1 min read

One of the most impactful things I've read is an essay called "Managing Oneself" by Peter Drucker. Every year I take some time to read it again and reflect on the questions it poses.

This is a summary of how I have applied the key lessons I learned from it to my career.

Identify your strengths and double down

You can only create great results from things you have a natural advantage in. Life's too short to spend outsized efforts to eliminate your weaknesses. This doesn't mean you don't address your weaknesses. It means you only develop them to a level where they are not debilitating for you.

I used to say yes to any work assignment because I am naturally curious about learning many different things. Now I maximize my involvement in projects aligned with my technical strengths. I say no to almost everything else wherever I can.

The same results are created in different ways by different people. Knowing the best way YOU create results helps you articulate it to others and organize how you work. For example, I work in a very unstructured way. I produce my best work in very small teams or alone. And I learn best by reading and by doing.

Select yourself into the right environment

For you to do your best work, what you value must align with the values of the people or community you work with. It is up to you to figure what they are and find the right set of people. I learned that I work best in flat hierarchies with people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. But I had to experience working in a strong bureaucracy to learn that.