Acknowledging My Deepest Fears

“Scared is a superpower” – The Doctor.

Apologies in advance, you’ll often catch me quoting or referencing Doctor Who. It’s a comfort thing, I do it quite often. Just ask those closest to me!

Anyway, carrying on from my last post, I’ve decided to stop letting certain things rule and control my life, and rather acknowledge that they exist and learn to stay on top of them. Last time, I spoke about my lack of confidence in social situations. Today I wanted to talk briefly about the things that scare me.

This is a particularly difficult thing for me to write about because it means I am facing the things that I avoid every second of the day. I know the power that voicing my fears has over them, and I know this is for the best.

There are three things that scare me a lot:

  1. Dying young
  2. Dying alone
  3. Dying unsuccessful

I guess you could say that I am afraid of death in general. I know that, and I have known that for a long time, but I’ve been able to narrow down why.

Dying Young

I am twenty years old, I feel like I have so much to offer the world, and so much more to experience! I’m sure I’ll feel this way for a lot longer yet! The last thing I would want is to have my experience on this end cut short in some way or another. I’ve got an anaphylactic peanut allergy that was discovered at the ripe age of ten months old. My mother was eating a piece of toast with peanut butter on it and, being the food lover I was and still am, I wanted a taste! She gave me a small bite and it shut me up… quite well! To cut a terrifying long story short, I basically died that day. My mother rushed me to the doctor around the corner who performed CPR and revived me. I was diagnosed with an anaphylactic peanut allergy, and it has dictated my life ever since. It’s something you get used to though; you know the safe foods, you don’t experiment too much, and you know the procedure in case of emergencies. It’s something that rarely affects me too much. But it is something that could mean the end of my life within five minutes of trying a new food, or even eating something I know is safe that’s been accidentally contaminated. It’s just part of my life and has slowly caused me to become paranoid on a daily basis.

Dying Alone

Last time I was on this topic I said that it was something I didn’t often think about, so let me clear it up a little. I’m talking about having close friends and family in my life and spending time with those that I care about. I have a tendency to shut off from those closest to me, and I’ve recognized this as something that I want to change. The best part of being human is the ability to love and be loved by the other humans around you. I am extremely lucky to be living with my Nanna at the moment, and I am enjoying the time we’re spending together. I’m enjoying seeing other extended family members while being down in Melbourne as well, it’s great to be around them. I am trying to build stronger friendships as well to avoid this fear becoming a reality.

Dying Unsuccessful

Success is different for everyone, and I’m figuring out what my success looks like every day. It’s my responsibility to make sure that I continue on my own path to success and can help others out along the way. I’ve had hurdles in my life and often let them get me down to the point I struggle to see the light at the end. But take it from me: There is always light. There is always hope. You can always turn a bad situation into something great.

I didn’t graduate high school originally. I was on track in the earlier years, I really excelled. I was a natural academic and achieved great grades. Then I got distracted and lost focus, eventually becoming one of the few that fell below the pass mark. Not only did that affect me, it would also have impacted the overall state score of my cohort. To this day I remain ashamed of my actions, but I’ve taken a lesson from it. I can see now what happens when I lose focus and take my eye off the end goal, and I have to keep myself in check.

How to Use Fear

Fear isn’t a bad thing. Fear can be a superpower if we let it. We need to let it remind us of what we don’t want to be without, and to hold close to what is truly important. Never forget what you want for your life, and learn to listen to what your fear is telling you. Make small consistent steps in the right direction towards your own success, whatever it may look like.

I am on a personal journey of discovery. I love all things technology and science and am excited by progression. I enjoy engaging with and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

“Frequent Blogging” and Acknowledging Introversion

Hello Again (Finally)!

I know, I know… I said in my last post that I was planning to blog a little more often… and I know that was over six months ago… but hey! Cut me some slack! It’s been quite a year for me so far.

Just like the previous post, I am currently sitting on my Nanna’s spare bed in Victoria… this time, it’s permanent! I made the decision to migrate south this Winter, and begin a new chapter of my life. Oh, that reminds me! Last time I wrote a small segment set one year in the future. I mentioned all the things that I wanted from my life in 2017, and living in Melbourne was one of them! Let’s have a look at the summary of this segment again.

Bio – Tim Combridge, December 2017 (12 goals)

 

 

  • Turn 21
  • Move to Melbourne in Q1 2017
  • Studying Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Better budget – better financial state
  • Living independently (away from family)
  • Exercise schedule
  • Food preparation – healthier eating
  • Lost 15kg
  • Socialising more
  • Writing online blog – building better habits
  • Learning Mandarin
  • More familiar with HTML, Swift, and Python

So far, I have moved to Melbourne, I have a much better budget, I have started exercising more frequently, and I prepare at least 50% of my food for the week ahead of time so that I can control my portions and the content of what I eat. That means that I have achieved four of twelve of my goals. I’m pretty happy with this!

