Inspiration Can Come Unexpectedly Like a Hurricane Matthew
In the midst of an uninspiring morning run…you know those runs when you aren’t at all excited and just going through the motions, it hit me. It came out of nowhere. I didn’t feel inspired. I wasn’t overtly thinking while running…but something tripped. Something triggered in my mind and it appeared…the solution.
I say it appeared because all my research, all my thinking, hard work and struggle to resolve this issues got me nowhere. Then while out there running with no way to take notes or go over the solution completely, the answer just shows up.
For a little over a week, I’d been working to get this one solved. We had a membership website that needed a special feature built. It wasn’t a terribly difficult issue to address, but it needed it to be very easy for the customer team to manage. I had some immediate solutions (more like hacks) I could use, but these were less elegant than I wanted for this customer project. We’d been working with them for years on their membership site projects and taking these less optimal routes wasn’t what I wanted for them.
Having lived in Miami all my life, hurricanes are something we face. Hurricane Matthew forced me to cut a trip to Phoenix short a few days. Though the tracking of storms like this has gotten sophisticated, we’ve had storms in past that popped up out of nowhere. One in particular, Leslie in October 2000, caught all of us here in South Florida completely off guard. I remember being at work and someone saying, “That rain outside is a hurricane.” It had just come on over the news. Even though it was "only" a tropical storm, it brought with it some serious rain with flooding we don’t get very often in our area.
This "minor" storm cost us the engine on my car. We needed to go help my in-laws and the water got so high as we approached their home that my engine stalled. My family and I had to wade through a half a block of water to get to their front door. It was not a pleasant experience and completely different at 8pm from what I thought I'd be doing a few hours earlier that afternoon.
Once I got my answer to my technical problem, I shared it with our team with that triggered ideas in the mind of one of them. He took it a few steps further and the end results was a very well thought out and elegant solution that the customer greatly appreciated.
We have to keep in mind that as we THINK HARD to address technical issues like we do when building membership websites, that conscious mental work isn’t only thing working. It often times depends upon subconscious thinking that isn’t under our control. It’s very much like these unexpected weather events that we all like to pretend we 100% understand. But let's be honest with ourselves. We don’t fully understand it and that's fine.
So as we face this Hurricane Matthew and whatever follows (and fortunately it looks like our immediate Miami area will be spared the worst), let's stay safe and get some relaxation. It's that exact same relaxation that may be exactly what you need to put your subconscious into high gear coming up with those unexpected yet inspiring solutions.
Hope this helps!