So This Is 30.

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When I was in high school, my journalism teacher made us end every news report with “-30-“. Why -30-? Nobody really seemed to know. But if you saw it, that meant you’d reached the end of the story.

So I suppose that for most of my life, I’ve been thinking of 30 as the end.

Which is why it’s funny that today — my 30th birthday — doesn’t feel like much of an ending. My 20s were great to me: Studying abroad in Spain, covering an Olympics in China, graduating college, San Antonio, Biloxi, Columbia again, Springfield, the Stry.us team, the BuzzFeed team, New York, and Sally.

(Most of all, Sally. Seriously, how lucky am I?)

I’ve had an amazing life. Now my 30s are here, and I’m so excited about the decade ahead. This one core belief is as true as ever: We’re all trying to find things we love and people we love, and make time for both. Everything will change — but not that.

Onto the next.

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That photo’s by the photographer Johannes, and was first published on Unsplash.

Let’s Get Uncomfortable.

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I hate feeling comfortable.

Why?

When I’m comfortable, I’m not challenging myself.

When I’m comfortable, I’m not learning new things.

When I’m comfortable, I’m not trying to reach really big goals.

So what do you do when you start feeling comfortable?

You can start a new routine. You can set a new goal. You can launch a side project. You can learn a new skill.

But you have to do something — nothing isn’t an option. If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.

So push yourself to do something new. Get uncomfortable.

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That photo of a literal crossroads comes via photographer Peter Nguyen and Unsplash.

Set Learning Goals For Yourself.

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There are a lot of things you can’t control at your job. In fact, the longer you stay at a job, the more you realize that many — if not most! — of the things that happen at work are outside your control. Successes are a group effort, and so are failures. I’m not here today to talk much about that.

What I do want to discuss are the things you can control. They’re smaller things, but they really matter:

You can control your work ethic: how hard you work, how smart you work, and with whom you work.

You can control your attitude: the energy and enthusiasm you bring to your work.

You can control the way you communicate: the way you talk to your co-workers, follow up on projects, and collaborate on your work.

There’s one more thing that you can definitely control: The amount you learn every year.

I just finished J. Keith Murnighan’s “Do Nothing!”, a book about learning how to adjust to a new leadership role. And in it, he makes a powerful case for setting learning goals for yourself and your team.

The idea is simple: As you advance in a job, you need to keep improving your skill set, your habits, and your knowledge, too. If you’re not learning more, you’re going to eventually hit the upper limits of your abilities — and peter out at your company.

So what’s the way to fight that? Keep learning. If your company has a learning & development team, take advantage of their classes! If not, talk to your manager about having the company pay for outside classes — something online, something at a local university, or something hosted by a professional organization in your field.

And if that’s not a possibility: You can always commit to two things that don’t cost a dime: 1) Reading more books, blogs, and articles, and 2) Networking with people in your field and asking great questions. Learning doesn’t have to come through classes.

This is the first year my team has set specific learning goals. We’re committing to learning new skills — how to get more out of Google Sheets, how to grow in managerial positions, how to communicate more effectively. And by making learning a bigger part of each job, I hope we’ll be able to grow that much stronger as a team.

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I love that ad at the top. It’s called “Vintage Ad #950: You’ll Have to Move Fast to Get Smart” by Jamie, and it’s licensed under CC BY 2.0.