Who am I—a story on personal growth

Nicolas Cava
Nicolas Cava

Nicolas Cava

6 minutes read
Who am I—a story on personal growth
Picture by Devon Janse van Rensburg

I've always been attracted by the concept of personal growth: getting to know yourself and working on it to reach your full potential. Personal growth joins me because I love optimizing things and systems. Today, I'm convinced that personal development is a valuable tool to mature, be successful, and, above all, be happy. I believe that human beings evolve throughout their lives, and in this sense, personal growth has no end. It's a process of continuous improvement.

Getting to know yourself also means being able to open up fully to others and get to know your peers more deeply, which generally leads to better collaborations. Understanding what drives, inspires, or affects certain personality types helps build stronger personal and professional relationships.

At my career level, I look for projects where I'm strongly aligned from a business or ethical point of view, and in this sense, I think it's necessary to be transparent about who I am and what I'm looking for. Opening up in this way makes it easier for me to find collaborators with whom I have chemistry, which is vital for a project's success.

Understanding our strengths and weaknesses allows us to organize ourselves better and together. Focusing on our respective strengths brings a lot of creativity and increases the efficiency of a group. It also allows us to learn to appreciate each other and accept our "quirks" rather than refuse who we are. The goal is also to isolate our weaknesses to understand them, work on them, and eventually correct them.


This page is organized into sections:

What I'm interested in

I present myself as a software engineering manager and as an entrepreneur. I'm seeking balance and fulfillment in life; thus, career growth is not my main concern. I usually look for full or hybrid remote roles in software engineering leadership. Furthermore, I seek stable and healthy companies that love simplicity and efficiency, treat people with respect and empathy, and take care of their employees.

I'm not interested in companies that aim for ultra high growth, using blitzcaling techniques, and those who want to be the next decacorn. I appreciate humble work environments yet interested in getting things done and delivering quality products.

Honest overview of my skill set

Fundamentally, I love entrepreneurship, people management, software architecture, full-stack web development, infrastructure, and product strategy.

As for my soft skills, I'm good at decision-making, problem-solving, conflict management, and taking leadership. I'm less good at saying no, being self-confident, and sometimes focusing too much on planning things.

On a technical side, I'm specialized in JavaScript, TypeScript, React, GraphQL, Node.js, and functional programming. I'm comfortable with Ruby on Rails, Redis, and PostgreSQL. I have experience with Docker, AWS, Google Cloud, CI/CD, and serverless infrastructure. I know testing with Jest, React Testing Library, Cypress, and RSpec. I'm at ease with bootstrapping, SPA, modular monoliths, microservices, networking, JAMstack, and transpilers. I'm less good at databases, database modeling, security, and React Native and mobile native environments.

From a people management perspective, I'm good with communication, time management, organization, career development, continuous improvement, and Agile. I'm less good at providing feedback, delegation, and wage attribution.

On a more organizational matter, I'm good at building lean and remote work cultures based on asynchronous-first communication from small to medium-sized teams. I'm less good at building large scale product teams and departments.

In terms of product strategy, I'm good at scope hammering, product development cycles, backlog management, event storming, and analytics. I'm less good at curating and managing product roadmaps and estimates.

Turbulent Protagonist

I'm a go-getter; I firmly fight inaction and indecision. I never shirk; I can't bear to bypass or run away from a big or small challenge. I'm an optimist and an enthusiast; I see things through the prism of the half-full glass. I have great respect for intelligence and open-mindedness. I praise honesty, kindness, justice, and good citizenship. I'm authentic and concerned, unafraid to stand up and speak when I feel something needs to be said.

I'm sometimes too rational, which can lead to misunderstandings. I know how to show leadership and make tough decisions when necessary. I recognize that making mistakes is natural and one of the best ways to grow and learn.

I'm an ENFJ-T.

Planning and execution

I have a structured mind that allows me to progress efficiently on my projects while taking full enjoyment of my loved ones. These techniques have allowed me to accomplish ambitious personal goals without putting my family aside, which for me will be unacceptable. I believe very much in the quality of execution, and I focus a lot of energy on that. I tend to work through bursts of energy rather than regular and constant progress.

I'm continually looking for the best speed/value ratio for my actions, and I value quality and efficiency without compromising ethics and humanity. I like to have a long-term vision of things to project myself; it allows me to plan this vision and execute it step by step with precision. However, I sometimes tend to plan too much ahead instead of jumping into concrete actions.

Self-confidence and criticism

I'm receptive to criticism, seeing it as a tool for leading a better team, but it's easy for me to take it a little too much to heart. I tend always to question myself first when something went wrong to see what I can change. I admit I don't have all the answers, and am often open to dissent, so long as it remains constructive. If I get too caught up in another person's plight, I can see other people's problems in myself, trying to fix something that isn't wrong.

I define my self-esteem by whether I'm able to live up to my ideals, and sometimes ask for criticism more out of insecurity than out of confidence, always wondering what I could do better. If I fail to meet a goal or help someone I said I'd help, my self-confidence will undoubtedly plummet. I can be caught off guard as I find that, through circumstance or nature, or simple misunderstanding, people fight against me and defy the principles I've adopted, however well-intentioned they may be. I sometimes feel problems that aren't my own and try to fix things I can't fix, worrying if I'm doing enough.

No one can accomplish anything alone

I'm a team player, and I recognize that means listening to other peoples' opinions, even when they contradict my own. I firmly believe that with time and the right resources, anything is possible. I'm convinced that no one does things alone and that we accomplish great things as a group, and I know how to recognize others' talent to align ourselves with the same objective. No one, no matter how brilliant, can accomplish anything alone.

I recognize the enormous contribution of my entourage and my teams on my professional and personal achievements. I love working with people I respect and consider equal, but I tend to expect them to show me their worth. I genuinely believe that we can do a ton of good if I can bring people together. I try to make everyone feel comfortable expressing their opinions and suggestions, working together to develop win-win situations that get the job done.

Intuitive leadership

I love speaking to an audience, and I usually communicate with reason, emotion, passion, and restraint. I take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves. I see people's motivations and seemingly disconnected events, and I can bring these ideas together and communicate them as a common goal. I'm reliable so that I don't let down a person or cause I believe in.

The interest I have in others is genuine, almost to a fault – when I believe in someone, I can become too involved in the other person's problems, place too much trust in them. I may sometimes accidentally stoop to manipulation, but my end goal is always to get done what I set out to do in a way that leaves everyone involved satisfied with their roles and the results they achieved together. If I'm not careful, I can overextend my optimism, sometimes pushing others further than they're ready or willing to go.

I love to get things done in simple ways, and I never compromise my direct reports' well-being. I seek individual motivations to not only push my teams and projects forward but to make my teams want to push forward. I avoid relying on authority when managing people; I prefer using intuition and leadership. I can bury myself in my hopeful promises, feeling others' problems as my own, and striving hard to meet my word.

Let's discuss building better companies.

You have better chances of finding me active on LinkedIn and Twitter. I talk about leadership, remote work, engineering, and personal growth. I also build my company publicly.

Want to connect? Enjoy a virtual coffee with me, and let's chat about building high-performing remote engineering teams.

You can also contact me by email.

Recent posts

Recent publications on all platforms. Follow me on LinkedIn.