The Week in Review – 1/21/18

It was a cold, snowy week this week.  For my part of the country snow, in any amount, really makes for a lot of excitement.  That said, there weren’t too many travel problems on my commute, just several days of very cold temperatures.

I did, out of an “abundance of caution”, take one day this week to work from home.  The home office setup I have and the VPN connection to my office made it one of the more productive days of the week.  One of the biggest contributors to the extra productivity being the two hours I would normally commute were converted to working hours.

Themes for this week other than snow included:

  • Sweat Part II
  • Git Source Control
  • Deployment-palooza!
  • A new theme
  • My Zone of Genius
  • Things that go Thump!

Sweat Part II


I woke up early each morning and hopped on the trusty elliptical trainer for thirty minutes Monday through Friday.  The American Heart Association’s recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise per week was well and truly met.

git Source Control

I wrote a post on introducing AWS Code Commit, what it is, what it does this week.  It was inspired by questions I was getting all week long on how to use git source control.  I’m a command line junky when it comes to technology tools and git is no exception.  Because I started my foray into using git from the command line and built up from there I feel i have a pretty good understanding of not just how to work with git tactically but the theory and strategy behind it as well.

So, for that reason among others, I am the one that team members come to when they run into a dead end or need help figuring something out.  Actually helping people become more proficient with git is something I really enjoy doing.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something really productive after a Q&A session with someone on git.

Deployment-palooza!

This week, we had a veritable plethora of deployments that had to go out.  It’s weeks like this that we’ve committed to automated builds and deployments.  With our system to deploy with a button push instead of manual file copies, the time it takes to push and verify a change in production is greatly reduced.  The setup takes some manual intervention as we are still standardizing our configurations but as that works itself out we are becoming more and more efficient.

A new theme!

I re-worked the site with a new theme, Verbosa, this week.  I wanted to make different elements more prominent on the site and I think Verbosa is the right theme to help with that.

I did think that the hyperlinks were a bit hidden.  So, with a little custom CSS, I added some text-decoration and they are much more apparent now.

a, a:link { text-decoration : underline; }

Adding this to the Verbosa custom CSS via Customize in WordPress did the trick.  Now all the hyperlinks in articles display with familiar underlining.  Much easier to pick out in the post.

My Zone of Genius

I am still listening to “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks.  I plan on doing a full review once I’ve finished but one of the exercises in the book so far is worth talking about here for a minute.

The major focus of the book is increasing productivity and happiness by aligning what you do with what he calls your “Zone of Genius”.  Those things you do that you go beyond excellence in and that make a true impact on you and the world around you fall within your Zone of Genius.

But first, you have to find those things that fall within your zone of genius.  To do that, you are asked to answer a series of questions.  Your answers reveal the things that you can consider your zone of genius.

Some of the questions include:

  • What is it that you most like to do?
  • What do you do that feels effortless?
  • What do you do that produces the highest ratio of results to effort?
  • What is your unique ability/superpower?

By answering these questions you arrive at your zone of genius.

When I answered these questions I gained some insight.

  • I like to help people solve problems by giving them skills and answers that increase their abilities.  Basically, I like teaching the skills I have learned to help them solve their problem of the day.
  • Question and Answer on a topic I’ve studied come easy for me.  Learning a new skill or concept simply takes me sitting down and making a study of the topic.  I can then turn around and answer questions to help solve problems.
  • By taking on a project in a concept that’s new to me I learn the ins and outs of that concept.  As I work through the project, documenting what I did, and any gotchas I run into I learn the concept more deeply.  I can then turn around at the end of the project and create a checklist or how to guide on the concept that helps others follow a more efficient course of action to get to the same result.
  • My superpower is explaining a complex concept or providing instructions to whomever I am working with in a way that they understand it, and are set up for success.  I can intuitively adjust the concept I am explaining to avoid being condescending if it is already well understood.  I can also adjust to provide finer detail and more step by step guidance if that is needed to insure success.

In essence, I learn new concepts and how to apply them quickly and easily.  I can then consult on those concepts to help others succeed with them.  This can be through direct, face to face consultation, or through writing a process or procedure manual for others to follow.

So, with that understanding in mind I’m going to be looking for ways to consistently operate in my Zone of Genius.  I am going to seek out opportunities to learn new things and be consultative in them.  Worst case, I learn new skills and help a few people out that have questions.  Best case, I become energized and find a path that takes me to the next level of achievement and happiness.

I’m excited to get started on this road ahead, but, before we go…

Things that go Thump!

Yesterday as I was heading downstairs to my home office I took a tumble.  My foot hit something at the bottom of the stairs, still to be determined, and slid out from under me.

In what felt like slow motion, or at least that’s how I am remembering it now, I went into a near full split.  Somehow, I hit the floor with my knee, shoulder, elbow and back simultaneously.  It hurt.

I must have yelled in pain because before I could even site up my wife and three daughters were at the top of the stairs, worried looks on their faces, asking if I was alright.  I said I was, hoping that would prove to be true upon closer inspection.

After a minute to gather my wits I determined there was nothing broken, and nothing hurting bad enough to warrant a trip to seek medical help.

Needless to say, I am sore today.  Luckily, there’s nothing worse than that to report.

Stay safe everyone.  Keep an eye out for stair gremlins that lurk in the shadows, trying to trip you.

Have a great week!

— Nat

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