It is safe to say that people like talking about themselves. I'm guilty of that, but I don't think I have actually given any real consideration or focus to the matter. That changed this morning.
I had a friend ask me: "What are you passionate about?" I was disappointed by how lame I responded. At my core, I'm a problem solver. I'm also a social nerd - I love people; I'm an extrovert; I'm nerdy. I'm also a self-recognizing honey badger as this has traditionally served as my "winning strategy". None of these things define what I'm passionate about - they just define aspects of who I am and how I work.
After some thought, what gets me up in the morning is the daily opportunity to help others -- my family, my friends, my clients, my team. I love technology, as it gives me a focus and the tools to deliver something useful. I love open source communities and the potential for helping others on such a broad scale (in and outside of the community). I love learning, fostering personal growth in myself and others, and sharing what I learn (all ships rise). I emphathize with users and believe, if done right, technology can offer a significantly positive impact for people. I love coding but I empathize with users who have worked with developers that code first and address user needs as an afterthought. My honey badger, when used constructively, helps me focus, brings energy, and dedicates me to what I do. To summarize, I want to harness my problem solving skills (both social and technical) in useful ways that serve others. That is what brings me energy.
I have always wanted to better understand how my passions relate to existing constructs. I don't believe I am a special snowflake, but I have learned that it's not common to combine both social and technical to the degree that aligns with me. Coders often earn a reputation for being introverted. That's not me. I've struggled to see myself advancing in purely technical tracks (not that I can't keep up, it's just doesn't align with the breadth of my interests). Conventional management tracks don't directly bring me energy either; I've found some roles pull me too far into business and out of technology. I actually think I'm most effective when I can dip my toes in all areas and deliver well rounded, informed results. In short, I'm best suited for roles that accomplish diverse things connecting people and technology.
What brings you energy? What are your passions? Have you given this enough thought?