Passion and Compromise

As you will have noticed, it’s been rather quiet here recently; I have been pre-occupied with what’s been happening at work and consequently lost my momentum … the longer I’ve left it, the harder it’s been to find something appropriate to get going again. The wisdom out there seems to be to write about something that you’re passionate about, and ideally that’s what I would be doing on a daily basis; however, while I would prefer to spend my time designing and building useful software, and solving problems, the reality of working with a large organisation is that sometimes strategic and organisational issues get in the way. (So then you have to take a view on how long you’re prepared to live with that.)

The most enjoyable job I had was working for a payment systems company called Interlink from 1991 to 1999 where I wrote software, travelled to customer sites (often in the Gulf states) for a few weeks, got the software working and then supported it afterwards (having built up a rapport with the banks’ people who were on-site). I think there were a number of reasons I enjoyed it so much: we had a really good team of people, the work was varied and interesting, I had the support of the MD and was able to make decisions that made a difference; it was a challenge being out there in front of the customer but very satisfying when the system ultimately went live and I saw happy users.

Anyway, this writing hiatus has had me thinking about what I’m passionate about … I was listening to an interview with Ben Casnocha on Alex Bellinger’s Smallbizpod, where Ben and Alex discussed the idea of randomness, and that you need to try different things to discover what you’re really passionate about. So I bought a copy of Ben’s book, “My Start-up Life”, and I really enjoyed it. Ben comes across as a remarkable individual, not least for the amount that he has achieved in a relatively short amount of time. I agree with Marc Benioff’s comments in the foreward:

… you will enjoy this provocative, honest, and fun romp through an entrepreneurial achievement, which will leave you determined to embark on your own enterprising endeavour — and inspired to find your own way to make a difference.

and enjoyed Ben’s choice of quotes, particularly the last one by Mavis Leyrer.

So I’m working on finding a role now that I’m passionate about every day, which gives me and my family what we need. And I believe I’m moving in the right direction.

Next to my desk is the following quote, often (incorrectly) attributed to Goethe, and I find it helps to keep me focused:

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

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