Entrepreneurs often ask me, “Why am I not getting any clients?” or “Why isn’t this happening for me?” And certainly we all ask such questions occasionally, whether as business owners or in other areas of our lives when what we’re trying to bring about or create just doesn’t seem to be coming together for us.
While there may be many reasons that something isn’t happening the way we’d hope or envisioned it, one common cause is that we really haven’t envisioned it at all — we’ve simply thought about it in an abstract or intellectual way. And if we’ve not really envisioned it with any sense of wholeness, clarity or power, then we haven’t truly committed to creating, so the focus of our creation lacks force and is subject to deterioration in the face of challenges, anxieties, or other responsibilities. A half-hearted, partial-focus effort yields a like-quality result.
In contrast, if we want to bring something about — an organizational vision, attracting a certain quality of client or project, a writing or art project, a collaborative effort, or any number of other endeavors or outcomes — we might remember that a whole-hearted effort will bring about a fuller, richer, truer result.
Six steps for power-visioning:
Decide. Consider the example of a newly self-employed individual who is frustrated that nothing seems to be happening with his business — few or no clients, meager revenues, no clear next steps. Upon closer reflection, it becomes clear that the new entrepreneur is scattering his focus and energy on several competing outcomes. For example, he talks about two possible directions for his business, while continuing to seek full-time employment and complain that none of those efforts are proving fruitful. He hasn’t committed to being a business owner, much less the creator and shepherd of an enterprise envisioned to be and do a specific thing. Your lesson? Decide not just that you’ll do something, but decide what it is, exactly, that you’re doing.
Commit. Deciding is an intellectual act, albeit a potentially powerful one that helps you to determine the points of your focus. But actually committing to something, well, that’s moving in to a deeper level of involvement and creativity. By committing to a particular endeavor or direction, we agree to see something through and we bring (or attract) resources to bear to help make it happen. Such resources may include our focus, time, energy, money, supplies, or our willingness to persevere or reach out for help. And it’s a lot easier to truly commit to something when it’s something that has true meaning to us (rather than being a goal that we feel someone else expects of us, or wants us to do).
Envision. You’ve said, “Okay, this is the direction I’m committed to taking; this is what I want to create and bring into being.” And yet even now, the process may be wholly intellectual for you. It may be just an idea in your mind, so to speak, and not at all in your body, heart and soul. Creativity is a mind-body-soul activity; it’s an all-out, throw-yourself-into-it kind of thing. Once you’ve decided and committed to a thing, breathe it in. See it, hear it, feel it getting done. Engage all of your senses, and plumb the depths of your imagination. Experience it in your body and spirit, as well as in your mind. Give substance to your envisioning, by creating a collage or drawing or some other physical anchors or reminders of that which you have committed to bringing about.
Feel as if it’s done. Just as a cherry tops an ice-cream sundae, and icing and candles finish off a birthday cake, feeling something as done helps to move the power-vision process closer to completion. As you envision what you’re wanting to bring about, imagine it being done … created … alive. Feel what it feels like, in your body as well as your mind, and remember that feeling.
Expect evidence. When we know something is going to happen, we look for signs that it’s on its way. If we expect a visitor, we may look out the window in the expectation that a car will pull into the driveway. If we’ve ordered a book or are expecting to receive payment for a project, we look in the mailbox with a sense of anticipation. When we want to create something, and we’ve committed and engaged in the creation process, then we begin to look for evidence that the resources and next steps will present themselves today, or this week.
Engage. As we reconnect with our vision of creativity, and look at the visual reminders we’ve posted for ourselves from our visioning, and connect again with the feeling of creating and accomplishing, we begin to see resources, pathways, allies, and next steps emerge before us (if we’re expecting and watching for evidence). Of course, we could ignore them, and thus not complete the creation process. Or we can watch for the evidence, take note of it when it comes — an opportunity here, a request there, an unexpected referral or offer of help — and then do our part of the co-creation process by taking the right action, and propelling the creative process along.
Truly, the process of creating — whether we’re creating a business or nonprofit enterprise, writing a book, starting a group, or undertaking another sort of creative project — is fluid, more like a dancing and meandering stream than a linear, man-made pipeline. But we have a far greater potential for bringing about the results we desire if we’ve truly decided, committed, envisioned, felt it as done, expected and looked for the evidence, and engaged with the creative process to take our right action.
This article was originally featured at Ivy Sea Online and is reprinted with permission.