May 24, 2013

If you are ever in London, I highly recommend Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s perfect on a warm Spring Sunday evening. Miles of stunning trees and plants in bloom. Amazing colours, rolling landscapes, parakeets, and great food. I particularly recommend the treetop walkway.


For a relaxing day out, you can’t beat it.

Except, that is, when you have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old with you. That removes the relaxing part from the day. Fun, yes. Relaxing no.

So last Sunday evening we’re sitting outside on the veranda of the Orangery restaurant at Kew having a lovely evening meal in the open air. A little old lady wanders over. She asks me if the two children at the table are mine. I say they are. The old lady tells me that I have two very well behaved children that are a credit to my wife and I.

Now, like you, I’m a tester. As testers we are critical to the extreme. We’re always looking for faults. Or to put a positive spin on it—we’re always looking for ways to improve what we’re working on.

Have you stopped to think how much of that mindset spills over into other areas of your life? How often, outside of work, do you spot those little things that need to be improved? Those things that don’t quite work right? Something that with just a little bit of tester knowhow would have been just perfect?

At times I’m looking at my children through those tester glasses. Always looking for little faults. Always trying to put them straight. Always on my kids’ cases thinking that I know best about how they should be behaving.

Then comes a compliment, right out of nowhere, from a kind elderly lady. Emotionally, I felt like I’d been punched by a boxer. Shocked too that this quiet little compliment had such an impact. It meant so much to me to hear that from a complete stranger.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective. Take the time to step back—and realise that you and your colleagues are doing a better job than perhaps you give yourself credit for.