When he's in town, I tag along to a lot of talks that John Saddington is participating in or attending, my own little learning opportunities that I rarely have time to plan otherwise. I hear a lot of people trying to help one another, trying to solve small parts of the world's large problems. Sometimes, it feels like the weight of the world is going to cause an implosion, hearing folks talk about wanting to make so many changes, but lacking the resources to do so. I've been there: I ran my own business for years, and the ideas were a flowin', but who has the time/money/insertwordhere?

Being a part of the DIY community gave me the sense that we could make changes people-first. Hone your craft, and you have a wealth of opportunity (for personal growth ... or economic, perhaps). The same applies to software engineering, too, and the work I now do. Sometimes, I think that just having that power is suitably empowering for many; sometimes an outward search for greatness and change is really an inner struggle with your own sense of impact. Impact happens within, too, right?

Explore what self-improvement means for you, but give back, too. That's a task in itself, but it can be subtle and undaunting. Someone taught me to knit in 20 minutes at a festival when I was a wee neonate, and it stuck with me since. As a child, I hovered over my mom's shoulder when she sewed, snipped her threads when she'd finish a project, and never had to have a formal lesson when I decided to take on the craft.

It was a subtle, natural encouragement.

Challenge kids creatively, share your favorite book with someone, and refine a talent for listening. Don't cut people off in traffic (seriously, stop it), and just be nice. Learn something that's just for you (I'm seriously contemplating diving into JavaScript) and be proud of yourself.

Baby steps, y'all.