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How Tech Titans’ Wisdom Can Inspire and Guide Your 2024 Professional Journey

By Jacquelyn Adams

While I am not one for ‘New Year, New You,’ I very much subscribe to assessing our life in seasons of change — whether that’s literal weather seasons, changing jobs, moving, or any other changes that come with life. And, yes, that can include the new year. So, as we embark on 2024, let’s take some time to check in with ourselves. Let’s lean into this period of introspection, particularly as a time of reset in the fast-paced world of technology, because how else can we meet the demands to evolve and adapt? In this contemplative spirit, let’s turn to tech’s most influential minds to guide us in considering the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead.

Embracing Risk and Overcoming Fear

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

– Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

– Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

Yes, it might come off as a bit trite, but often, trite sayings become this way because they are repeated truths. So how about this? When we are faced with a new challenge, we take a moment to consider a set of scales. On one side, we put the risk/failure; on the other, we put not trying. We calculate the risks on each side. While we love the ‘no guts, no glory’ mentality, we also judge the overzealous fouls who heedlessly charge into unknown ‘opportunities.’ This quote from Bezos highlights the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone, taking calculated risks, and not letting the fear of failure hinder your potential. In the dynamic field of technology, where innovation is crucial, such an approach can lead to groundbreaking advancements and personal development.

The Importance of Continuous Learning and Improvement

“Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

– Elon Musk (SpaceX and Tesla)

“Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all.”

– Satya Nadella (Microsoft):

As someone who grew up as a know-it-all, I loved how Nadella switched it up with being a learn-it-all. There are many avenues for learning new things — books, online courses, YouTube, certificates, etc. We should constantly be taking in new information, and some of that information should be challenging our preconceived notions and the way we do things. The things we learn should make us uncomfortable sometimes. These leaders emphasize the critical role of continuous learning and self-improvement in the tech industry. They suggest always seeking knowledge, questioning existing methods, and being open to new ideas. This mindset fosters personal development and drives innovation and adaptability in a rapidly evolving industry.

Challenging Yourself and Pushing Boundaries

“Keep pushing your limits.”

– Sundar Pichai (Google)

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

– Ginni Rometty (IBM)

By pushing personal and professional boundaries, individuals can discover new potential, drive innovation, and remain competitive in the tech industry. Embracing challenges is essential for growth and staying relevant in a continuously advancing field. Again, there is nothing wrong with comfort for a season, but if it is our constant state of being, we are not growing and will become obsolete.

Leveraging Relationships and Learning from Others

“Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.”

– Marissa Mayer (Yahoo)

Surrounding ourselves with knowledgeable and experienced individuals can provide invaluable learning opportunities, insights, and a good dose of humility. However, ‘smart’ should not be how much information we can retain. These intelligent people are the unique problem solvers, the work/client relationship troubleshooters, and the people with any skills we lack. Those are the smart people we need.

Passion and Dedication in Work

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

– Steve Jobs (Apple)

“Let your joy be in your journey — not in some distant goal.”

– Tim Cook (Apple)

These quotes speak for themselves; honestly, I have nothing to add… except a request. When you finish the article, consider taking five minutes to assess if you are satisfied with your work. It is not the perfect job because it will sometimes be difficult, complicated and ugly. However, 40+ hours a week of your life is a lot to give. So, if you aren’t currently satisfied, what would it take to feel grateful for your journey?

Ultimately, embracing these principles is not just about achieving professional milestones; it’s about evolving as individuals and contributors to the ever-changing tech landscape. Let’s challenge ourselves regularly as we move through this year and beyond. Let’s strive to learn more and consider things from a new angle. Let’s surround ourselves with smart people who inspire and teach us. Also, let’s be satisfied with our work, even in the hard seasons, as we navigate the exciting and sometimes uncharted waters of the tech industry.

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Jacquelyn Adams

Jacquelyn Adams, founder and CEO of Ristole, uses her column to delve into the wild world of leadership. Whether the article is about her days as a Peace Corp volunteer, exploring corporate training, or even grabbing lunch at Chipotle — she will come out with a story and her “top tips.” As she passionately believes in leveraging her platform to share others’ voices, her column welcomes guest bloggers to create a fuller and more diverse pool of experiences for her readership. So, welcome to “Lessons on Leadership” where you never know what the next article will hold: online networking advice, guidelines for creating a joyful workplace, or even puppies. Just keep reading to discover what’s next!

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