I've always been a fan of Talking Heads, and in particular their Twilight-Zone inspired track 'Once in a lifetime'; and while the lyrics are largely concerned with an existential mid-life crisis, there's a line that always strikes me, where David Byrne says:
"and you may ask yourself - well, how did I get here?"
And maybe its because I've been listening to some old Talking Heads albums recently, or maybe because I'm approaching a certain age... but I am catching myself increasingly reflecting on how I've come to be living the life I am - I've never had any grand career ambitions or 'life goals', so its not always easy to look back to spot the markers along the path I've followed.
However, one thing I am certain of is that a lot of who I am and where I am today is because of other people who (with hindsight) have had influence over my thinking and choices made - sometimes by offering an opportunity for work or visit, and sometimes through challenge or encouragement. And mostly they didn't need to do the things they did that have contributed to who I am today, but with graciousness and goodwill they freely shared something of themselves and their time.
So I've decided I really should try and thank these people as I now go forward into whatever (mis)adventures await; but in keeping with my avoidance of career plans, it won't be in any formal or structured way. It'll be when I come across them at conferences or their name is suggested as 'someone I may know' by LinkedIn.
So watch out - I won't be publicly 'naming and shaming' you, but you may be approached by someone in the future who says 'thank you for that time 10 years ago when you...'.
I think its perhaps a practice we should all perhaps try and do more of in not only better understanding ourselves, but also in encouraging others to keep on changing the world for the better one person at a time...