2020 – Overcoming Fear

2020 – Overcoming Fear

How the Power Platform and the Community can save a shitty year. A quick review of what this horrible year was all about for a Microsoft 365 consultant.

It was about becoming fearless and embracing change.

Wow. 2020 was a lot, wasn’t it? January, February, March, Lockdown, December…..and Lockdown again.

At first, I thought there is no good reason at all to ever talk about this year, ever.

First rule of 2021: Nobody talks about 2020.

Second rule of 2021: Nobody talks about 2020.

…you get it, don’t you? That’s why we’re friends 😉

But then it came to me, that not despite a catastrophic global Pandemic, but because of it, it’s absolutely crucial to think about this year and what has happened. I met a lot of folks who automatically fall into the Pandemic Trap:

“2020 sucks, right?”

“Yeah, right, everything is horrible”


That let me to two things:

  1. You can easily overlook good things that may have happened to you, leaving you with an empty feeling, trying to heal the bruises in your soul and questioning yourself how to proceed.
  2. I was almost afraid to join conversations like these and say “well, actually there were a few good things that happened”. Is it socially expected to join the whining? Kind of, if you have some empathy, no?

For me it is inspiring and important to hear from people who achieved something, who didn’t give up, despite a horrible worldwide tragedy. That gives me hope, that helps me to set things into perspective.

The more I think about this year, the more I conclude, that for me personally it was absolutely fantastic. Yeah, Corona sucks monkey balls, no doubt about it 🙊

2020 – Fuckin Fearless

I looked back at my recap 2019 and what I wanted 2020 to become. I must say, I fuckin nailed it!!!

My theme for 2020 was #fearless and I never thought it would be so fitting: Out of your comfort zone, less worries, trying new things and reducing fear, despite all the circumstances.

Yes, Covid made it difficult to not worry, to abandon fear and to try new things the way I intended to, but nevertheless I did. After setting my path in 2019, I was going it in 2020. I did what was necessary. It was often difficult and heart-breaking, I doubted my decisions often, but I persisted.

During 2020 I had a mindset that would have let me describe the events as follows:

I became a single dad, moved from a huge flat into a tiny apartment, I had to go on short-time work, doubted myself professionally, I struggled financially (like, really hard) and quite often I didn’t know how to go on.

But I met people on the way, that shifted my perspective and I like to describe my year like this:

I freed myself from a toxic relationship, found my true self and am flourishing, found the community to be the family I need, re-defined my own job and my role, focused on what’s important, freed me from unnecessary ballast.

Furthermore, I started my own blog, got a few certifications, held hold many sessions, founded different communities, engaged myself in different communities, actually became a Power Platform consultant AND got Automation Projects already. 

Since this is a recap I use to review my own path, I want to take a deeper look into the different aspects of it.

From Work – Onward towards the Power Platform

I come from a non-technical background (I majored in Educational Sciences) and am mostly working in Adoption and Change projects. Analyzing organizations, looking at processes & methods and deriving the work culture from them is my daily business. From there I usually start helping people in organizations to plan their Microsoft 365 Rollout, baring their employers and their needs in mind and even questioning old and outdated working principles.

But I got into tech for a reason, one of them being the challenge and improvement. Regular jobs are getting more and more IT inflected. Therefore, if my goal is to help people enjoy their work more, by taking out the unnecessary bullshit and add value and sense, I had to understand the modern IT workplace.

Understanding and being able to convey the basic principles behind Microsoft 365 remains a fundamental part of my work. And I know that many people find the change to a new way of working unfamiliar, difficult and perhaps even frightening. I’m always on the lookout for new examples and great use cases to give people a new, modern view of work.

To work work – Confusion is the sweat of learning

Power Platform helps me with that, of course, and after feeling pretty confident in Power Automate (and even writing my first flow with code 🥳 – big step for me) I’m still kind of not comfortable with Power Apps.

So, I sought help and started learning, trying things, experimenting. I experienced a few little quick wins and wanted to learn more, so I set out to get certified and study for the PL-900 – and passed. Wow, I was hooked. So, what’s needed for the next certification? I kept studying, trying to understand CMS, dug into Power BI and you know what? I learned so much theory that I forgot almost everything practical and sat in front of Power Apps completely confused as I tried to build my next app.

It was so frustrating. And that’s when I realized that if I want to learn something new, there’s only one thing to do. I just have to do it. Over and over and over again. And then again. And then I should write down my experiences, too.

That’s why I started the Learn Nuggets mini-blog series. Every little bit of info I learned, even trivia, I write in a mini-blog. Later, when I ask myself how I solved problems and learned things, I use that as my very personal learning journal. And so far, every time I’ve published a learning nugget, others have benefited from it as well. Perfect.

But this was all for work (which means things I do for fun, private projects, my own learning path, community work, etc.), not work work (actually paid customer projects).

Back to work again

So my journey to the Power Platform is far from over. And it often left me confused, exhausted and frustrated. And that’s when PJ Metz came along. I saw his session at Start.Dev.Change. and was literally BLOWN AWAY (srsly, watch it right here on youtube).

He invented the phrase “Confusion is the sweat of learning” and I quote it quite a lot since then. It is okay to get things not at first try. It is okay to feel completely lost when learning something new. That is actually a good thing. It means, that you are learning and making progress.

And as soon as I realized that I started focusing on the Power Platform on a professional level as well. I have to throw myself out there, out of my comfort zone to learn and embrace new things.

And I had success with that. I finished my first Power App (for a client who also paid for it) in August this year. And in this real-life scenario I learned a ton of things. Far more than any training session ever did. And just as this year is about to end the best thing ever happened. Somebody asked me to be on a Power Automate project, because he recognized me from my social media activities and people actually said my name, when he was asking about somebody being familiar with change management and Power Automate. This still feels so wild. It seems self-perception and external perception are two different things.

Community – Get backup and support from the gang

Going more and more technical in 2020 beside my personal situation was a lot, honestly. Quite often I didn’t know how to proceed and I could’ve never done all of that on my own. I had help. A lot of it. That maybe the most important thing to happen in 2020 by far:

After I started my twitter Account in 2019, after discovering that there is something like a tech community and dipping my toes into it, I found this community to be my true family in 2020.

I was embraced and welcomed by the most amazing and wonderful group of people I can wish for. I managed to flip my whole life upside down and was encouraged, believed in, supported and accompanied ALL THE TIME. I don’t know what or if anything of these things happened without the community.

Especially in times like these, in times with Covid, it became far more important to reach out to your fellows, to connect, to ask, to care and to be there. I don’t know how to express how thankful I am but with one thing:

Dedicating my theme for 2021 to the thing I’ve received in 2020! My theme for 2021 is #HelpOthersGrow

In conclusion I can say that I found far more than I expected:

  1. I found my true self
  2. I found the Power Platform to be my primarily working focus
  3. I found a home in the community

2020 was a difficult year, no doubts. But all the struggles made me better. I’ve grown and I will continue to do so. Now it’s time to reach out to others to offer a helping hand.

Let’s make 2021 better. Together we achieve more!

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