As part of one of my 2021 projects, I was reviewing some of my past articles. Software Engineers are Translators, Where’d my UX go? and Resuscitating the dread word ‘Agile’ all stand out in my recent memory. Some of the articles were riddled with mistakes in grammar, or spelling. Others just contained poorly constructed analogies. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at writing over the years. At the least, I’ve had lots more practice.
Despite those shortcomings, I found I still agreed with some of the base concepts my past self had pointed to. This reflection brought to mind a quote, I am uncertain from where.
‘If you’re embarrassed by something you did in the past, celebrate. It means you have grown.’
Many of those articles were grasping at an idea I only dimly saw. Some of the principles I enunciated, I still hold. For others, I have learned better since them. And for still others I realized I was flat-out wrong. It is good to grow, though sometimes painful to look back.
While mulling all this over, a quite separate conversation came to my memory. Some half forgotten discussion about why or why not people choose to start a blog or to write articles. I recall when starting one of my key concerns was precisely for embarrassing myself in the future. At the time, I muscled through it.
I figured if anyone should reject me for a position because of the ideas I wrote in my blog, then I was probably not a good fit for whatever role they were looking to fill. And as result I was able t get into something of a cadence for writing. In the 4+ years, I have been writing for this blog off and on, I have found I needed to hold less and less to this idea. Truthfully, I have yet to see that concern come to fruition. And in truth I think I still hold the opinion about being rejected.
One thing I did realize though! My actual embarrassment for my youthful naivety or poorly constructed analogies was actually less that my anticipated embarrassment was upon writing them. That upon review, my future self turned out to be kinder and gentler, than I suspected was possible back then. Did I make mistakes? I most certainly did! But in the long run, more good has come from consistently writing to the blog. And especially so for the ideas which were hardest to write. I think the source for my original anxiety was likely my pride. Oddly I suspect the reason for my kinder review is the reverse. I am more humble now, having made many mistakes.
Upon review, I learned more about myself. I learned which ideas I saw clearly, and which I did not. Upon review, I find that though my mistakes were many, I am grateful to have made them. My past anxiety was for naught. So I would encourage the reader to take the risk to share and to post. If you too that anxiety, I suspect you will likewise find it to be less bad than you anticipated when you look back. Moreover, if you can have the courage to start today, you will gain access to a wealth of practice. But perhaps most critically, you won’t know whether or not you will be embarrassed at all unless you try. What do you think you’ll find upon review?