Stop Looking Forward, My Thoughts

Don Jones, one of the bigger names in the PowerShell community, had an great post on his personal website. It was entitled, Stop Looking Forward. I liked it.

The idea behind his post was to stop looking to advance yourself and your career long enough, to give back to your community. Coming from Don, we can all safely assume, he’s speaking from experience. Whether he knows it, or not, he taught me for free, a time or two. It’s his job now, and so there needs to be dollar signs at some point in his help cycle, but I don’t think for a moment, that that’s what this was always about. It’s quite believable that he wants all of us to succeed. Writing is a talent, and so paying for his ability to explain these topic seems justifiable.

I remember right where I was standing when I decided I was going to give back to the PowerShell community, outside of just helping on various PowerShell forums, where I had been both learning and offering assistance, as I was able. No joke, but reading forums is a great place to learn. Before you know it, you’ll be able to help others learn those things you already have.

I was washing my hands in the bathroom sink at work, after I had recently read an article from a PowerShell MVP. He had a website, hisname.com, where he occasionally shared PowerShell themed articles. That was it, I thought. I’m going to register tommymaynard.com, and I’m going to write about PowerShell, too. I always had this concern that I didn’t know enough yet, but I went ahead and I did it anyway. You can likely give back to the PowerShell community before you even think you’re ready. I started well before I thought I would.

I wrote my first few posts on tommymaynard.com, felt quite confident, and then read an article from Jeffery Hicks. In his post, he clearly stated not to do rewrites on the help files, as they were already there. Damn.

It was around June 2014, and I accepted that challenge. Unbeknown to Jeffery, as though it would’ve made a difference anyway, I never did a help rewrite again. Instead of doing help rewrites, I just started writing. I’d find something interesting and I’d share it. I make something I wanted to keep, and so I’d post it for others to read about and learn from. It’s been two and half years now and this is my 181st post. That’s an average of greater than 6 posts per month. There’s no ads, or sponsors, and I don’t see a dime. I was at 100 posts in April 2016 when I was chatting with Neema, a Microsoft employee, about their MVP program at the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit 2016. I’ve written approximately 9 posts per month since then.

For those that haven’t asked, or have made an incorrect assumption, I’ve never been a PowerShell.org Hero, or a Microsoft MVP. After the Phoenix PowerShell Saturday in October 2016 — where I actually spoke — I answered a question from Will Anderson: “No, I’m not an MVP.” I was impressed, however, as I had convinced an MVP, that I was also an MVP, even when I wasn’t.

I’ve said it a few times now: I set out to be an MVP. I set out to add my name to the list of PowerShell.org PowerShell Heros. It’s about me in some way — I can agreed to that — but it all started with this desire to give back to others that were like me. I learned from the forums, so I helped on the forums; I learned from #PowerShell on Twitter, therefore, I contributed to Twitter; I learned from PowerShell blogs and started my own. A recognition would clearly indicate that setting out to help others, did in fact, help others. It would validate that I stopped looking forward, to help those around me. Those around me at work? Well, many of them get a weekly, PowerShell related email from, yours truly. I’ve written nearly 40 of them and plan to take it all the way to 52 — a full year of hey-learn-about-PowerShell-before-you-wish-you-did emails. If we want to promote from within, then let’s give those junior level, lower tier employees some skills; let’s get them interested in what we’ve found so fun. Let’s give back like Don has, like Jeffery has, like Will has, and June, too.

I’m going to quote Don, here — “At the end of the day, we should all measure our success by the impact we’ve made on our world, and in our communities.” I have no idea how long PowerShell will be around, or even how long I’ll be around, but I believe I’ve made an impact on my community. I’ve certainly set out to do that. As Don would, I urge you to do the same, if you don’t already.

Don says it better, so if you haven’t, go read that post already.

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