Victus Spiritus


Where to turn when wells of inspiration dry up

16 Dec 2010

Origins of Enthusiasm

It takes sustained effort to discover, nourish and utilize sources of creative energy. For me, few sources can compare to long walks, stirring conversations, or community. Long walks help build a daily rhythm and provide my body healthy exercise. Engaging in conversations and debates which challenge assumptions, naturally feeds my enthusiasm furnace. A vibrant community provides a compelling environment for daily motivation. I can't resist the infectious enthusiasm of energetic and driven people, whether we're facing a novel or reframed challenge. I count on my family, friends and colleagues for community. My wife provides me with an incredible source of inspiration each day.

Every active leader endeavors to keep themselves, their team, and their community optimistic. But there are times when all our regular sources of inspiration fail to deliver. That's a great signal that it's time to extend beyond our comfort zone. I hit that wall a couple of years ago, and I'm hitting it again now.

Back in the day

In 2009 I branched out into many new coding languages, frameworks, and protocols to help build a prototype web application. After it was functional but failed to catch on, I continued to explore and learn to gain a better understanding of where network communication is heading over the next few years. There's strategic value in understanding what can be done, how much effort it will take to do well, and most importantly if there is or will be market demand when the product is ready (will the market be ready for the product). Each of these information products are easily estimated if you know where to look and what to look for.

New Treasures to counter the present inspiration shortfall

This time around I have gained some new treasures to access enthusiasm.

I'm married to the woman of my dreams. Although Michelle and I have been close for several years, our marriage has made us even a tighter couple. I didn't expect our relationship to be altered by an antiquated social custom but it has. Our perception of lifelong commitment has changed our expectations of each other. My wife always provides an empathetic ear for my professional frustrations and I do the same for her. I have a tendency to space out during long listening periods, but I'm working on it ;).

If I get stuck and wonder why I should keep on pushing, there a few hundred reasons only a click away driving me forward. Victus Spiritus is chock full of over 650 posts on hundreds of topics that arouse my interests. While many of the posts could use a touch of editing, I enjoy retracing my shifting observation patterns and sparks of inspiration.

I have a trove of new languages to express ideas in. Ruby, php, python and JavaScript have indelibly grafted themselves on to parts of my problem solving mind. Getting trapped in a problem is remedied with a quick search through open source code sharing, documentation and Q&A sites (stackoverflow, google groups).

Last but not least I've met many new like minded and complimentary but orthogonal thinking folks over the past couple of years. Their skill sets range from entrepreneurs, to gifted web developers and designers, to professional sales and marketing masters. Friendfeed (pre Facebook), Twitter, Github, and Google Buzz are great lines of communication between myself and the people that influence and energize me with their open sharing of knowledge and commitment to excellence. Somedays all it takes is a bit of friendly humor to shake things up.