I always seek the bug and the improvement, but what would happen if I didn’t? From time to time having a clear path forward, knowing your deficiencies from outside, is a great help to focus on an outcome.

If everything is too easy, then you’re not doing the right job for you.
There should always be some tension, a kind of struggle.
That tension is the growth.

It’s not about the role

Some people do care about the label on their tag.
They do care about how people will call them.

It’s fine.

Yet, if you look at what are they doing, where is their value: that’s what defines their job.
Not their status on linkedin, not their label on the tag.

They can slack, they can overdo it, they can do it perfectly, but it’s not about the role. It’s about what _they_ want.
A status, sometimes.
Sometimes they simply want to help.

What moves you? Is it the money? Is the the status? Is it empowering those around you?
For each of these options the role won’t matter. Because the role is a consequence of your desire, and it might not even reflect it perfectly.

Impact of a voice

Before the pandemic we’d be always fascinated by the people that, when they entered the meeting room, changed the room’s mood with their presence.

That required a lot of body language, a masterful crafting of words and intentions.
Those people were rare.

Today we’ve been confined to online meetings and one thing is sure, the remote call removes part of the body language importance.
It’s still there, but since you’re showing less of it it’s less important.

Today you can even set a different speed for the conversation with a simple tool: Your voice.

Like no other time in the past we have this unique window where we can make an impact by giving people our sound and our full attention.
These two elements can drastically change how we are perceived by others during a call and we can influence the other participants so much that it would be foolish to ignore this.

We’re flooded by low speaking, dull sounding, boring voices.
We can speak up, light the room, make a difference, today, and be the one making a difference.

Ethics and no

Many people say that they’d want to “Live the dream”, to have a job for themselves so they own their life.

That dreams also means having tough times with decision making.
Like saying no to a very big store that wants your products.

Drawing the line between what’s good and what’s right is what makes it possible.
What should you aim? The easy yes will give you more money short term, but more stress long term.

What do you value most is what you’ll prioritize, and that will be your work ethic and it always start with a no.

a strange social animal

If you know me, you’d say that I am a loved person, a person people like to get around with, even an interesting one they might say.

But when I look at any social feed I know I don’t belong there.
I was reminded by this when I read today a post by jason fried. In that post he wrote a passage that resonated quite a bit with me.

It said “These days it seems every announcement begins with a “Today we’re super excited to…” preamble. Whether it’s opening yet another bank branch, launching a 10% off promotion, restocking a t-shirt in size medium, announcing a mega-merger, breaking a new record, or introducing a new colorway of an old shoe, everyone sounds super excited! We’re bathed in it.”

This is it. All the feeds are full and fed of stories like that. Only stories like that.
I get it, maybe we don’t want pessimism, maybe we should aim to ignite some optimism and vision for the future.
I get it. But is this really something that helps us moving forward?

I don’t belong to this kind of communication. I don’t belong to the fact that we obnoxiously share only successes that might not be even that much enthusiastic to begin with.
I think feeds like this miss a key element: Honesty and struggle.

Life’s that way. We fail. We fail a lot and then we try again and after countless times we succeed. We create something beautiful, a flower to nurture. That flower is so beautiful we want to share it to the world so that the world will see it.

Those struggle, where are they? We all hear the Edison story, of how he failed 10000 times before getting it right. When are we going to settle this and start telling our failures? The things that didn’t work out?

Not as a way to spread pessimism, but as a way to teach that every failure can be reverted, that after a failure we can almost always try another time. Few failures are fatal, they _seem_ fatal because of the emotional story we attach to them. They _seem_ fatal because of our reaction to that story.
But they’re not.

That’s why I consider myself a strange social animal. I like being with people, but all I see on the social media is something that seems to me outside of my world and I keep wondering: Where’s the place I should belong?

Product failures are a good thing if you learn from them

I became a developer with no reason at all. When I was young my dreams were different, but when the school decided to not open up the courses for what I was interested in, I had to make a choice.

The IT Field seemed to have the most chances of employment and so, here I am, with over 15 years of experience on a topic that wasn’t my first choice and in which, at least to what I know, I excelled in many things and competences.

We all dream of a job that’s a job we love as much as we dream to be in love with the perfect soulmate.
Thing is, you can find beauty, happiness and rewards in things that were not on your radar.

We mistake the joy for the job with the joy of what our accomplishments can give us, how rewarding they can get.

It’s not the job that makes it fulfilling. It’s the work, it’s the people, the achievements, the results, the parties and the failures.

And failures can be a powerful thing.
Today I read of the rise and fall of Flow, an old asan competitor. It struck a cord with me, it resonated so strongly because, as a dev, product manager of my company, creator of a product, and also business owners, that story is my story.

I see many facets of what’s in the life of a product. The hope to find a niche to which you can connect, the idea that you can do better than the giants.

But a failure should give us the opportunity to ask ourselves “What did I miss?” What didn’t we see? What part of the idea wasn’t working?

Developing a product requires you to be in the midst between optimism and pessimism.
You need to be able to dream big, to have a vision, to imagine a new path and future and at the same time you need to be able to foresee the obstacles, the problems, the things that don’t go well, the many ways in which everything can and will go wrong.

If you are too much on any of those side and you’ll either ignore the warnings or be paralyzed.

%d bloggers like this: