Celebrating the Zen Cohort While Lamenting Limitations

It’s okay to be not enough for a direct path. Follow your own path.

Please don’t take a shot for each time Zen is mentioned. You may not survive to complete the post.

For a person who doesn’t write tutorials for fun (because I‘ve done it at work for years and it’s not a fun exercise for me), spend a lot of time on public vizzes, or a natural speaker, I had an incredible year.

This year, I had the opportunity to continue to work with Tableau Magicians, help VizConnect, be a very recognized leader of #MentoringMeetup, a Tableau Featured Author, mentored terrific people who had a lot of success, had an opportunity to get contracted to write a book on Tableau (with advance and everything) and passed because it wasn’t right for me, amassed over 1,700 connections on LinkedIn, 2,600 followers on Twitter, somehow won the Michael W. Cristiani Community Leadership Award and 1,100 followers on Tableau Public. This was done by pretty much only talking Tableau while autistic and battling depression the entire time.

Regardless, I fully understand what I am seen as by some and because my path is unique. My entire life I have been seen that way because my thought patterns align a little differently (and that’s okay). It stings to feel like you are a little less than even if you somehow attained some success.

I’m super proud to be an ambassador and see new Zens that I recognize and worked hard toward that path or somehow carved a new one.

The weird thing is that I never really desire to be a Zen. I’m likely not leaving my employer and lack of motivation when it comes to that stuff that I would rather see people that don’t look like me be Zen (and shared that publicly) but would also love for a person who is on the autistic spectrum to represent the Zens somehow and be an inspiration to other autistic or neurodiverse people. It certainly doesn’t need to be me, but having someone would be nice. Being Zen is a crap-ton of work for those that really desire to fulfill that role (as they should).

I know many other people who did not become Zens are even more Zen-Worthy than me because they did an amazing job within the Zen path and didn’t get selected. It really tells you how tough it is to be selected as a Zen. I am legitimately happy for those people and respect so much what they do to elevate and inspire others.

The good thing is even without fancy titles, awards, or any sort of nods, you can still make a huge difference and help others. I will continue doing what I do because I love the community and what I’m involved in — I hope if you feel you get overlooked for those things, you still keep doing you.

You can take the blue pill and be happy with your spot or refocus to a Zen Path if that’s your desire. The thing is if you aren’t happy with where you are, where you are going, you will never be happy as a Zen.

Find your path and keep a laser focus. Ultimately, you will be happy even if there are moments of sadness and confusion.

Keyrus US’ Tableau Evangelist and Tableau Ambassador. Views are very much my own. Priya Padham assists on #DataVizThoughts.

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