Little by little...

Little by little...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Listen to What You Are Saying

How do you answer when people ask, “What do you do?” I have been explaining “agile” to people outside of IT more than normal recently. I give them a 2-minute spiel about the value of collaboration and fast feedback and et cetera, et cetera. They usually nod politely and change the subject.

The most recent conversation was last week. I was in Vegas for the Agile Development Conference and Better Software Conference West. I was out with some friends and one member of the group did not know what agile was. So I gave him my spiel and answered a few questions.

He then commented on my passion for what I do. He wished more people had my kind of enthusiasm for their work. I found this amusing, as I hadn’t tried to sound passionate.

As I considered it further, I thought about various friends and how they sound describing their jobs. One friend in particular came to mind. She got her dream job several months ago and can barely contain herself when you ask how it’s going. She oozes joy and satisfaction.

Contrast that with others who sound frustrated, tired, bored or all of the above. I am not talking about dealing with challenging moments in their careers. These are the people who wonder how they “ended up” in their jobs. Or they stopped learning new things because they are “experts” in their field - their boredom is apparent.

Whether you intend it or not, your attitude permeates your words. I have dealt with a lot of frustration and roadblocks, as we all have. And I am guilty of being cynical and sarcastic at times, just like some of you. But through it all, I have maintained a passion for making things great, and it came through without me needing to say it. 

Have you ever listened to what you are saying? When you give people your 2-minute spiel, what do they hear? Passion? Anger? Disappointment? If you don't like your answer, what are you going to do about it?

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