When we talk about an idea with others something happens to the idea. For some the creative relationship between you and the idea begins be lost, and the idea flutters away. Others it can become a collaboration that builds greater steam. What makes up each, and how can you ensure you are seeing the birth of these ideas vs them being lost in the past of work that didn’t get done?
You are the visionary and the artist
Business or personal, your ability to envision and create is a gift we all bare. You may at this moment be sketching out several small and large ideas. Each is flowing on its own independently, and everything you see and do feeds it. I gratefully draw from all aspects of my life to inspire my creative efforts. Here are a few to give examples:
- Poster and flyer designs are dancing in my mind that would be appealing and informative for my Rwanda hospital charity effort
- Scripts and approaches to use on Azure for the engineering teams to solve some technical challenges at scale
- Training and programs for my student athletes — combining the science and the art of fun and experiential that promotes success
- Writing and speaking of ideas on areas that are valuable to others, such as this piece
Each of these involves introspection, trial and error, and then creation. It requires us to be both the visionary and the artist.
You are the Visionary
You must be the visionary. This is huge for those seeking to create and build anything in life. You MUST see a path to achieve the goals and objectives you hold dear. We each have different strengths across the mediums we play in, but we each have some strengths to power our cause.
This is super important, we can never outsource the vision. The truth is vision stems from your own purpose and the impact you are seeking. The vision you develop in your mind is foundational to then having an impact!
To create a vision of what to create, draw, build, write, and share only requires you. A good method to adopt, whether for personal or professional purposes is as follows:
- What is your purpose in this area? (Are you trying to create a new widget that changes the lives of cats? Are you looking to be the most inspirational Father you can be? Are you seeking to create the most cutting edge cloud product?)
- What impact are you chasing? This gives you context and color in the effort itself. I like to focus on the WHO in this moment. How will they benefit, what do they need, etc…
- Then allow your minds eye, sketchbook, and keyboard flow. Put ideas down, and do not allow any negative feedback to occur. Literally just see where you go with your vision.
By shutting down negativity and “no that can’t work”, you allow yourself to explore creatively to a great set of options. Each idea builds on the next idea, and so it is incredibly important to allow that building and branching process to occur.
You are the artist
Once you have achieved and seen the possible creation that serves your purpose, you need to create it. There is no one else that will create it. This is tough love here, but you must be the one to first draft it with the maximum skill you have today.
Your final version that you create must also be ready to use. That means as the artist, we must produce something that is good enough to the cause. You may be drawing on a computer, using clay, painting in person, using a whiteboard, or making sketches on napkins. It doesn’t matter, so long as when you “finish” you can use it for your cause.
Just because you can — doesn’t mean you will. We just must be capable of sharing it at this point. The reason is, execution is hard and life happens. To see our art touch the world requires US to make it without delay. Ideas have a funny way of losing their intimacy, value, and impact if delayed too long.
You have probably seen it dozens of times — you and friends have a great idea; you bounce it around, and then nobody makes it happen. Then weeks or years later you realize you never did that thing you said you would do, and you all regret it.
To succeed in seeing our ideas touch the world:
- Free flow ideas to find a path (your vision)
- Create a minimum viable product that you can use today (your art)
- Hire a craftsman to take your MVP to the next level
At step 3 we simply choose to hire a craftsman who can take our now fully formed idea and MVP, and make it professional. This is only necessary in some domains and markets. Frankly only where absolute precision is required — it is better in many cases (family clay pots, online marketing) to be authentic and simple and not overly produced!
Hire only when required to perform. In these cases it is highly recommended you try BOTH your version and then introduce the produced version from the craftsman. Allow your audience and the market to decide. Plus, by releasing your version first while the other is being produced, you gain time and feedback that can then be leveraged by the craftsman in that version.
Collaborations that build steam
Being a solo artist is hard, and as a team it can be incredibly enjoyable. To have success here these team projects should be work that requires multiple disciplines of skills and experience. An example would be building a house — something that requires vision, design, physics, materials, and construction assembly talent.
In these team efforts it can follow the same origination process:
- Purpose — Shared by the team
- Vision of idea — Developed using open idea board session (sometimes over multiple sessions) to capture all possible flows. Care needs to be taken here to not squash ideas or have single folks dominate these brainstorming sessions. Consider breakouts and single journal collection practices here too
- Art — Creation, everyone gets together and builds. It’s done when it is done. This must contain who is the owner of each element, dates of commitment, and needs / blockers
- Coordination — Daily habitual status checks on the progress is absolute. The team must see this to the end and pick up any challenges
The purpose and vision must be reverberating through the team’s lives. It must be their mantra and the need in the forefront. If we do not maintain this connection — emotionally, visually, and intellectually we will lose the creative energy needed to overcome the multitude of challenges that will emerge in the process.
Smaller teams are best, but for projects at scale this can mean dozens of small teams all working on the same effort.
The key to creating and doing lies in the culture and keeping the fire of your idea tied to the purpose
Go create and have impact
To have the privilege to create and share it with others is a great gift. The point is to share based on your purpose. Everyone is an artist and it is only a matter of choice whether or not you have created the framework and trust to share it with others.
You can do this! The idea that is realized and in the hand of others having an impact, is better than the idea that never became real. Keep these tips close at hand to keep being creative and productive:
- Something made is better than not
- Don’t judge your work or others before it is finished
- Let the market decide if it is good
- Anything you create can be given to a professional to meet tight standards, but they cannot create anything without your creation
- Why not see what happens, the joy of creation is more than enough reward
- Who knows, you may just be great at it!
I can’t wait to see what you bring to the world, no go on and be the artist I know you can be today.
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I am a father, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity veteran, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.