A Surprising Career Change, Part 10


The next day was Thursday, which meant that I had my next mentor session in a few hours. I planned to spend the day working on codewars challenges so we could talk about any that I couldn’t do. By the time I had worked on four — of a total of 31 I was supposed to do! — more than three and a half hours had passed and I was getting discouraged again.

Not only was I feeling, “I can’t do this,” I was beginning to feel that I would be slogging through codewars challenges I couldn’t solve for the rest of my life.

Then I remembered a line from the instructions that went with the challenges: “Don’t spend more than 20 minutes on any one challenge. You can talk with your mentor about the ones you can’t do.”

Well, “As a last resort, follow the directions.”

So I did.


So I set a timer on my smartphone for 20 minutes and started on the next challenge.

Just as I was beginning to get an idea of how to go about solving the challenge, the timer went off. So I shifted to the next challenge.

That one was easy! I reset the timer and went on to the next challenge.

That was harder, but when the timer went off, I continued to the next challenge. Then the next. And the next.

Some I could do, some I couldn’t, but I noticed that the challenges seemed to be getting easier and easier. Really? Why would they have mostly easy challenges FOLLOWING ones I couldn’t do at all?


At my next session with my mentor, I vowed that I would take charge of the process more and make sure that we addressed questions I had at a pace that worked for me — so I could actually learn what my mentor was trying to teach me.

I came up with that because I had noticed my mentor asking questions sometimes that were way way over my head — questions that I didn’t have the foundation to be able to answer — and then jumping to a long complex explanation when I couldn’t answer them or even worse, simply telling me the answer he had in mind with no explanation of why that made sense.

I figured he was very smart and knew a lot but didn’t know how to calibrate his knowledge to where I was starting from. So I made it my business to tell him.

It worked quite well. I learned a lot and for the first time came out of my mentor session feeling somewhat good about myself and good about the process.


The next day was AMAZING! Suddenly I felt a whole new level of understanding. I went back to the lessons, finishing my app, and felt that I was on top of what we were doing in a way I never had been before. Everything was clicking. With the new level of understanding came a whole new level of confidence.

It was hard to believe I had ever thought I couldn’t learn this at all. Of COURSE I could!

I came away with a deeper appreciation for an old proverb: “Whatever doesn’t kill you outright makes you stronger!”

And right on time, at the end of the last working day of the week — the last day of my fifth week in the official program — I FINISHED my second App!


(More to come… click here!)