We All Change

Something that I’m learning more and more throughout life is that the most important thing to keep in mind if you want to be more successful in life is to make plans and to know where you want to go in advance. The second most important thing is to recognise that humans change throughout life, and you need to adapt your plans to accommodate these changes. For example, I had a goal to begin studying a Bachelor of Computer Science this year. This is still something I’d love to do, but I no longer think it is plausible for this year because I have a more immediate plan to purchase my first home. If I am to take out a home loan, I need to have no debt or minimal debt, and studying a Bachelor (even if I continued working full time) would mean I have debt against my name, that could play against me when I am prepared to take out a home loan.

I’ve reviewed my personal goals, and have listed them below.

Bio – Tim Combridge, December 2017 – Revision II (11 goals)

  • Turn 21
  • Studying Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Better budget – better financial state
  • On track 
  • Healthier eating – cook more, cover more meals
  • Under 100kg (Currently just under 120kg)
  • Networking more
  • Online presence (blog and Snapchat at this point, Podcast later)
  • Learning Mandarin
  • More familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Salesforce Apex
  • Salesforce Certifications – Sales Cloud Consultant, Salesforce Advanced Administrator

My focus has changed from generic IT to CRM and database management, specifically Salesforce. I’ve been using it for just under a year and, as cliche as it sounds, it has changed the course of my life. From the learning experience of migrating multiple databases with different information to the culture of Salesforce and their Ohana beliefs, I’ve really enjoyed my experiences so far and have decided to hone in my skills. This is why a few of my goals have changed with regards to that.
You’ll also notice I changed (or, made more specific) a few of the other goals, working to create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Trackable).

Am I Still Human?

Okay, now we’re getting real. There are times I wonder about my ability to interact with other people, and if I actually enjoy it. I moved to Melbourne halfway through May, and have been in a near solitude ever since. From having a number of friends within a few kilometres to living with Nanna and knowing a small handful of other people. I use an app called Life Cycle to track my daily movements and activities, and I noticed a significant drop in the “Saw friends” activity the month after I moved. I’ve spent a lot more time reading than I normally do, and I’ve spent a lot more time sitting and thinking. I often think about meeting new people and going out. Part of me wonders if I even enjoy being around other people, but all of me now knows that I need to learn to enjoy it.

I want to become better at networking in my professional life. This is one skill I’ve struggled with in the workplace. I’ve loved the people I work with on a daily basis, and have made many long time friends, but I struggle putting myself out there and meeting new people in a networking setting. I’ve been to multiple events, and always catch myself hiding in the corner glancing at a sign, then looking over to another, then back to the first.

Finally, there’s the whole topic of companionship. When I was in the earlier years of middle and high school, I always had a romantic interest. Often times, I obsessed over these romantic interests. It created a lot of unnecessary complexity in my life that I only later realised wasn’t great in the long run. I let my grades become effected, I let other good friendships get run down, and I eventually anchored my self-worth on what these people thought of me or how they treated me. As you can imagine, the last few years of my life I have been single and not too bothered by it. I recall the earlier years and who I was then and compare it to who I am now and what it means to be single. I enjoy it. I enjoy working long hours and planning my life fully around what I want to do. I enjoy planning my future around what I would like to achieve and making decisions based on no one but myself. It is a very selfish way of living, but I am enjoying it. Occasionally I’ll catch myself wanting to meet someone, but a voice in my head shuts it down quickly by pointing out the ridiculous freedom to do anything that I currently experience.

These are a few of the things that I do or think that make me question if I am a “normal human”. I enjoy being alone, I enjoy prioritising myself and planning around myself, I struggle when it comes to meeting new people, and I struggle keeping my energy for long periods of time in large or new groups of people.

In my partial solitude over the last few weeks I have thought heavily on this and decided that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is healthy to acknowledge it. I acknowledge that I am an introvert, and that this is very different to the extroverted “class clown” that I was in my youth. I acknowledge that this being introverted is not bad, but different. I acknowledge that there will be a few people that I hold close to me in life, and enjoy spending time with people one-on-one as opposed to being in a group setting.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this is that my introversion is not something to feel bad about or be angry at myself over, but definitely something to acknowledge and understand. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I haven’t written since my first post at the end of last year – I misunderstood what was going on. I confused introversion for lack of confidence. Now that I understand this, I can plan ahead. I can plan to isolate a small number of people in a large group of professionals, I can organise my time to spend more one-on-one time with close friends, and most importantly I can remember that it is better to give new things a go than to be limited by my introversion. Introduce myself to others who use Salesforce, crack a joke amongst a group of friends, and just say hello to the girl across the room! Life is short. Experience it, and enjoy yourself while doing so.

