July 18, 2013

Taking Stock and Picking Up the Paddle

July 18, 2013

I’ve spent a long time in the current of life, and even though I have a paddle and the personal strength to direct my course, I just continue to float without considering where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.

I’ve been reflecting on things that I’ve done recently and what I might wish to explore or change, however, I’ve not really done the work of taking complete stock of things in my work and home life with regard to activities, behaviours, shortcomings and strengths. In writing this, I realize I am considering doing a SWOT analysis (for those of you familiar with them).

So, I’ll make a list of what I am doing and evaluate each item. Do I like it, am I good at it, what do I need to change about it or do I need to do it at all? There may be more criteria I will use to evaluate but those are certainly a start.

I’ve received advice about goals and purpose: do not stay still until struck by some ultimate goal, rather, to start moving and see what goals and purposes emerge from my actions. I feel that in order to best start moving I need to take this inventory and do the analysis then grab that paddle and start heaving in a direction of my choosing.

Have you ever done a personal inventory? Have you ever taken stock of what you are good at, what you are not, what gets you jazzed, what annoys the hell out of you and at the less extreme just bores you to tears? If you have, share your story in the comments, or send me an email if it’s too personal.

Did you find this post enjoyable or helpful? As always, your comments and thoughts are encouraged. Subscribe and get my latest posts by email or in your feed reader.


  1. In software development, as in life, I think iteration brings great value. So many people stay stuck or they avoid the issue of pursuing their goals entirely because they are waiting for that big break or breakthrough. I heard a quote today that makes so much sense to me: To change your life, you have to change at least one thing you do every day.

    It starts with small changes, evaluating the results, and moving forward. The direction we're heading is important as well. It's amazing how important the following question is and at the same time how little time most of us spend on it:

    What do we really want?

    Great post, Jay. I'm trying to live life on purpose and think about what really matters. My kids will never be 2yo and 4yo again. Today is what matters.

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    1. Hey Luke,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. I especially like the quote about changing one thing each day. That's similar to my learn one new thing each day idea I used to subscribe to.

      I agree completely with your living life on purpose—with intention. This is not the same as finding a purpose which I was struggling with. I was focused on finding some

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  2. I think of it more in terms of where I am being led or directed, but the lists that I've made that really helped me were of my desires. I'd list them and then be honest and look at the conflicting onesand make conscious choices. That's helped me more than anything.

    making such a list requires serious brutal honesty. ;-)

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    1. Anne,

      That list, and being honest with oneself is what I see as the key. When you keep moving without assessing where you've been, and where you're going is aimlessness and leaves you (read me) feeling lost and without purpose.

      I plan on listing the things I like to do, the things I'd like to do less (or not at all), the things I haven't yet done, and the things I'd like to change in my life.

      I hope that this will help me find focus and carve my direction forward.

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  3. Jay Gilmore: Your post could be a wake-up call... I have don't a SWOT analysis many times, but I will do one for my total worklife in the near future. Thanks for sharing the insights-full entry!

    Btw: I like the clean design of your site! :)

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  4. Martin,

    Thanks for your nice comment. I appreciate it. I am still working through things and haven't really spent much time with the stock taking yet. I really need to get back to it soon though.

    Also thanks for the compliment on my site design. I did it myself. I wanted to have it as minimal/content first as possible while still having some personality. I am no designer but I can mould CSS pretty well.


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