Want Progress? Do Something! Anything!

When I originally started my career I didn’t know what I wanted to be nor in which direction I wanted to go.

All I knew was that I was fairly ambitious, wanted to grow and felt like I could do anything.

Sound familiar?

No amount of career path discussions helped, it did give me an understanding of options but I didn’t know which path I wanted to follow.

This was simply because I hadn’t had any experience to help me understand what I liked, disliked and to guide my direction.

After finishing my degree, I started out as a software developer and was quite happy in my job. For about a year I didn’t make much progress because I didn’t know what I wanted. Rather I focused on doing the job at hand without much consideration for the future.

These seemed reasonably logical, focus on doing my job well and opportunities will come.

At the time, I didn’t appreciate that it was up to me to make these opportunities and go grab them.

I pushed to become more involved in back end development, which was awesome yet wasn’t quite what I was after.

After speaking to the design team I turned my focus to front end development, which was quite enjoyable, but still not right for me.

However, I didn’t feel like I was progressing. Rather, I felt like my time had been wasted as I wasn’t fully satisfied in any of my roles.

Shortly afterwards, I turned to consulting, as I felt I wanted to be on the front line with customers.

Initially this was terrifying. There was immense pressure, you occasionally got yelled at and sometimes the requests just seemed to defy logic.

As I gained experience I started to relish the challenge of delivering the best solution and driving the outcome.

I’d started to find my niche.

Even though initially I had no idea of where I wanted to go taking action was resulting in progress and personal satisfaction.

If I hadn’t taken action I would not have made progress.

I now felt silly at the frustration I felt with my false starts and now realised they were necessary to help me refine my path, correct my actions and drive me forward.

If you feel like you aren’t progressing, regardless of where you are in you career, you must do something, anything to progress. Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself is not going to move you forward and if you are stuck remember the below points

Success comes from failure

When you try something new you’ll quickly discover if it’s for you or not. If you enjoy it, that’s wonderful. If you don’t enjoy it, at least you have gained clarity.  You now know you went in the wrong direction and can correct back on track.

Front end development wasn’t for me and caused me to head in another direction, moving towards being on the front line with customers.

You must create and take your opportunities

By taking action things start to shift, conversations happen and opportunities arise. When they do arise it’s unlikely they will just land in your lap, you need to stretch out and grab them.

Do not expect someone to ask you if you want an opportunity, people are too busy, go and create it yourself.

You must dust yourself off and keep going

It’s rare that you will find what you want in your first attempt. Constantly probing different paths will cause you to refine and discover what you want and need to do to get there.

This can become tiring, demotivating and cause you to question if it’s worth it, however you need to dust yourself off and keep going.

What would have happened if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs gave up? What will happen if Elon Musk gives up?

Do not be afraid to pick the hard path, it is how you will reap the most rewards.

There is no end

You will never end up in the perfect role. Which seems quite demotivating but when you find something you love you’ll be enjoying is so much that you’ll want to dig deeper and find out more.

You’ll become more confident and focused which feeds upon itself to continually progress you.


If you are not where you want to be you need to take action immediately.

Do not be concerned if it’s the correct move or not, the important thing is to get out there and do something.

Through this you’ll refine your path and start to make progress.


Want to be better? The answer is simple

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve been called in as the expert to solve a problem.

You know your stuff and have built quite a comfortable life out of it.

This problem though is particularly challenging, you’re confident you can help but there’s a niggling doubt that’s causing you to hesitate.

You push past it and offer your solution.

It’s good, you’re happy with it, but it does have hidden flaws.

It goes ahead and its mostly successful, people are very happy but nonetheless it could have been better.

I’ve been hit with that scenario a few times in my life, in projects, in jobs and even in my personal life. The pressure is on and you’ve got to deliver, you do and it’s good but there is room for improvement.

One of these times was at a large government client where I was responsible for the overall project implementation of our IT management software.

This client was extremely risk averse and needed strong mitigation plans for all the identified risks. I suggested methods for mitigating, reducing and even avoiding these risks that were fairly sound. The project was a huge success however I was curious if my suggestions were the best they could have been.

What hidden opportunities had I missed? Were my suggestions the most efficient?

I certainly thought so.

My curiosity meant that these questions continued to itch in my mind and I needed the answers.

I started to realise that my problem was that I thought I had to know all the answers even though I knew I didn’t have them. It felt as though it was all on my shoulders and if I didn’t know the answer I’d have to step up, ultimately, by myself.

I thought I was alone.

As I was the expert, naturally I could only rely on my skills, experience and judgement. This meant that regardless of my role I could only grow at the rate it took me to gain additional knowledge or experience. Which is time-bound and extremely limiting.

Since then I’ve learnt that I’m not alone and there is a massive support network out there, both professional and personal. Nearly everyone is willing to help and it is only through listening and gaining insight from others that you can break this barrier.

There are two primary ways I’ve found to help you grow and gain insight.

Grow your network

This is simply attending events, functions or catch ups to meet new people.

