Generosity with the Unexpected



Every year I sit down and create a specific set of goals for my projects. The goals are always aggressive, and every year I wonder to myself how we are going to do it. Most years we spend the first few months trying to come up with a strategy for even making the goals possible. This is by no means an easy endeavor. And achieving the goals on this list is extremely important to me. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

What is not on the list is just as important to my future as what is on the list.

For the past five years “Getting a team set up with continuous integration has never been an explicit goal. Neither has “introduce and administrate an agile process to increase the maturity and efficiencies of teams.” Or “introduce git as a superior version control alternative to TFS and Subversion”. But to me, these things that don’t make the list are major contributors to my success because they foster an attitude of generosity.

I don’t believe success happens without generosity. Plans never explicitly state “be generous to others and solve problems.” But those who follow this path end up being lifted up by those whom they served, being served in return. I think this is a secret to my success: serve others generously, which builds a community of generosity of which I am also a recipient.

In contrast, the one who is stingy and focuses only on that which will advance their own interests will end up hitting a ceiling of productivity. At some point those around her are alienated, aren’t growing enough to contribute at higher levels, or aren’t properly engaged in the vision of growth that is required for success to be achieved.

I have a standing invitation for anyone to put thirty minutes on my calendar to get continuous integration, issue tracking, or distributed version control set up on their project. Even though it isn’t on the list of my explicit goals, it is my pleasure to make the world a better place, and, in turn, it indirectly helps me reach my own goals.

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