It is not about saying "I don’t have time."
What is Unleash? It is a tool for everyone to grab and start working on yourself. It is a method to start achieving all those things you have always kept safe on your bucket list. It is a revolution.
Working at X-Team as a Developer Unleasher taught me several things. However, most importantly it opened my eyes to a simple fact: You have a natural ability to find a million excuses in a fracture of a second for not doing something. Try it yourself.
Think about something you always wanted to do. Now think about why you have never done it. Easy. Now, do the same first step, but do not think about excuses, think about the ways of actually achieving it. That is actually more challenging but it gets easier, trust me.
My advice: be naive. You might be surprised by the effects. One more thing. Remember last time you said, “I don’t have time”?
During one of our Unleash Status Updates, Henrique has mentioned that he has always wanted to try mobile development. It fascinated him, but he never had enough time or drive to make his first step.
I could relate to Henrique in many ways as we had very similar backgrounds — both PHP backend developers for a long time but not much experience in frontend or mobile development. However, I already had some experience working with other X-Teamers, and I had a plan.
There are many different ways to learn something. Back in the day when you wanted to learn something in IT, you would most likely buy a book from a famous author related to the subject.
Lately, there has been a revolution of online courses, online tutorials, online schools, etc. They are proven to be some of the most effective ways to learn basic and advanced topics about the IT subject you are interested in.
There are other ways as well: conferences, mentoring, preparing something we call Crash Courses, and others. I found that a very effective approach is “learning by doing”, so I usually suggest to my Unleashees that they create a small MVP or PoC for the subject they are studying.
Having the resources to learn something is one thing but what I have noticed is that people tend to drop in the middle of learning something new or they lose their interest in something that inspired them in the first place. I think that happens when there is no motivation or when the person might not see the bigger picture.
A good solution, in this case, would be to set the goal of what should be achieved. For Henrique, it was to create a mobile application. Simply setting this expectation helps you understand the scope.
At some point, it is also important to set the deadline. It will help to keep the learning project as a PoC and to actually finish it rather than improve it endlessly.
Why is this Henrique’s success story? Why not someone else's?
Henrique is a perfect example of an Unleashee. Remember that saying “I don’t have time”? Well, this cannot apply to Henrique. Every day he could, he spent 1 hour before and 1 hour after his regular work to learn. That is some tremendous dedication right there. He never lost the momentum, he just kept pushing forward.
That allowed him to learn the basics very quickly and start applying new skills in practice. Shortly after, we were discussing creating his first iOS application. He had some time to pick an idea that would motivate him onwards.
The key here is not to create something big, but something finished.
Henrique shared with me that he really wanted to create a charades game. There was this app he really loved already out there but not in his native language. That then became his goal.
That shows an essential thing in the Unleash process. You should always be able to close some stages and progress to next ones. Once your learning stage is finished start doing and focus on only doing.
The app was created in no time; soon enough, Henrique had an app that other people could test and give him feedback on. From the creating stage, he switched to improving and closing. After the app was finished, he had to learn how to publish it.
The mobile development goal was achieved. Henrique can say he created an iOS application. What comes next?
Keep the momentum.
Not long after publishing the app Henrique got news that the project he was working on is coming to an end. Working remotely is always tied to the client — if there is no client, there is no work. X-Team cares about their X-Teamers and has special tools to keep good developers around.
One of the benefits of such time is that you keep Unleashing. I had a frank talk with Henrique to make sure he spends that time on learning new programming languages to become a full-stack developer as that is in highest demand at the moment.
It was a long term goal of Henrique anyway, so it was not difficult for him to jump on it. Just like before he put all of his energy in learning React.js and modern front-end tools. Here the most reliable source of information was online courses (Egghead, etc.). He learned basic things at first but later got into more advanced subjects of React and JS. This effort did not go unnoticed!
Henrique was offered another contract with the same client but this time with extended responsibility as a PHP / React.js developer!
Now, he is happier than ever, rocking with new technologies and Unleashing away!