I’ve now formed a habit of attending a fortnightly tech startup catchup where I have learnt a massive amount. By asking what others would have done in my situation, BOOM! The nuggets started to flow.

I’d highly recommend heading over to meetup.com, searching for the topic you’re interested in and heading to the events.

Mine your current network

This is the surprisingly valuable and is through your current contacts, colleagues and associates. It’s limited to the people you know but it’s extremely simple, just go grab a coffee with someone.

I did exactly that with one of the sales guys where I learnt the criticality of taking customers on a journey and focusing not on the value, product nor solution but rather where they will be in five years and the buy-in that comes with it. That tip was so simple yet completely amazed me.

With these methods I now accept that I don’t have to have all the answers and it’s quite simple to gain further insight.

Never underestimate the power of connecting and listening to others.

The knowledge and relationships you will gain will help you grow exponentially better.


How I regained control in the most nerve-wracking time of my life

It all started at 3am on Saturday when I was woken by my wife who had started to feel strong, recurring abdominal pain.

Fortunately she was pregnant, so it wasn’t too alarming.

The pains became more frequent and at 7am we headed to the hospital where we were checked in and ready to roll by 8am.

After some tense and exciting hours our second daughter, Eliana, was born.

She was healthy, my wife was overjoyed and I was ecstatic.

Eliana eventually relaxed and I started to reflect on what had just happened. It was truly awesome and my thoughts naturally moved to the birth of our first daughter, Sophia.

At least this time I had half a clue of what was coming, a complete contrast to when we had Sophia.

I remembered having no idea what to do, how to comfort her nor what to do next.

Why is she crying? Is something wrong?! What do I do?!

It was scary, I thought I’d have the answers but I didn’t.

I looked out the window on our wonderful view of a dumpster when it dawned on me that I was a parent and had to to take control.

It was up to me to sort this and I needed a plan! Everything is better with a plan!

I got cracking, talking to the midwives, doctors and exercising my Google-fu.

Shortly after, I had a page full of notes, times and techniques to get us through.

It certainly wasn’t perfect, it could all change in an instant but it was an enormous comfort.

The plan gave me control, I now knew what to expect and what to do.

Even if it fell apart I still had an anchor point to steer back to.

If you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t see a way out, get a plan, even if its extremely loose it will bring a sense of control.


Get Physical, Stay Sharp

The alarm goes off at 5am, I grumble and roll out of bed. I walk into a few walls on the way to the shower then grab my stuff making a bee line to the gym, still grumbling.

Thats the typical start to my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday which I’ve been mostly keeping to for the last three years.

Why do I get up so early? Why would I then start my day with pain?

I’m a huge believer that an active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.

The wake-up-early-go-to-gym routine makes me feel much more alert, involved and generally committed.

When walking out of the gym you feel a great sense of motivation, empowerment and desire to seize the day.

In contrast, when I am absent from the gym for extended periods there is a noticeable change in mood.

It’s quite obvious to those around me too. I become less motivated, more tired and am easier to agitate.

Whilst that’s far from good it is beneficial to realise that if you are performing below your peak it may very well be due to a lack of physical exercise.

Fortunately I’m not the only one with this infliction, at a dinner one night one of our colleagues was commenting that he hadn’t been for his morning swim for the past two weeks. He was having problems focussing for a full day at work and when at home his wife found him increasingly annoying, tense and moody. His wife then literally walked him out of their house telling him not to come back until he has gone for a swim.

Whilst amusing for everyone other than his wife it does show the impact exercise can have on people’s mind.

Exercise truly does keep you mentally sharp, it can change lives and it is a positive cycle that continually builds upon itself.

Once you start exercising it is very hard to give it up, meaning that your brain will continue to reap the benefits.

The key benefits I’ve noticed that help keep your brain active through getting physical are:

Sense of Achievement

  • Beating your personal best is an amazing feeling.
  • You start out strong, thinking its easy then hit the wall, wondering why you do this to yourself, having to force yourself and push through the pain, just inching under your PB.
  • Pushing yourself harder is horribly difficult, painful and physically draining. Which is what makes the achievement, and the reflection upon it, all the more enjoyable.


  • When you arrive at work after a solid workout a strange sense of motivation rolls over you.
  • Knowing that you were up at an unholy hour to make the most of the morning encourages you to keep making the most of the day.
  • I’ve had many days where I arrive at work and I’m super pumped for some unknown reason; it’s the motivation caused from smashing it at the gym.


  • It’s no secret that the extra blood flow and benefits of exercise do not just last for the day, maintaining your activity level has long term benefits that helps you continue to remain active.
  • It has always struck me as odd how the more energy you put in at the gym, the more energy you get back.

Being mindful of the relationship between being active and alert can help you better manage your stress and emotions.

Hitting the gym may not be for everyone (at first, it wasn’t for me) but if you have an important meeting or event, remember to get out beforehand and get moving, it will help improve your mood and performance.