Hit refresh on your web browser. It doesn’t delete everything on the page and start from scratch, does it? Instead it keeps some things and enhances others, writes Bill Gates in his foreword to Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh.
And well, hitting refresh in our own lives is pretty similar. Instead of starting completely from a blank slate, these ‘hit refresh’ moments enable us to boost our careers, personal lives - and even communities - to make a sustained impact and skyrocket to success. Here at the MVP Award Blog, we asked MVPs to share some of their hit refresh moments - and how their lives changed as a result. Check out a few of their great stories!
In 1997 I joined the Technical Education team in a large corporation to serve as a trainer in Microsoft Office. Several months later, my next-door neighbor who worked for the same corporation, asked me over our backyard fence, "Hey Dale, does your Tech Ed team teach Microsoft Project classes?" I answered, "No, why?" And then he told me he had several groups of people in his department who needed training on the software.
I told him that if he gave me 30 days, I would prepare to teach classes. Little did I know at the time that my decision would directly lead me to a career as a Microsoft Project/Microsoft PPM trainer and consultant, which would give me the opportunity to co-author 21 books on the subject. It would also lead to nearly 15 years as a Microsoft Project MVP. It's a good thing I said "Yes" and not "No"!
I actually have two hit refresh moments in my career thus far; one was not my choice, and the second was a change of my own making.
In 1999, I had just turned 30 and was working for my uncle. I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing, but I wasn't utilizing my education nor potential. To summarize it simply: I was coasting through life. Fortunately for me my uncle saw this. And in a manner of speaking, he fired me!
He sat me down and told me if I didn’t move on, I would blink and I’d be 40. He didn’t want to see me still sitting here doing the same thing 10 years from now. Thank you, Bill Pegg, for opening my eyes that day. He “hit refresh” for me.
I ended up landing a job at a “dot com” in Toronto, and learned Dynamics GP for the first time – it’s for this I have earned the Microsoft MVP Award. But fast-forward a few years, and the “dot com” bubble burst - along with my job.
I moved into consulting in the Dynamics GP space, working with a couple of resellers. After a few years, I was getting frustrated with the amount of travel I was doing. I was also seeing no change in how we developed new staff, meaning we could never reduce the reliance on the same few people doing the majority of the billable work.
My second hit refresh moment came after posing a suggestion to leadership that I take a day off a week to help develop the skills of junior consultants. I was flat out told I was “too billable” to do that.
It occurred to me the culture would never change if there was no benefit seen from developing young staff. Within a few months, I turned in my resignation notice. The day the news got around that I had resigned, I received a phone call from another person senior to me who proceeded to tell me “my work-life balance is not their problem anymore.” They attempted to pile on more work to “wrap up” before my last day. Within a year of leaving, I started working for myself, still in the Dynamics GP space. That’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
As a kid I was bright and stubborn at the same time. During high school I dedicated more time to music than studies. When I was able to pass just three high school finals, most of my friends were packing their bags to enroll in university. I felt that I missed a hoop, and a chance to score something big.
My wife (then girlfriend) told me “not to worry, but to dream.” My family wanted me to achieve more despite my failure. That is when I hit refresh in my life. I started a job, and studied what I loved the most - computers. I decided that I would never allow myself to fall last in line.
Three years ago I became a Microsoft MVP in Cloud technology. I’ve been recognized as an expert in cloud computing, I've travelled around the world, and I've spoken on many stages to educate thousands of others who aspire to become experts.
Today I empower people and communities to achieve more with technology and help organizations to make the world a better place. Perhaps in retrospect, if I hadn’t failed to achieve better results years back, I wouldn’t have pushed my limits to become the best version of myself. I believe that everyone has their own beat. It’s just a matter of tapping into the right rhythm.
This post is part of the collection of #HitRefresh moments, inspired by Satya Nadella’s book Hit Refresh. You can read more at www.hitrefreshbook.com.