Years ago, on my very first visit to San Francisco, lying on my stomach on the living room floor of the sunny Mission sublet my friend and I are sharing for two weeks -- I receive an email from a mailing list with the subject line:
"A Message from the Cosmos."
Curious, I open it, scan the sparse copy -- and click the link.
This is how I stumble onto the model of the creative process I'm about to share with you today, which I find myself returning to now as I enter my fourth decade (!) and start to seriously consider the question of how to build effective collaborations in my own business.
Because we all know what it feels like when a team ISN'T working, don't we?
Meetings get contentious, emails get ignored, important tasks don't get done, resentments build up, and either the boat swiftly sinks; or worse, we find ourselves scrambling from one leak to the next, desperately caulking and praying the boat WON'T sink -- sometimes for years -- even as we can feel the water slowly rising around us.
My hope is to relieve you of this destructive pattern by offering you a new way to think about the creative process -- and more importantly, how YOU fit into it -- so that you can:
1) Let go of self-defeating stories about the need to be and do ALL THE THINGS;
2) Stop unconsciously hiring people who are LIKE you, only to discover that you share the same blind spots; and
3) Identify the types of people you ACTUALLY need to surround yourself with, in order to be effective and build what you're meant to build in this life.
To start, think of a project you're currently working on.
Something at work or in your business; perhaps an event you're planning or new initiative you hope to launch.
Now consider the circle with four color quadrants pictured above. Imagine that each color represents a different phase in the creative process, from ideation to execution. Each one flows into the next in a continuous cycle, and each is as important as the next, starting with:
Every project starts with an IDEA -- a magical burst of creative energy, a formless, exciting, high-energy thought that sounds something like: "Hey, wouldn't it be cool IF...?"
In this phase you feel suddenly inspired to start a business, launch a podcast, or move to New Zealand. This phase includes broad statements, ideas, concepts. Here, there are no details, no how-to. It's pure, formless idea creation.
In the words of Napoleon Hill: "Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes."
AND, as the Buddha observed: "An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists merely as idea."
... Which is why the next three phases are so critical.
Next week, we'll go into depth exploring the different contributions of the White, Blue, and Yellow parts of the process.
And we'll look at how you can use these insights not just to manage your own projects more effectively -- but also to surround yourself with the RIGHT people, who can help you turn ideas into reality way more effectively than you ever could alone.