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66 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2017 Now, don't panic. I didn't have an im- promptu plane-mountain meeting. I was still a good eighth of a mile away from the hill, and by tightening my turn I was able to avoid the problem with a respectable amount of clear- ance. But that incident taught me an important life lesson about the dangers of distractions, and the need to focus on what is right in front of you first. As PCB designers, we are skilled at what we do and doing a good job is one of our highest priorities in life. All too often though, circumstances and distractions can take our fo- cus off of that priority. Lately, I've been working on a project that requires me to update and refresh my high- speed design skills. I've been spending a lot of time studying information from several differ- ent sources, so much, in fact, that my head be- gan to get overloaded with theories, statistics and figures. When it came time to work with all of this updated knowledge, I found that I was floundering and doubting myself because I had become overwhelmed with all of my research. I was trying to go so deep into the subject and answer questions that weren't even being asked of me that I ended blocking my ability to do the work that actually needed to be done. Then it hit me; I was trying so hard to be- come something else that I forgot who I already am. I don't need to become a high-speed de- signer; I already am a high-speed designer. What I needed was to get my priorities straight. I don't need to reinvent myself; I just need to enhance the skills that I already have. Once I embraced this basic principle, it freed me up to take con- trol of my project with a newfound confidence. Last month this magazine focused on signal integrity, while this month the theme is HDI. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire; if you are new to these concepts, you may feel like the heat is on. It's a good thing that next month's issue will focus on thermal man- agement! If you are suddenly confronted with some of these technologies in your design, and you haven't worked with them before, it may seem like you've just been thrown into the deep end of the pool. When I took swimming lessons as a child, the thought of going into the deep end of the pool was absolutely terrifying. I didn't have confidence that my ability to swim in the shallow end would also work for me in the deep water. But my instructor knew that I could swim without any problems and therefore pushed me to go out into deeper water. You have the PCB design job that you have now because you are a good PCB designer. It is true that you may not know every aspect of the job or be familiar with every new design tech- nology that's out there, but you are still a skilled designer. Stand firm on that fact then and use it as a foundation to learn and grown with. Don't yield to the temptation to back down from something or give up on yourself just because you have been confronted with something new. You already are a skilled PCB designer; you just need to take the next step to grow with the new design challenges that will come your way. John Winger, the character played by Bill Murray in the movie "Stripes" said, "We don't have to worry... all we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us." Although that movie is a com- edy, those lines hold a measure of truth. What Winger was really saying is that you shouldn't become distracted by what's in front of you. In- stead, believe in who you are and what you can do, and then move forward and do it. Am I suggesting that we shouldn't prepare, study, learn, and grow with the new design tech- nologies that come our way? Of course not. As designers, we are all compelled to continue to grow in our design skills in order to stay on top DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF WHO YOU REALLY ARE " As PCB designers, we are skilled at what we do and doing a good job is one of our highest priorities in life. All too often though, circumstances and distractions can take our focus off of that priority. "

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