The most fundamental human desire is to create, and entrepreneurship, to me, is the mastery of the creative process. Purposeful creation involves two steps - intention and alignment. In order to create anything, we must first set our intention for bringing it into being (for example by envisioning it). To actually then bring the intended thing or experience into being, we have to find our alignment with it, which is how we allow the river of time to take us from the source of intention to the ocean of results (or, to use another metaphor, it's how we provide the right environment for the seed of intention to grow and turn into the tree of desired results).
Entrepreneurship is typically defined with a lot of vague talk about uncertainty and financial risk-taking, almost to the point where it begins to sound a lot like gambling. When I think about the creative process as the steps outlined above, it is clear to me that there is never any uncertainty or risk involved. Intention + alignment = results, every single time. There can be no exceptions.
Wait, Jordan, what are you saying? Are you out of your mind? Do you live on another planet? Have you not heard of failure?
Like everyone, I have of course experienced failure, more times than I care to admit (or remember). The key to my outlandish faith in the invariance of the above equation is in recognising that creation is a process.
The river of time always flows from the source of intention to the ocean of results, but to get there, you must continuously align your vessel (your mind, your body, your team, your organisation) with the current. You can call it flexibility, you can talk about adapting, or about your business being agile (as opposed to fragile). Martial artists call it fluidity. Venture capitalists call it pivoting. Either way, being aligned with the flow is what gets you from A to B. You know this for a fact, because you know, from experience, that once you're "in the flow" there is no stopping you. This is how things get done. This is how masterpieces get created.
So there can only ever be one kind of failure - the failure to align. Consequently, the only kind of risk in entrepreneurship is the risk of failing to align.
There are many aspects of alignment worth thinking about - mental, emotional, physical, structural, organisational, ideological, technological, legal. What alignment means, and how it works in practice, in a personal and in a business context is the main subject of my work, and of this blog. I will be exploring this subject from all kinds of angles and sharing the more pragmatic insights with you. For now, let's consider some questions about new beginnings:
- Where do new ideas come from?
- How do you know when you are in alignment with your new idea? How do you know when you're not? Can you feel the difference? Can you observe the results of your alignment, or lack thereof?
- How long are you usually excited about a new idea? When do you stop being excited about it? What tends to cause the change?
- Can someone else do your alignment for you? Can other people help you with your alignment? Can they disturb it? What is your typical response to the reactions of others?
- When is a good time to start talking to others about your new beginning?
- Is every new beginning worth pursuing? How would your answer change if there were no risks involved?
- What do you do with ideas that you have decided to not pursue?
- When is it ok to stop pursuing an idea? Why? What do you do with ideas that you have stopped pursuing?
- How do you bring yourself back into alignment?
- Can one idea turn into another?
- What happens once your idea starts picking up momentum on its own?
- What else can go right?