 

I am on a personal journey of discovery. I love all things technology and science and am excited by progression. I enjoy engaging with and sharing knowledge and experience with others.
2017

Goodnight 2016 – Putting the Year to Bed

2016 in the Rear View Mirror

I’m currently sitting on the spare bed at my Nanna’s place in Victoria. I’ve driven for two days through inland New South Wales and stayed with family along the way. Yesterday I went out for a milk run and got a little distracted. I went down to the neighbourhood I grew up in, and drove past the school I went to when I was younger, the place is unrecognisable now! I love to reminisce like this, I’ve always been sentimental like this.

christmas

Myself and my younger cousins on Christmas day, 2016. 

Just before leaving for Melbourne, we had a Christmas celebration at work. During this celebration, we were presented with a “Book of Reflections”, which was a compilation of reflections written by each staff member. We were instructed to write a piece about the year that had passed. I found it incredible to read about how other people saw the year compared to myself, and to read the stories of those who I hadn’t had a huge amount of contact with during the year.

I recall sitting down to write my reflection. I’ve had an incredibly busy month or so, so I wanted to get it written and submitted quickly. I had a quick think back to when I started with the company and decided it was a good place to start. This activity forced me to reflect on all the things – good and bad – that had happened in my year at work. Once I submitted the piece, I started thinking about my 2016 outside of work. It prompted me to do my own personal reflection of the year.

Going back to January, I was lucky enough to extend my IT traineeship into the first six months of 2016. I had an incredible mentor back there, and made many good friends who I still maintain contact with. I was recovering from a bad breakup and still discovering who I was as a person. My health wasn’t the best it had been, and this was the fault of my bad diet. I started to pick up the pace a little bit with my Diploma of Graphic Design study, but found I would lose motivation when I got some bad feedback returned to me from the assessor. This would continue to be a problem for months (until this day, actually) and would mean that I had to extend the course multiple times.

me

A photo of me using a VR headset at a JB Hi-Fi.

I was scrolling through Facebook in February and came across a job offer, which I put in an application for. I had finished all my studies in the traineeship and decided it might be worth applying for a new job, even if just out of curiosity. Shortly after applying, I was invited to go to an interview. During this interview I was told about the incredible culture at the organisation, and all the quirky ways they show their customers and staff that they care. I was very impressed! At this point in my professional life I’d done a short time at Video Ezy, a number of years at a small bakery, and worked as a trainee at a government school. The company I was interviewing at was something very different, and I knew it from the beginning. I was invited back for a second interview with the COO shortly after, which was also successful. By the end of the month, I had been offered the job and accepted it with glee.

Upon starting with the new company I quickly made friends and got to know everyone. That’s one of the things I loved about doing IT Support – I loved chatting to people about their day as I tinkered. It was a quick and sure fire way to learn about people and get to know them. Talking to people I quickly discovered something that is encouraged at the company was the pursuit of dreams.

It’s a good thing, and something that isn’t a big topic among adults these days. Dreaming sounds like a childhood pastime, not something that working class adults should be focusing on, but why not? Why can’t adults dream and imagine themselves in different places, jobs, or situations? Dreaming is a powerful tool that can be used as a motivation for people to advance, to grow, to develop!

Opportunity was another concept that was strongly encouraged at my new job. I was offered new experiences and coaxed to leave my comfort zone. The biggest opportunity for me was the chance to take on an IT project. I’d never had a project assigned to me in the workplace before, at least not on a scale like this. Reading more into it I was terrified. I felt that there was such an importance for me to get this right, and I feared the consequences if I were to fail. This is something I’ve struggled with all through my life too. I’ll always focus on “what could happen if it goes wrong?” rather than “how great will this be if I nail it?”. I don’t like to think about the amount of opportunity has passed by me because of this mentality.

team

Some of the incredible people I worked with in 2016.

Looking Back

2016 has been a big year. I’ve made many friends, and said goodbye to others. I’ve made big achievements, but also stumbled and fallen. I’ve been held back in the past, but also accepted opportunities.

I’ve been able to pay off my second car, which was an incredibly achievement for me. The loan duration was for three years, and I had it paid off in six months. That said, the whole time I was still hung up over my first car. To this day I miss that car, and I catch myself wishing I hadn’t handed it over to scrap in February. I’ve noticed that this can hold me back from truly enjoying my car, as petty as that sounds. Something I’ve decided to do prior to the commencement of 2017 is to let go of the past. Yes, I loved that car. Yes, it was my solitude in darker times… but these darker times are over now, and it is my turn to shine.

Gavin.jpeg

Gavin, my first car. 1989 – 2016.

So to you Gavin, thank you. Vale my old friend.

“Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not, miss them do not.” – Yoda

I’ve also allowed myself to be hung up on failures of the past. You’ve probably heard me say “I failed year 12”. Although this is true, I have since achieved my Senior Certificate by other means, but I will still tell people the same thing – “I failed year 12”. I think I am afraid of being ordinary, as odd as this sounds. I’ve decided that 2017 will be my year of being extraordinary in a different way – my goals for the future. I want to inspire people, not impress them by my growth. I want them to join me for the journey.

Going Forward

I’ve had so many incredible influences this year rooting for me all the way along, and I am very grateful and lucky. That said, I can’t coast off the success of 2016. I’ve coasted off of previous success in the past and became static and dormant. I refuse to do this again.

So what does this mean for me?

I have three mantras that I’ve decided to live by in 2017. The first one I’ve lived by in 2016, but the second two have slowly developed and I’ve decided best to put them into words for the new year.

  1. I believe that there is no failure in life. Everything that happens, whether it is good or bad at the time, is a potential to learn. It’s all about what I decide to do with these experiences.
  2. Always be determined – never give up. Adapt to a situation, by all means, but never do so because it is “too tough”. Go Forth. Finish. “Do, or Do Not – There is no try.” – Yoda
  3. Never be afraid to dream, and always be brave enough to chase those dreams. This is the only way to achieve incredible things.

Yoda.png

Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, said to be the wisest of the Jedi. 

I have been reading a lot of bios recently, and inspired to write my own. Across a number of different services, I’ve seen people write things like the following:

  • I’ve travelled to multiple continents
  • I can speak fluently in seven languages
  • I’ve got a brilliant family
  • In my free time I love to keep fit
  • I’m currently studying a insert incredible smart sounding degree here

Inspired by these things, I’ve decided to write my own bio for 2017. Essentially, this is what I want to be true by the end of the year.

Bio – Tim Combridge – Current as of December 2017. 

My name is Tim Combridge. I am 21 years old, living and studying in Melbourne. In the last year I’ve restructured my life in three main areas – health, studies, and adventures. I moved to Melbourne in the first quarter of 2017 to be closer to my extended family and to begin studying a Bachelor of Computer Science. Prior to the move, I planned a much tighter budget that granted me better financial security and allowed me to live independently. Because of the time management skills I’ve learnt last year in 2016, I’ve been able to exercise on a schedule and have time to properly prepare my food. Because of this, I’ve recently lost 15kg with plans to lose that again! I’m feeling so much better for it. 

In my spare time, I like to go on adventures. I’ve recently been on a camping trip with my cousin where we proved once and for all who was Nanna’s Favourite Grandchild. This was achieved by catching the most fish whilst camping. 

I’ve made many new friends in Melbourne in 2017, and developed as a person. I am more patient and disciplined. I have also started writing more frequently online in the form of my blog and on other websites. 

I’ve started learning a new language – Mandarin – and become more familiar with the coding languages of HTML, Swift, and Python. 

Goals from Bio

Reading the bio above, I’ve incorporated many goals that I’ll have for 2017.

  • Turn 21
  • Move to Melbourne in Q1 2017
  • Studying Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Better budget – better financial state
  • Living independently (away from family)
  • Exercise schedule
  • Food preparation – healthier eating
  • Lost 15kg
  • Socialising more
  • Writing online blog – building better habits
  • Learning Mandarin
  • More familiar with HTML, Swift, and Python

I plan to keep track of these goals through 2017, and would love to be held accountable to them. If you see me starting to slip, please gently point it out to me so I can realign myself.

I would encourage you to write your own Bio for the end of 2017. Writing down what you want your life to be can often help concrete it and encourage you to take ownership. This is your life, make it truly yours!

One More Thing…

OneMoreThing.png

Steve Jobs – one of my idols.

This year I was kindly invited to attend the Future of Leadership conference in Brisbane by the company I work for. Among many brilliant intellectuals, one stood out to me – the quirky Dr Jason Fox. I won’t go into heavy detail about who he is, but I will highly recommend reading his material.

Something he’s done in recent years is the concept of “choosing One Word”. Long story short, this word will live with you through the year and remind you of your goals at the outset. This word should be a role, something you can visualise and something that holds value to you and your goals. Your word will, ideally, hold you accountable to yourself. You’ll think, “what would a (your word) do?” Or “am I being (your word)ly?”

I’m deciding on a word for 2017. This word will be what I refer to when things get hard. This is what I will refer to when I lose focus. This is what I will refer to when making plans or decisions. This word will help to direct my future in 2017.

My word will not be something I take lightly. For this reason, I’ve not 100% decided on it yet, and I don’t intend to give myself a timeframe or due date to do so. This word must be something I am sure of – it is a quest, not a mission. I must FIND my word, not PICK it.

I would encourage you to read this article by Dr Jason Fox, and begin searching for your word for the year ahead.

jasonfox

Let’s make 2017 our year.

#risein2017

I am on a personal journey of discovery. I love all things technology and science and am excited by progression. I enjoy engaging with and sharing knowledge and experience with others.