Imagine 2029

Imagine it is 2029. Describe it to me. What is going on in your life, your family, your job and in the world? What were those amazing things you dreamed about in 2024 and did those dreams come true?

Five years ago, Gene Kim, a good friend and mentor of mine, challenged me to do a thought experiment. He asked me about my goals for 2024. I started off giving general aspirational goals around making a positive impact in the world, at work, supporting my team and my family. He dared me to get specific. He told me to imagine my future self 5 years from now. What would I be proud to have accomplished if it could be anything in the world? Write it down, he said, so you can pull them out in 2024 and compare your dreams to reality. It was so clarifying, so motivating and so powerful.

When I started this exercise in 2019, I confess, I thought some of my goals were audacious if not ridiculous. But as my friend challenged me, I wrote them down anyway.  Here is what I imagined in 2019 about my 2024 future:

  1. My team and I helped Disney deliver a large new guest delighting product that wouldn’t happen without our SRE efforts.
  2. I became an author of a book and several papers on leadership and using DevOps practices to accelerate business.
  3. My team and I partnered with our businesses to expand the impact of SRE and our SRE approach to toil reduction.
  4. I’m an inventor listed on a published patent and have several patents pending.
  5. My family and I enjoyed several vacations together, managed to stay out of debt and were able to fund college.
  6. I’m the maintainer for at least one Open-Source project with over 100 stars and an active community on GitHub.
  7. We updated our home with energy efficient windows, solar panels, and built a domestic robot to help our family at home.

Not all my dreams have come true. But many of them have. In fact, all but one! My robot is still a bunch of lines on a paper, a 3D printed arm and a pile of wires in the garage. Still, I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have accomplished even half of those things if I hadn’t listened to my wise friend and made note of my goals.

We hunger for a mission and objectives that we believe in. We prioritize time for what we think is important. State your mission. Define your objectives. Make those dreams come true, one step at a time. But it requires that first step… Imagine.

Are you ready? Let’s dream into 2029. Take a breath. Close your eyes and push out all other distractions. What will make you happy? What do you want your world to be like? After imagining that, open Notes or your favorite note taking tool with the title, “Goals for 2029” and write down 7 things. Do you believe in them? If so, save your dreams, revisit them every year or so and make them happen!

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas living room with a Cocker Spaniel sleeping on a blanket in front of a warm fire. Photo by Adobe Firefly.

Last week ended the 12th day of Christmas and Epiphany on Saturday. I sat by the fire this weekend, in the frigid 40 degree Southern California weather, contemplating my plans for our holiday decoration removal. Unintentionally poetic, we have ended up with 12 large bins that store our lights, trees, ornaments, greenery and candles. It’s beyond ridiculous. We don’t have any lords a leaping, but we do have some ladies dancing and if you will listen closely to our Scottish background music, there might be some pipers piping. I tripped over a few turtle doves on my way to get some coffee by the maids a milking, all in an attempt to amplify my motivation. 

Lighting hooks, ladders, boxes… logistics were flooding into my mind like those drummers drumming. I knew I needed to get moving, but my head was swimming around like those seven swans a swimming. I took a stroll outside to survey the outdoor décor removal. It was dusk, so likely nothing would happen today but I was building my mental checkbox and dropping items into my packing list like those geese a laying.

At this point, I need to mention that we welcomed a new girl into our family this Christmas. Her name is Elizabeth and she is a Cocker Spaniel we adopted from the local animal rescue center in Santa Paula. She is a sweetheart and I can’t help but sometimes call her Ms. Lady, from Lady and the Tramp. Anyway, she was helping me with the survey mission but as the cold wind blew, she talked me into going back inside. As is her new custom, she drug her blanket over to our fireplace and began walking in fast and determined circles on it like those five golden rings, until it was “just right”. Off to sleep she went. I shut the door and wondered what she would think about missing those beautiful black birds that had landed on our lawn. Maybe she was dreaming about the French hens instead.

Oh no! Somehow Epiphany became Sunday and the runway was running out to get all the holiday goodness packed up and stored. Oddly, it didn’t seem quite right. I discussed with my family and my true love said to me, “I’m not quite ready to take it down.” I was elated! Looking at the cheerful twinkling lights, glowing candles and shimmering ornaments, I agreed completely. It was clear that the décor needed to be enjoyed and age a few more days before it was ripe for picking and packing. 

I know what you are thinking. You have neighbors like us. They keep the lights up way to long. Yes, to keep the season special, it must be put away to be enjoyed again next time. We normally do that sort of thing religiously, but sometimes it is good to give yourself some license, some kindness and grace to pause and enjoy the moment. We wanted to sip a little more on the beauty that is all around. Do you feel it too? It’s wonderful! 

We will pack tomorrow, but today, we will enjoy the wonder of the season for a bit more. I encourage you all to do the same. Even if your holiday wares are all packed up and tidy, spend a few minutes this week reflecting, meditating and appreciating the goodness and joy that every season brings. Life is glorious, precious and can easily be missed. Enjoy it!

Oh yeah, and I’m still looking for the partridge in the pear tree…

Have a great week!

Christmas lights on a house, tress ans bushes in the evening with a snow covered yard. Photo by Adobe Firefly.