I watched a hockey game last night, where one of the players was hit in the face point-blank by a hockey puck. They literally picked his teeth up off the ice afterwards.
He returned to the game with a mouth full of packing and a frozen face, and proceeded to play another regular period followed by two 20-minute overtime periods, and a bit of a third. And he played superlatively.
What is it that inspires that kind of dedication? He’s already a star. Whether he came back for more punishment or not, he already gets the girls, he already has ‘achieved’. Nobody would have begrudged him some time to mourn his smashed jaw.
Of course, I can’t answer that question for him. Could be that he’s just the stubbornest mule of a man on the planet. But I do think that if he didn’t have passion for what he did, if he wasn’t into that game body and soul, he couldn’t have come back and been able to put aside his pain, the distraction of the swelling, the despair at impending dental surgery. I’ve been injured playing sports before, and getting your mind back into focus after even a minor injury is unbelievably tough.
My job is pretty different from Oilers #94. Still, I see some parallels (and as a result, you have to come along for the ride, sorry ’bout that).
Is there an identity equivalent to taking a puck in the face? I rather hope not :) Still, there are times where delays and unexpected issues force you to cool your heels. Identity projects have a terrible nasty tendency for scope creep. Why that is, is an interesting study in and of itself, but I think the truth is that identity is so holistic and so fundamentally interconnected that it leads to cascading sets of revelations about internal business processes that even the business process owners themselves do not discover until somebody tries to map those business processes to technology.
Somehow, the technology and philosophy surrounding Identity inspires passion – it is a field that is full of characters that are larger than life, and full of communities that thrive. The problems are intriguing to solve, but the people are far more intriguing. It isn’t a 9-5, leave-it-at-the-door kind of place, and it isn’t about merely putting in the time. What inspires these people’s dedication? I would guess it is a love for the game, no different in caliber or origin than that of the hockey player I admire so much.