Going from zero to Zen Master in a year

Wanna know how to become a Tableau Zen Master in less than a year? Yeah, me too. I remember running on the treadmill on March 1, and I was like “what the hell, I’m going to Twitter”. I created a viz about the top-grossing movies of 2019, and that was the first thing I published there. Ever since then, I’m just rolling my head around and keep asking myself if it’s really happening to me.

Getting into quarantine was not easy for anyone, and I’m not an exception either. The first couple of weeks were rough AF, but all in all, 2020 was my best worst year. In March, I started watching my plants grow in real-time, recreated childhood photos, famous paintings, even bought Sims 4 on day 15 – and that was the day I hit rock bottom. When I realized this situation is here to stay, I figured that the only rational solution is making the best out of it. I decided to finally upgrade my Tableau portfolio and do all the stuff which sat in my backlog for years.

This is what rock bottom looks like:

The hardest parts

I had my hardships coping with what’s happening to me, so here’s what I’ve learned. Somewhere around May, people started using those design elements that I developed for myself in the past years. There was a guy who downloaded my workbook, changed the fonts and colors, only to republish it under his name. I was pissed. Back then, I thought they’re just choosing the easy way out and not willing to put the work into it as I did. Boy, I was so wrong. Unashamed copying still makes me sad, but most people just want to learn from me, as I did from others. And it’s pretty cool that your stuff I considered something worth mimicking.

I also suffer from social anxiety, always keep questioning myself, and wonder if I truly deserve something or not. Luckily, the people around me are the best anyone could ask for. I have a lot to thank my manager, who dealt with all my princessing, gave me time for pet projects, handed me the best assignments, and keeps trying to make me believe I’m something special. I don’t think he’ll ever succeed, but I can’t be grateful enough for him. (Matyi, you’re the best friend and team lead in the whole wide world!)

And there’s always the lack of inspiration part. Sometimes I have so many ideas that could keep me busy for weeks, but there are times I have nothing on my mind for a month. This is something you have to accept and try not to beat yourself up about it. I published three vizzes in five days in the spring of 2020, but now I can only create one per month. Partly because I don’t have that many new ideas, but I also want to increase quality, try new techniques – and it just takes more time.

Crazy achievements this year

Before anyone starts feeling sorry for me, please don’t. Anyway, who am I kidding? – I loved the hard parts of this journey as well. On days I was suffering from the lack of inspiration, I watched 8 hours of Ozark or cycled all afternoon. Not a bad way to be miserable!

However, I feel that this was the best year of my life career-wise. 95% of all the stuff I achieved came easy. I didn’t have to torture myself to squeeze a viz out of my head, quite the contrary. When I was on a roll, I had to force myself to sleep. On nights like this, I was just counting sheep in the bed, waiting for the morning to come to continue working. Looking back at these achievements, I’m damn proud of myself.

  • 48 visualizations on Tableau Public, 2300+ followers
  • 12th most favorited author on Tableau Public
  • 48 own + 3 guest blog posts
  • 1800+ Twitter followers
  • 4 online webinars / interviews
  • Tableau Featured Author
  • Tableau Public Ambassador
  • TC 2020 Viz Gallery selection
  • Best Designer Vizzie Award
  • Tableau Zen Master

The featured image is the drawing of @czikkcakk, who designed it as the basis of my 1st tattoo (done by @reka.ferenczi.ink). There’s a Hungarian saying that says you can’t swim away from the happiness that is similar to can’t get away with it. In moments like this, I feel that it’s extra true.

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