- In what ways do you consider yourself creative or innovative?
- In what areas do you wish you were more creative or innovative?
- What stimulates your imagination?
- What are some areas within your industry or profession where innovation most needs to happen?
- Based on recognized problems and developments you have seen in recent years, what is the likely next wave of your industry or profession? What change is currently emerging?
- If you could change careers without losing any income, would you do it? If so, what would you do differently?
Venture Launching: Essential Questions
- 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?
The Four Enterprises
Do you think of a career as a sequence of jobs with progressively higher pay and greater responsibility? What if you reimagined your career as a set of four lifelong enterprises that you continuously create and expand and refine. Merriam-Webster defines an enterprise as “a project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky.” In other words, I am talking about endeavors that continue whether you are employed, unemployed, or under-employed. Whatever your circumstances, you keep these four enterprises alive because they supply something you need.
I think everyone need to pursue these four lifelong enterprises, regardless of the individual’s passions, aptitudes, credentials, employment experiences, assets, and constraints:
Dream Chasing. Using your imagination fully. Paying attention to the sensory experiences, images, and cultural expressions that swirl around you and mindfully pursuing those that awaken your mind, heighten the intensity of your emotions, and enrich your soul. Exploring possibilities, envisioning your desired future, and inventing the kinds of endeavors that will both fulfill you and make a positive difference. . . .
Life-Embedded Learning. Taking advantage of the numerous learning opportunities afforded by books, media entities, technologies, community resources, and people in your sphere. Continually investigating what you know and what you think you know. Consciously developing and applying new skills, adapting existing knowledge and skills in new areas, and finding greater depth of meaning and significance in the people, environments, and experiences you encounter.
Solution Crafting. Looking at your life from different perspectives and seeking ways to synergize your assets and talents. Bringing an artistic sensibility, design thinking, and surprise into whatever you produce. Continually generating divergent ideas about how to look at and respond to circumstances, problems, challenges, opportunities, and desires–both individually and collaboratively. . . . .
Venture launching. Thinking about and testing ways to carry your ideas and solutions forward into the marketplace for your profit, into the public sphere for the good of others and the enrichment of the culture, or just into a wider conversation for their continued development and enrichment.
Think Ponds: Who Benefits?
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.