Tag Archives: life

INTERMEZZO – A FLASH OF INSIGHT

Like a thunderbolt out of the blue, all those pieces my hindbrain keeps working on clicked this morning. I think I know why I’ve lost my passion and why I’m casting about for what comes next.

I have the capability to accurately judge risk levels and – here’s the insight – the willingness, ability and desire to take on, tackle, manage and mitigate much higher levels of risk than most staid enterprises are willing to take on.

This leads me to two additional insights. The first is based on the most thrilling period of my professional life when I was incubating businesses and running startups. Agility, Results and Risk were all part of the norm. The second is that those environments are typically where I find peers who are not only comfortable but actively willing to challenge me and welcome and encourage being challenged in return. Personalities go on the shelf, foibles aren’t savagely suppressed for fear of showing weakness. Everyone’s pulling on the oars equally, rowing madly towards a commonly understood goal.

That’s where I belong, getting things done yards, not inches, at a time.

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Intermezzo: Finding What You’ve Lost

Much can be made of that point in life – or two, or three – where you have that existential crisis moment. Life, God, The Universe forces a pause on your chained moments. You stop. And for the first time in who knows how long you look up. What do you see?

It is as important in this crisis moment to look back – not dwell, look back – as it is to look ahead.

For me, I’ve lost something along the way. I’ve always been driven by passion. If I’m not passionate about a subject, I’m just not going to engage or do it. Some people may have the talent to do so, it’s not one of mine and important that I do so.  My passion doesn’t gut out quickly either – I tend to like to start and finish things – delivery is key for me and always has been as software engineer and a manager of software engineers. First, ship version 1.

I’ve got twenty-two years in computing. I’ve been a coder and a CTO. I’ve built data centers. I’ve delivered shrink-wrap products and IT projects. I’ve done one from just about every major column of technology platform. I’ve done startups and large multinationals. To be clear – in each and every instance I’ve had a solid team of developers, marketers, finance, HR – it’s been a group effort in each case.

But I’ve lost the zeal and drive to own, improve and deliver. How much is due to politics and how much is due to the personal worth I derive from it is an open question I debate. Incubation & startups still excite me. Technology in general remains something that excites me. But the rest of it? The jury deliberates.

I know the older generations would pale at the thought of not spending their entire lives at one organization. The younger generations work gigs not jobs. What about my generation? Are we stuck in the middle? I do wonder if this is a common affliction.

I know that what comes next will have to be different. I know I have to find a new passion. What that is remains to be seen.

What about you?

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INTERMEZZO: Graceful Exits

I have a rather severe case of thanatophobia. I can slip into it fairly easily and self-induce a rather severe if extremely short (seconds) panic attack. It typically happens every time my idle thoughts turn to The Big Why. Why are we here? How did it all Start? How does it all End? But above all – why?

So far it hasn’t encroached into my everyday life nor given rise to other phobias. I’m not a shut-in, but you won’t find me jumping from perfectly good planes or visiting the Nopelia (Australia) Outback – where everything was evolved by nature to kill non-Aboriginals within sixty seconds – anytime soon. I prefer the calculated risk. The measured approach to adventure. Hike the Rockies? Absolutely. Base jump from a bridge? Hell no. But thanks, go right ahead.

I’ve been trying, over the last decade, to focus more on experience and a life well-lived – by my definition, not what Pop Culture or Madison Avenue wants you to believe it is. On connecting with others and shared experiences over being a lone wolf. In part that’s what’s driven my more recent extroversion. It’s safe to say my introversion is in remission but must be kept in check.

Now if only I could avoid the Big Why, I think I could go a while without a freak-out fit.

If you’ll excuse me, there’s a girly scream and flailing hands with my name on it.

BRB.

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