I’ve come a long way since first writing “The Plan” in January 2011. In that blog post, I challenged myself to look ahead and think where I would be in the years ahead. Asking, “what are my goals?”, “how will I get there?”, and “what will hold me accountable.” Looking back at that blog post, I can say that I now know a lot more about myself and how I’ve grown since then. What did I learn? Well, I missed pretty much every target I set for myself over 6 years ago, so you do the math.

Why did miss those targets? Well, because things change. People change. The world changes. And adapting is what makes us – in the end – successful, or not.

What’s characteristic about that blog post is how dedicated I am to the path of becoming a journalist or writer. In fact, it’s evident, even to this day as I carried that tradition on to this blog. However, since 2014, I have set myself on to a different path entirely and it’s a complete 180 from the humanities based education of my college years.

For the past two-and-some-change years, I’ve been a technical support agent for the most wonderful marketing automation platform in Atlanta. I’ve learn SO much and I can’t begin to explain how valuable this experience has been to me. That said, this path was no where on my radar at the time I sat down 6 years ago to set in ink – or digital binary, if you wanna be picky – the course I would take in a perfect would.

So what was the big lesson? Plan to change plans.

It’s now time to formulate my next steps. The next iteration in “The Plan”. And I think I should draw on the lessons I learned about in my previous attempt. Moving forward, this lesson of adaptability is vital as I flatten out the multidimensionality of chance into the sober prediction I’ll refer to as “the next step”.

If I had to say whether I was ‘successful’ based on my previous predictions, I would say that I didn’t do half bad. After all, I did end up “working” (see: interning) for Creative Loafing. And I did some… stuff with my college newspaper. But, one thing I never saw coming was falling in love with podcasting – not writing – which you can argue I do a lot more of in my spare time now. And I never saw myself in a more technical role than, possibly, an Editor referencing AP Handbooks. I never accounted for chance or – or even life – to play a part. And, boy, did life throw me some curve balls.

So, what will I not see coming next?

I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking on and off about how I would approach this next tier – the next S curve – of my professional development and here’s what I’ve come away with:

  • Keep learning things
  • Do cool shit
  • Don’t give up

I’m hoping my next 5-ish years will abide by those simple axioms and guide me to where I want to be. Which brings me to the specifics.

Where do I want be?

I have some very specific milestones I want to hit in order to pursue a path of data science and in my next blog post, I’m going to outline precisely what those are, along with the challenges I face, and how I want to approach them. For the next 6 to 12 months, I think I can predict with a fair amount of accuracy how that will go – after that, it’s anyone’s guess. However, the goal of this next step is to build a skill. Then use that skill. And have confidence that it’ll all work out.

Here’s to the rest of life!