This is not a technical post. The past few months have flown by as a result of several large changes in my personal and professional life. The month of April was a wonderful four weeks of relaxation, reading, writing and reconnecting with my family as I enjoyed my 5-year sabbatical from Adobe. During the disconnect from work, I found myself contemplating where I was in my career path and setting new goals for the upcoming year and years (I am a 5-year planner by nature). Towards the very end of the sabbatical, I discovered an opportunity at VMware for a Virtual Infrastructure Architect on the OneCloud team — VMware’s internal cloud offering. A few weeks later, I found myself accepting the role and agreeing to move my entire family from Utah to Northern California. May was a subsequent blur as we searched for houses on the Internet and prepared for me to leave the family behind for a month in June.

June 1 found me in Palo Alto living in temporary quarters and starting a new job for a new company while my family remained in Utah. It has been an exciting 6 weeks! After sorting out permanent living arrangements, selling the house in Utah and waiting for a delivery truck to take 11 days to drive 11 hours, my entire family has joined me in California. We’ve now begun this phase of our adventure and the challenges that come along with it.

What does this have to do with the second part of the post title, “Getting to the Next Level”? During my last few years at Adobe, I had the great fortune to find an amazing mentor. At the time the mentoring relationship started I was struggling with where I was in my (at the time) present role and what looked to be a very dismal horizon. He helped me through the issues and I eventually ended up working in his organization — not a goal when the mentoring began — nonetheless, a welcome change. When I accepted the new role here at VMware, he was one of two people I was most concerned with telling about my decision to leave. During that final 1:1 meeting, he recommended to me a book that has quickly become one of the very best pieces of advice he has ever given me in the six years I knew him.

He recommended I read the book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter. Mr. Goldsmith is an executive coach/mentor who published this book discussing the various points of common behavioral characteristics/problems many successful people have. I began reading the book while I was living in Palo Alto during the transition in June and although the book is only a few hundred pages long, I found each page engrossing and worthy or re-reading. It has taken me a lot longer than expected to read the entire book as a result.

I have found the advice and insight offered by Mr. Goldsmith to be invaluable, especially as I transitioned to a new company where I had an opportunity to make good, lasting first impressions on those I work with. I have already decided to read the book a second time when I finish the last chapter this week, knowing that this time I need a notebook/pen nearby so that I can write down much of the advice given in the book.

If you are looking to get to the next level in your career or personal relationships, I highly recommend reading this book! It will not be a quick read, but it will be well worth the time invested.