“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I am an introverted extrovert”. I hear this claim quite often in this era of solitude, Zoom, and whispered declarations. Maybe it's one of those things you comprehend if you also share this archetype. The way I see it--I want to be alone--unless there is something worth venturing out for (personal). Or, give me a podium or a mic--its go time (professional).
As an independent data analytics professional I can attest to the fact that professional collaborations aren’t the most engaging or public "work environments". I am typically the defacto expert in the room and with the exception of a few IT folks--I am working this thing solo. The collaboration is in the form of selling the transition from spreadsheets to automated analysis, data visualization to data actualization, or building a more powerful analytics engine by including location intelligence in the actual workflow. I am basically stumping for my supper.
Building and maintaining a busy spatial analytics practice reminds me of gardening. What can I say? The weather here in North Carolina has been spectacular lately. A friend recently notified me that she had been working in her garden and had some plants to share. She methodically roamed the space with a shovel either pointing to things we could dig up or digging them up herself sharing the stories and best plans for the plantings. Her generosity speaks for itself but she said something that I kept turning over in my head. In response to my numerous questions about how she established the garden, trying to find little insights to increase my chances of success--she merrily shared, “sleep, creep, leap”. Year 1 the plantings will sleep. Year 2 they will creep. And if luck has anything to do with it, Year 3 they leap.
The first thing to realize when attempting to establish a garden especially when transplanting--the first year, the plant rests.
This reminded me of my work in spatial analytics. My vision for my data professional life was verdant but needed more of a focus on location intelligence. Taking the time you need to study and learn skills is energy worth developing. Think of it as the dormant but important step of developing roots and foundational elements.
I return to workshops and scan the options for skills I may not have learned or used in a long time. If something thrills me and I find it useful I tuck it away for a webinar idea. Think about it this way--if you are amazed or surprised it is quite likely there are others.
This week it was a return to Google Earth Engine.
We finally have growth! The small little seedlings of last year arrive a bit more confidently this year. The flower bed seems a bit less embarrassed let's say. I am waiting for my peonies to take off but I think patience is called for.
Coincidentally, after a year of classes and workshops my geospatial skills are finding their way into new projects. Big data should be filtered through trends in location preferably over time. Nothing will be more important when we sift through Census data to see where populations may have been undercounted and how these profound insights will influence more than representation in congress. The electoral college will be redistributed (the number of votes is the number of house seats plus the 2 senate seats), Medicare/Medicaid spending, and about 300+ Census-guided federal spending programs.
In a garden and in other life endeavors there comes a time when the familiar becomes easy. Glancing out of the kitchen window in the spring I can see the clover thickening, the rose buds swelling, and a few flowering vines that I have long since forgotten the name of beginning to mark their renewal. As if on auto-pilot the garden begins to bloom-ish. There are areas that in some years get more attention than others but there is always a minimal viable level of activity that happens whether I go out there or not.
But if you want year 3 of plantings to be spectacular you need to cultivate them right to the end of their adolescence. If you have been nurturing and thoughtful, this is the year of abundance.
This is the time to take chances--leap if you will--in your career and life. I am easing into a comfortable routine of presenting remotely and leading workshops from my office chair. A few blossoms of opportunity are seeding in-person invitations but I am going to enjoy the final days of the old normal.
Check out Clubhouse. It is still in beta and open to iPhones only for now. If you need an invite hit me up. Its been a big leap but we have been hosting some interesting conversations.
Sign up for our newsletter!
Browse the archive...
Thank you for making a donution!
In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”