nformation Technology (IT) is supposed to be geeky, technical and complex, right? IT is filled with specs and facts, thousands of products and solutions and more acronyms than one would ever desire to use in a lifetime! It’s supposed to be unemotional, pointed and simply make things work better, more efficiently, faster… pretty bland and black-and-white. And don’t blink for even a second, because when you do, everything you once learned, mastered and solved will be obsolete, more complicated and irrelevant!
So, I find it very ironic that my 35-year career in technology has given me the greatest, unexpected and non-technical gift… the realization of five life values. Never obsolete; simple; forever relevant.
Over long careers with just three Rhode Island-based technology companies, and thousands of leadership, client, partner and employee positive and challenging experiences, five core values rose to the surface that I try to live my professional and personal life by each day. They were all not entirely new to me, but many evolved over time or became a higher priority for me. A couple are surprisingly new and were not previously placed at the top of my list. After all, I was only 20 years old when I entered my first technology career job, so I had a lot to learn in many ways.
At 59 years old—and 35 years and three IT careers later—I’d love to share my five life values with you.
To me, empathy is about seeing, feeling and embracing a challenge or situation from the lens of the other person and aligning my response and action in favor of the other and the outcome they desire. It’s not about me.
A modest viewpoint of myself, my accomplishments, my professional position and any small positive impact I may have contributed. I always aim for the biggest target and desire to make a difference; however, it’s always felt more rewarding to me when done with quieter intentions.
No matter how terrible, exhausting or challenging life may feel to me at a certain moment, there’s always someone else out there going through something far worse, far more life-impacting, far more everything. I try to keep things in perspective and it seems to help calm any storm or anxious moment I’m traveling through at a given moment. I say to myself, in the grand scheme of things and what others are facing, my dilemma is not as major as it might feel.
I try to be open, fair and willing to listen to another’s view, angle and thought about a situation, challenge or idea being brainstormed. We all have different behavioral and social traits and diverse strengths that we bring to the table. I’ve found that an open, collaborative and diverse mix of viewpoints always delivers a better and more complete solve—and always aligns more broadly to everyone versus just ourselves and those like us.
Make a Difference
I try to approach life with the strive to leave what I’ve encountered just a little bit better than how I found it. It can be really simple things too, and doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering change. A bunch of small positive actions add up to a mountain of difference over time.
I may discover that the next several years may adjust or even rise a new life-value to the surface for me, and that’s OK… however, I’m confident that the five above will travel closely with me and forever be a timeless set of values I hold near and dear to my core.