By Avi Singh [Twitter]
At a recent client visit, I found myself thinking of trajectories.
A small shift now can change the trajectory of the rest of your life
After the class, I was chatting with one of the attendees. Here is what I learned:
- The attendee, let’s call him ‘John’, has been working for many years at this revered institution.
- He had been using Excel, but he thanked ‘Dan’ who several years ago had introduced him to Excel Pivot Tables
- That changed his trajectory. And many years later, here he was, sitting in my Power Pivot class…
- And I wondered…how it would shift the trajectory of the rest of his life
In our lives there are events which may not seem big or even consequential at the time, but alter the course of the rest of our lives.
These event are only apparent in hindsight. (As Steve Jobs said about connecting the dots).
But we at P3 Adaptive know, by having heard from many of our class alumni, how Power Pivot classes have proved to be the pivotal events in their lives. Shifting their trajectories and taking them to unforeseen heights and places.
Trajectory of My Life
I graduated from college at the top of my class (I had always been good in academics). And expected life to be like this:
Instead life turned out to be like this:
It felt more like a maze were I would make one right turn, few wrong ones and feel like I was back where I started.I often chastised myself, for not having taken any big steps, made any big decisions in life (well, up until leaving Microsoft to join Power Pivot Pro: Welcome Avi Singh!). I had been great in school but my professional career seemed to meander on a circuitous path.
It felt like instead of grabbing life by the horns, I was just letting life happen to me.
But when I look back, I realize, even if I did not take any big steps – I took a lot of small steps. And sometimes they accrue to something truly big.
I was in a business analyst role almost forever (that felt deeply frustrating at times). And in hindsight, I took some small steps nearly every day:
Whenever someone came to my office, I would smile and welcome them. And I would do, all that I could, to help them. At many times I could have brushed them off. A business analyst, especially in the Excel world, is almost always overworked, mostly just wrestling with data.
In any new domain I stepped in, I always dove in and tried to understand the business side of things. I have worked across many verticals – telecom, movies, data center, e-commerce, payment processing, learning etc. Each time, I enjoyed the learning experience and I realize that’s also what made me good at what I did. I was sharp on the technical side, but many others were. But the deep business knowledge that I gathered, set me apart.
This wasn’t a big decision on my part, wasn’t even a conscious step. But over time, it meant that I often got recognized as a star performer.
Lessons to My Younger Self
If I met my “college” self. He would be disappointed in me. He had big dreams and short of becoming an astronaut or astrophysicist, the future self would always disappoint him. There are no life lessons that I can impart to my “college” self. He’s just not ready yet.
If I met my “Disgruntled Professional” self, feeling like a cog in the giant machinery of corporate America…perhaps I could say a few things.
Don’t wait for a big break. Live your life in the present. Nobody knows the future, especially in the technology domain, given how fast things are evolving. But stay restless, push yourself a little bit every day. Learn something new or make a new friend.
I believe the same lessons apply in personal life as well. A scientific study that I came across stated, big gifts or events (think birthdays) matter less to kids than an activity you do regularly with them – like reading a book with them at bedtime.
Life as an entrepreneur gets busy, real busy. But I try to steal time with my kids whenever I can. I play a pretend game with my daughter where I become her “butler”. Me and my son make up new routes when we play some street football.
I choked up as I wrote those last sentences. For that I’ll only say this:
“When you are on your deathbed, you are not going to regret that you missed that 2 o’clock meeting. You’re only going to regret that you didn’t spend enough time with your loved ones.” – Anonymous
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