“Alas for those that never sing, but die with all of their music inside of them.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Engineers love to solve problems and fix things. It’s what we love to do.
My biggest problem as an aerospace engineer, working at a big aerospace company, wasn’t anything technical, as surprising as that might sound. After turning 40 years old and realizing a twenty-year-long dream of releasing an album of original music, I realized my biggest challenge was this:
How can I combine my strongest skills, expertise, personality quirks, and passions into a single effort that makes a unique and meaningful impact in the world?
If only every person could answer that personal “engineering” problem!
How far along in the journey to solve that problem are you?
Maybe you are one of the millions (billions?) of people who have chosen not to even care about answering that challenge. But I kept thinking about that quote at the top of the page…
It haunted me. Because I knew that I had some “music” inside of me that needed to be heard.
At first it was literal. In addition to being an aerospace engineer and project manager, I was also a music composer.
But after recording and releasing that album of original music, I realized that those songs were actually a symbol or analogy for something much bigger.
What “music” is still inside of you? What is it that lies inside of you that, if you die before it gets out into the world, the rest of us would have to say, Alas, if only…
The year that I really got serious about never dying with any more regret was 2010.
I thought the release of my music album would be the culmination of a life-long dream.
In one sense it was. But in another totally unexpected sense, it became the spark that lit my soul on fire to do and to create even more artful work.
Since then, I feel like I have been on an epic journey full of peaks, valleys, desert caravans, remote island strandings, nighttime jungle escapes, campfire discussions, wild west posses, and more.
Many of the lessons and stories from these years are contained in the posts in this blog.
The big takeaway from it all is this:
The Industrial Age is behind us. Engineering was created as a dedicated discipline and profession in the Industrial Age. (It later spawned into many more specialized disciplines, like Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, etc.
But we are now in the Digital Age. Some people, like one of my heroes Seth Godin, call it the Connected Age.
Yes, we still need engineers, engineering products, and engineering services. But the design conditions have changed in dramatic fashion. So have the system constraints. So too have all of the resources, tools, and people at our disposal.
BTW, don’t ever call a person a “resource” to me. People are people! Not a resource! That is in Industrial Era paradigm from Frederick Taylor that we should be eager and happy to leave behind us.
Can you relate to any of this?
If so, ask yourself if one of these situations describes you:
- An engineering consultant who need to attract and find new customers
- A leader or owner of an engineering firm who needs to stand out from the competition and win new business
- An engineering professional who wants to turn your expertise and passions into a unique online product or service that earns money for you
- An engineer who wants to do something entrepreneurial… actually start a business
Through my own journey to shift my career into the digital age, I have built a robust portfolio of strategies, tools, lessons, and resources that can help others in the engineering professions translate (or transform) our careers from the industrial age into the digital age.
The world still needs engineers and engineering services. But we need to adapt and innovate with the times to make our value known and desired. And paid for.
That is what Engineer Your Innovation is about.
What’s your big challenge that you need to engineer a solution for? I know that isn’t proper grammar… it isn’t proper for engineers to be struggling in the digital age either so stop feeling frustrated about your situation and let’s engineer your innovative path to a successful solution!
P.S. If you want to have a listen to the music that started this whole thing, here’s the original source. It’s also available on Amazon if you prefer to shop there. I’ll be very humbled and grateful if you find it worth your listening, especially more than once.
Engineer your innovation to a better future!
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