Think back to those moments where you experienced an ease and flow in what you were doing. All the pieces found their spot, it all made sense.
And then the next day, nothing does. Everything you thought was working, isn’t. And you find yourself doubting how you got to this point, perhaps even sabotaging yourself further by reacting negatively to the circumstances unfolding.
The fog of uncertainty settles in and you’re no longer sure of what to do next, or which direction to take. Days, maybe weeks later a moment of clarity reveals itself in the seemingly expansive darkness of uncertainty and doubt. Be it a conversation, an experience, an image or a memory. Inspiration struck and if you were aware of it, you rode that wave for as long as you could.
Those waves of transcendence are fickle though and are either missed because we’re distracted by other things or we catch them too late, never truly experiencing the thrill of the ride or the awe of the complete picture. It’s about timing; what we’re focused on and what we’re interacting with. When opportunities arise you have a choice. Wait or act. Take the leap or play it safe. How intentional we are inside of the process of decision making in those moments are the difference makers.
And it takes a level of courage and bravery to take the leap.
A commitment to the process of being masterful.
An honoring of a deeper truth within us.
Most of the time we are running through the motions. Not intentionally creating but caught up in the trap of producing. And most of the time we are uninspired in the doing of it. These are the barriers and traps set by our own circumstances, limitations and decision making process. And if nothing is done about them, they determine how our futures will unfold. Predictably unfolding and leaving little to the imagination.
Our demons are our own limitations, which shut us off from the realisation of the ubiquity of the spirit … each of these demons is conquered in a vision quest. – Joseph Campbell
Dreams are the guiding words of the soul. Why should I henceforth not love my dreams and not make their riddling images into objects of my daily consideration? – Carl Jung
The unconscious mind is the mother of invention and it is there, still and sitting whether we’re awake or asleep. Waiting for us to act. We experience it in the calm quiet moments of our life. A sudden euphoria or realization; that flutter in your belly that feels almost electric. Carl Jung believed that the collective unconscious was expressed through universal archetypes. Signs, symbols or patterns of thinking and behaving inherited by our ancestors and that we are all connected to versions of these archetypes.
You experience this at the transition of our seasons, when you’re walking through nature, when someone dies or when a new life is brought into the world. It is pure experience. They are significant moments from our past (known or not, light or dark) and our aspirations for the future. They guide and direct our efforts. And the work to be done is to understand what it is you’re here for. Because we are all here to realize something. Our imagination is a powerful tool and infinitely renewable. Empires have been built off it. Disney is the 2nd largest media company in the world and has been built on the power of our imagination. They even trademarked it...imagineers.
The amazing thing about creative expression is that it requires no proof, no evidence or validation. This innate ability; to create and be creative is core to our being human. And there are many ways we channel this superpower.The ones I want to speak to are the ones I’ve used.
If you can dream it, you can do it
– Walt Disney
What if all of the dreams and ideas of our most notable and influential people and organizations (past and present) came to be? Would you be excited or scared? Those that excite you resonate with what matters to you at your source. Those that do not, well... don’t. As a consumer base we shape society. When we “buy” or “buy-in” we accept other people's products, services and ideals. Those actions shape our reality. When we spend time exploring (free of constraints and restrictions) what we’d like to see happen in the world, we become more intentional with the actions we take because we’ve become acutely aware of what aligns and what does not. When it resonates, it prompts a deeper exploration and curiosity. When it does not, we seek validation and alignment elsewhere. And all of this happens inside of seconds, whether you’re aware of it or not.
This sort of exploration embraces the power of design thinking; the act of posing questions, encouraging thought, exposing assumptions, offering new perspectives and yes, inspiring others. And when we record and document it, that moment in time now serves as a north star that not only influences the choices we make, but for others as well. We are no longer reacting to circumstance; but intentionally chart a direction to move towards. It keeps alive those possibilities as we push and rub against the world around us.
While we like to think we can predict the future, we cannot. But that has not ever stopped us from influencing how things “could be”. In fact, we are extremely talented in that arena. Even if equally present are the attempts to hold onto what we know and to prevent anything from changing.
Think Model T and the transportation market
Think the Printing Press, the profession of the classical copyist and mass production of information.
It's ironic though, as the only thing we can truly count on is that everything will change in one way or another. Where once we all eagerly waited for our “show”, now we have on demand access. And the pace of which change is occurring will likely only happen quicker. But would these external preferences and ideologies even matter if you’ve done the work of exploring what your possible future could be? Would it matter what happens in all of these silos of progress if it did not live inside of what it was you were looking to create? And don’t forget, they haven’t even happened yet. So who’s to say your potential future in action waiting to be realized does not change the very course of how things go anyways? The point I am trying to make is that the act of creating a potential future is an intentional and directed channeling of creative fuel to the fire of possibility.
