Being judged is tough but valuable
I have wanted to start a network engineering blog for quite some time. I had a long list of reasons as to why I hadn’t started yet. I wasn’t sure what my colleagues would think. Did I have enough material? Could I afford the time? Then I read a post from Seth Godin a few weeks back that really hit home.
Seth has an uncanny ability to make profound statements using very few words. He argues that that being judged is difficult and risky, but also that the price you pay for safety is being ignored. His implicit argument runs a little deeper though. I realised that I was afraid. Risking nothing, staying safe. I don’t know if it’s a character trait or flaw, but I tend to stubbornly turn and face my fears. I’ve taken a small but important risk in starting this blog and I’m delighted I did it. I’ve received some fantastic support over the last few weeks and I want to say thank you.
Being ignored may be worse
In work, however, I still have a journey ahead of me. We all learn so much every day that we know our peers would benefit from. I really enjoy sharing knowledge, and want to present on some of these topics to my peers. If you are going to share knowledge, you should do your homework and put some effort into preparing your talk. But I tend to want to wait until I can become an ‘expert’ before I feel I can stand up and present. I want to cover every angle, every potential question and come prepared with all the answers.
The fundamental problem here is still fear. It could take years to become an ‘expert’, even if someone could confer that title upon you. Wanting to be an expert is a deferral tactic. Knowing you are afraid is a valuable insight though, and that knowledge allows you to make better decisions. You might choose to further prepare your talk or you might decide to present sooner and do a more collaborative talk, but you must act.
I need to follow my own advice a little more. But if you’re not prepared to be judged, nobody wins.