Edouard, it’s very courageous to highlight your career mistakes. Aren’t you afraid of breaking your own image?
Absolutely no. I made so many mistakes along my professional journey, that I see myself as a very stupid human being.
Sharing our mistakes, and how stupid we were sometimes in our lives, should become really natural.
It helps external world to have a whole picture of your true self, compared to what you have been through.
Considering yourself stupid as a specialist, can be scary and harmful, don’t you think so?
Well, whoever labels himself as intelligent, is a psychopath. If you know one, run away.
Why? Because your true successes, detecting and solving blindspots, are more related to what you don’t know, rather to what you know.
Truth sets you free. It’s ok to be stupid, we’re all stupid at something. All we have to do, is to keep failing fast, and master what we’ve learned.
That’s what may give us an appearance of “smartness” or “reference” in specific domains.
What are the mistakes you have done?
I can list some mistakes I have done sequentially:
- Never seriously implemented design patterns, so I created a lot of unclear, non architectural code.
- Didn’t show enough authority, and relied too much on executives when I was attacked by jealous peers unfairly.
- Didn’t teach more colleagues around me about my knowledge, so they could recognized me as expert in various fields
- Complied too much to fit in the mold
- Let fear of being fired prevents me from raising flags on nonsense processes
- Never paid too much attention to my side projects, they are a real indication of what fits me naturally
- Having worked for money instead of working for greatness, money is purely a consequence
- Being held accountable for nonsense I tolerated, because of this need of compliance
- Lied on lack of productivity inherited by nonsense, because of fear of being fired
- Lied to myself for preventing my greatness to shine at any time where I feared being fired
- Lied on what I really deeply wanted, because I needed to work
- Failing to understand many years that truth = success, because of need of compliance, again fear of being fired if I stepped up
- Accepted to work on the architecture of others when I knew it was obviously, and contextually wrong, so I’ve been accountable for nonsense work
- Resigned on breaking too opinionated mindsets on smart changes, because of fear of being fired
- Refusal to be a control freak on my own weaknesses
- Failure to correctly assess my strengths on one task
- Fear of looking at the cold hard truth in the mirror about me and others
- Not being persistent on sport, to keep a competitive mindset
- Not writing to myself more, it’s like looking at the mirror
- Not reading more about more things
- Not taking pre-established concepts to simplify and demystify them
- Not firing people when it was necessary to do so
- Taking advices from people not living my context, instead of just listening
- Living the life of others by too much compliance
- Not working more on open-source projects
- Not gathering more experiences from different people
- Underestimating the game of perceptions
- Not challenging concepts taken as truth
- Teaching too much uneducated people instead of imposing my choices in specific cases, debates are a loser game
- Refusal to micromanage in crisis time (only crisis time, in other contexts, micromanagement is a bad practice)
Those are some of the mistakes made over 14 years of career. Note that, all of them are related to me, not to others.
I see mistakes as a video game. You are only allowed to move to the next level of the game, when you stop repeating the mistakes that are causing your failures, otherwise you will be condemned to live the same level over and over again.
With the heatmap of my recurring mistakes, I succeeded to define the kind of discipline I needed to adopt, both personally and professionally.
Can you identify your own recurring mistakes?
Fear of being fired, too much compliance, so no transparency, and more distance to the cold hard truth, without even noticing it.
When you’re not saying the truth, you are lying to yourself or anybody else. In business, it always leads to non sense and lack of productivity, justified by the need to be compliant and respectful of hierarchy.
There is no better approach to destroy potential, and greatness in people. It was extremely painful for me to realize that I have been lying to myself without even noticing it.
How did you step up?
First of all, by giving up my life of employee, for a life of consultant. I needed this freedom to start unlearning everything i have been taught as “the right thing to do”.
Secondly, I adopted a radical transparency, and cold hard truth approach, because truth will always be the shortest path to success, in business, always.
Finally, I no longer worked for money. If my values and who I want to become are aligned with the goals of my clients, money will follow value.
How can someone accept to work for no money?
Think about your job as a mission for mercy, in which you are the mercenary.
Competition through globalization wants your head on a spike, so you better kick your ass off, or someone else in the world, will kill you.
Your only option is to become extraordinary at what you do, and get paid for the specific results you produce.
This process requires so much discipline and obsession, that what becomes important is not the money, but the journey. Money is only a consequence.
If you are wired like that, even if you do your job for free, money will always find a way to follow your value, you can’t fake it unless you’re a thief.
That’s why I’m always asking for the minimum compensation, with significant bonuses upon achievements (where value is really created).
To contact Edouard Kombo, refer to his linkedin account: https://bit.ly/393M3dg