And if it’s not going to be you, then who?
The work of creating a vivid picture of the future is not about running through a formulaic process that provides a guaranteed outcome. There’s nothing fulfilling about that. No it is about embracing the fact that we don’t know what the future could look like, but here’s what we would love for it to be. This is what unlocks the imagination and encourages each of us to see how everyday life could be different and why that would matter. This sort of thinking creates space for the next big idea, because our creative efforts now have some guide rails to explore within. To be clear though, this only works if you are among people who are curious, and wish to have more agility, agency and effectiveness in navigating this increasingly complex, disruptive and unpredictable road. A team is only as good as its ability to collaborate.
Well what’s true for you? And are you willing to own your truth? We live in the era of the distruster according to Edelmen. No surprise there, unless you’re living under a rock (I wouldn’t blame you). It seems no one has the courage to speak the truth. Or is it actually because we are not clear what our truth actually is?
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984
We might find ourselves jumping from one idea to another; from one party to another. Constantly finding ourselves unsatisfied with the outcome. Wondering why it’s so “off”, wishing we could just get to common ground that makes sense. For the most part we have a belief that all of us want the same thing. Abraham Maslow explored that through his hierarchy of needs. Deep down we want to be seen and heard; feel safe and understood. We want to contribute and we want significance. And we want the freedom to explore what that is for us. Now this takes work too, and it is at this juncture where we find ourselves in the trap of entitled deliverance. We’ve abdicated that work to others, thinking and assuming that they will provide us with all that we desire. But all they’re here to do is to realize their own dreams, their own purpose. Not yours. You are the steward of your own future. So how response-able are you? What steps are you taking? What things are you avoiding? Can you see the disconnect between what you say you want and who you are being to have that happen?
We human beings, we are navigating new unfamiliar and complex frontiers as we strive to connect, interact and do business with each other. Yes we seek purpose and fulfillment, yet many of us have not done the necessary work of understanding what that even means for us. Nevermind putting in the follow-up work to confirm, test and iterate. The work to be done is in understanding WHO we really are and WHAT it is we’re actually in the service of. And then to test that in the marketplace. But it’s not to see if others resonate with it so you can “sell yourself to the highest bidder” but to confirm or deny the truth of the matter. Is that who I really am and what I really want to do? And will I, can I commit to doing what it takes to make that happen? Is it that important to me?
When we understand more deeply what lives at the core of our being human, we are in a better position to find alignment between our doing and our being; in turn discovering opportunities that fit. We must know with absolute clarity what it is we do not want; do not align with, if we are to discover what it is that we do want. And like any explorer, you need a map to guide you.
There are those moments of clarity that serve to validate our direction. But they are not consistent and they are not predictable. We utilize all sorts of third party accountabilities in our life; coaches, therapists and leaders. And they help to a measure. But they are not you. They do not really understand what lives at your core. Unless of course you’ve done the work to define it and have shared it with them. Which I suspect with a high degree of certainty that you haven’t (and you definitely should). We’ve all lived rich lives, regardless of whether you believe that to be true. We all have acquired a lifetime of experiences and beliefs along the way. These influence the steps you take and the choices you make daily. And it’s time to be more intentional to bring a balance, alignment and integrity to your life.
I believe each of us needs to balance 2 spaces; our creativity and our performance. And that these 2 spaces need to be aligned with our Core Axis; who we know ourselves to be and what we want to see for the world. Each of us are innately creative. It is simply about gaining a better understanding of that part of ourselves and what we can do with our creativity. It can be as literal as paint on canvas but it does not have to be. Rather, It is a metaphor for embracing what it is that lights us up and leaves us fulfilled. There are many problems that could use our creativity and it’s different for you and for me. So the work to be done is to true up how we are realizing those parts of ourselves in the world. When we understand who we are and what we’re in the service of, we are in a position to bring value to others in new ways. That’s the creative process. It’s obscure, tricky work. We are navigating years of programming and subconscious beliefs. One moment we believe we have arrived at our own transcendence, the next we find ourselves trapped in a maze of old patterns and ways of being, feeling off track by a margin of light years from where we were. Such is the crux of the human experience. But...when we understand what it is that we do that brings value to others, when we’ve committed the time to explore, test, and iterate how to best communicate that value, we then have the ability to execute at a new level of effectiveness; to perform said things in ways that generate results for ourselves and others in the world.
When you know yourself so deeply, you begin to understand what fits and what doesn’t. You see where you can make the biggest difference and go to seek out those opportunities that fit.
And so the work to be done is 4 fold.
So where do you start?
I’ve included a simple workbook for you to use as a reference point to begin the journey.