- What comes to mind when you think about turning your passion into a business?
- What are you currently making or doing for free that could be marketed?
- Do you have a solution that could become a product or service?
- Do you have any visible/tangible manifestations of that idea?
- What would it take to start producing/doing something from your idea on the smallest scale possible?
- What is the closest thing to that idea that is currently being offered?
- What existing business or other entity (nonprofit, government body or agency) might possibly be working on an idea like yours? Who might be interested in it?
- Who would be interested in buying your solution? Why would it appeal to them? What do they need?
- >What is one area of your practice that would benefit from a period of learning?
- What material items would you need?
- What books would you read?
- What other learning resources would you use (e.g., workshops, online courses, tutorials, manuals)?
- Whom do you know with the most expertise in this skill area? Who else could advise you?
- How much time will it take to: a) Acquire the basic knowledge needed to ask good questions and make a plan for using the skill? b) Acquire enough competency to do a small, simple project for yourself or for free for someone else? c) Become capable of doing a bigger project with some guidance? d) Become skilled enough to incorporate the skill into your practice in a minor way? e) Become skilled enough to complete projects that require the skill in order to be successful?
Whatever field you are in, starting or belonging to a Think Pond can be a vehicle for:
- Doing joyful, creative, meaningful, and fulfilling work.
- Having conversations and experiences that stretch the mind, spark the imagination, and expand the vision.
- Making “digital life” less fragmented, more inquiring, more purposeful, and more aspirational.
- Becoming attuned to possibilities and potential changes that could have wide-ranging effects.
- Working with a diverse array of minds and talents.
People in the following situations can benefit especially from Think Ponds:
Good Job, Dreams on Hold
You are starting to feel that dreams, creativity, and fulfillment are luxuries that must take a back seat when seeking employment, keeping your well-paying job, and getting ahead at work. You find the future too unnerving to consider. You often remind yourself that you are lucky just to have a job that pays the bills.
Think Pond Benefits: You will have an outlet for expressing who you are, a reduced likelihood of burnout in your job, and a better likelihood that you will be ahead of the curve when your profession or industry changes.
Fulfilling Career, Financial Uncertainty
You are in love with your job but worried about whether the income you earn will sustain you and whether you will be ready to seize opportunities to go to the next level when you have grown out of your current job. You are trying to “make it” in a creative sphere and are having trouble getting noticed or accepted into the dominant group.
Think Pond Benefits: By participating in small projects whenever you can, you will have opportunities to tap into additional income streams without detracting from your job and to show what you can do to people outside your industry or profession. You will increase your visibility as a professional by creating new avenues for sharing your creative work and unique skills in more diverse contexts.
Career Success, Change Agent
You are secure in your job and confident that you have the foresight and agility to stay ahead of the next wave of change in your profession or market. Your work is energizing and fulfilling. You have a clear, compelling dream, know the path to achieve it, and have the necessary knowledge and resources to boldly step onto that path and follow where it leads. You would like to help others.
Think Pond Benefits: You will have greater visibility, opportunities to accelerate success and diversify your network, a wealth of ideas and topics for your blog or Linked In presence.
By Deborah Vrabel
How does putting the adjective “online” or the lowercase “i” in front of the noun “presence” change the meaning? What is carried over from our past use of the word—and what connotations do I want to keep and discard?
I think “presence” has three distinct connotations. I’m going to explore them as a way to “deconstruct” the term “iPresence.” (Apologies to Derrida if I’ve used this term incorrectly.)
A Woody Allen quote captures the most literal meaning of presence: “80% of life is showing up.” The teacher calls your name and you raise your hand and say “Present!” Whatever your academic preparedness or intentions to participate, you have cleared the first hurdle. You are there. Sometimes that simple kind of presence—being there with no distinction, no defined role, nothing unique to say or do—is all that is needed or required. You show up—you smile and congratulate and stand among the wedding guests in one solid block of love and support for a couple starting their journey together. Even if your mind is a million miles away and your mood is anything but festive, you have helped make this memory for them.
Second, presence has come to mean “attentiveness” or “mindfulness.” When we are present to someone, we are more than present physically. We also listen carefully and notice even the tiniest things. We are invested. We are “in the moment.” We “witness and wait” as Walt Whitman said. We are present when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.
A similar kind of presence, also called “presence of mind,” speaks to the ability to think quickly and respond appropriately and competently when something unexpected happens—whether a threatening situation, an awkward moment, or a good opportunity. I think Leo Tolstoy’s Three Questions (which are embedded in the Think Pond concept) show the thinking of someone with this type of presence:
- When is the best time to do each thing? (Answer: The most important time is now. The present is the only time over which we have power.)
- Who are the most important people to work with? (Answer: The most important person is whoever you are with.)
- What is the most important thing to do at all times? (Answer: The most important thing is to do good to the person you are with.)
Finally, presence is used to describe an outward demeanor some people have that enables them to capture and hold attention and admiration. Ask ten people to think of someone they know who has “presence” and describe that person in one word or phrase, and you could easily receive several different answers:
“lights up a room” … “commands attention” … “star quality” … “elegant” … “poised” … “shows grace under pressure” … “unruffled.”
I would contend that part of what gives them this demeanor is the inner quality of attentiveness, as described above, along with self-confidence, purpose, and inner strength.
I think all of these are relevant to iPresence. Clearly, Think Pond needs to be “there” in the social media milieu. And “showing up” needs to be more than just setting up that web site or blog, signing up for that account, and reposting other people’s writing.
Think Pond has to show up with meaning and over time. How many times have you heard the plea “Like us on Facebook” and then found a page that serves no discernible purpose and seldom changes? I know I have created a couple of those.
Think Pond needs to cultivate the “attentive and mindful” kind of presence I described, as well. That means learning from others, commenting on other people’s work thoughtfully, noticing things and making our own conclusions. It means being relevant–which is impossible without paying attention to what’s going on around you–both online and off-line–and taking your opportunity to jump in and participate.
And that will help with developing the last kind of presence–that ineffable quality that people admire and find reassuring. If Think Pond consistently practices the other two types of iPresence, we’ll have that voice that commands attention, that always seems poised for anything. We’ll be well on the way to Rich iPresence.