The Power of Meeting People
It's almost impossible that I can pass on all the things I've learned in the past months, so that won't be the goal of this post. However, I'd like to channel, at least, a bit of all the excitement and good vibes that I've been feeling.
Going To Conferences
Recently, I've been asked the following question several times: "Why going to conferences if you can watch the talks online?". This comes up mostly because of what it takes for us in Argentina to afford all the expenses.
Well, that's mostly what I've learned: Going to conferences and meetups is not just about learning technical stuff. You also meet new people, you make new connections, you get to know different mindsets, and learn different ways of thinking. You also have fun. You also end up with new ideas. You also change. And by changing you grow, in your personality and in becoming a technical expert. And a big list of etceteras, which can all fit in this fact: You learn about life.
Of course, all of this depends on you: you have to be open to these kind of experiences; otherwise, they won't happen. Anyway, if you just start by being open and keeping a good attitude overall, the rest will just happen and everything will flow at some point: it's nature.
What Meetups Can Do
About five months ago, I started to organize Swift meetups in Buenos Aires. At that moment, I had no idea what a meetup represented, and I didn't know what meetups could do for us. The only thing I knew was that "you meet other fellows and share knowledge". Of course that happens, everyone ends up learning new stuff. But, besides that, I can guarantee that meetups have power. If you put energy into it, it will be spread, as simple as that.
During our first event in June, two talks were given, and we began meeting each other in this local community. The feedback was great, and I was quite excited about it.
Later, in September, we held our second event, and the outcome was awesome: even more excited people than the first time, and three speakers with whom I kept in contact after the event. I gave them my good feedback about how everything went, and their feedback to me was gratifying too. All of this made me want to go on with it.
Besides the stuff overall, I also learned that little things can make a huge diference. For instance, in his talk, Francisco Depascuali mentioned an app for a charity project he was working on: Proyecto Alimentar. For non-spanish speakers: it's about a community whose commitment lies in reducing the contradiction between people wasting food and the need of other people for it, i.e. turning that wasting into helping.
Getting to know these kind of things really motivates you; everyone learns from each other, yet it's not only about the technical knowledge.
With results like these, you feel thankful, happy; but most important, you feel empowered to do more and more things that can help the community and, why not, the world. At the same time, you feel successful in your career path. Give and take. It's about life.
We Are Sowing
Everything we sow today is tomorrow's harvest. Somehow, we are leaving a mark. If we want to live in a better world, we have to strive for it.
One thing I've realized is that spreading good messages pushes people towards success. And, of course, everything depends on what kind of success we are talking about. Individually, I'm talking about growth and personal fulfillment. As for communities, I'm referring to collective development and general well-being. I hope that's the success most of us look for.
In relation to what I mentioned above, meetups and conferences are a great place for these things to happen, and it's really good to know that. This is mainly why I'm writing today. If you have participated in these kind of events, you will probably know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, it's never too late: I encourage you to do so, you'll experience the benefits by yourself. If you want it, go for it.
I've just talked about meeting people and getting involved in communities. Enhancing your social skills does contribute to your Career Path. But, what about your technical skills?
It's worth mentioning the importance of maintaining a balance between your technical and social skills. When you look at the big picture of yourself as a professional, these two complement each other. To be one day an Architect or a Lead Developer, you wouldn't be complete if you're pure technical, in the same way you wouldn't be complete if you're just social either.
Mentors, Not Idols
Finally, I want to stand out the importance of having mentors. Not only in your professional career, but also in every aspect of your life.
Mentors are people from whom you learn, people who inspire you, people who motivates you to grow. Nevertheless, they do not escape from the fact that they are just that: people. They are humans; ergo, not perfect. They make mistakes, as you do. They learn, as you do. They can be really good at certain things, and really terrible at others, as you are. Be aware of that: Always remark the good aspects of every mentor in your life, and take the best of them. You would not want to be like someone at all. You might want to acquire someone's knowledge and/or ways of thinking in certain aspects of your life. This is the best way of being yourself: choosing, prioritizing, and being selective, always being guided by your principles.
Again, mentoring is a give and take. Without realizing it, you might be mentoring some people in some aspects of their lives, too.
A lot can be discussed on these topics, but this article ends here. If you enjoyed it and are eager to read more, below you'll find a list with some related resources that might be of your interest. Thank you for reading.
- Healthy Minds in a Healthy Community - How communities can be a good place for helping and being helped.
- Come Together - The outcomes of meeting people face-to-face instead of virtually.
- The Secret Life of a Digital Nomad - Good talk on escaping from your comfort zone and some advices you have to keep on mind while doing so.
- A Retrospective on Try! Swift NYC 2016 - A summary of how it felt attending this conference.