For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:
I recently went out for tea with a new friend from one of my Meetups as part of the Unique Genius Experiment.
And she started talking about reconnecting with what you did as a child—before layers of conditioning and other people’s ideas started coming in.
Even though it’s something we think about a lot in our work, somehow the way she said it just hit me differently. And I was immediately transported back to being 10 years old.
Not surprisingly, I wrote. A lot. I’d stay up late writing short stories, full novels, screenplays. Hell, I’d write any chance I got. There was so much brewing inside of me, just waiting to be unleashed.
But the trouble was—even despite my deep desire to write—I never had a full story mapped out in my mind. Honestly, I never really knew what to write about. I’d excitedly jump on the keyboard, ready for a masterpiece to come out. And, more often than not, I’d feel stuck.
Stories never came to me. Instead, I’d often see just a scene. Maybe a young woman dancing on a table in a crowded bar. Or a guy hurriedly walking down a staircase. Or a kid longingly looking in the mirror.
Just little vignettes that played in my mind. I’d write them down with every last detail, hoping to capture the scene as accurately as I saw it.
Like I was being given a window into a world—their world. A world that already existed in some other time or space or dimension. And my only job was to report on something that was very much already alive and bring it into this world.
And what always surprised me was how much this scene did bring it into this world. Once I painted my entry-point scene, I was suddenly immersed in their world. I began to follow them through their day. Seeing more of what was happening.
And I didn’t need to invent a plot at all. In fact, the challenge was for me—as the silent observer—to get the hell out of the way and stop projecting my own stuff onto the scene. Because it was very much alive and bustling already.
My only job was to translate the vision into this world—a vision that had its own life.
In many ways, I was discovering as I was creating. The more I created, the more I could discover. And the more I discovered, the more I could create. Until, sooner or later, an entire story lay bare before me.
It’s something I kind of experience every day on here. Truth be told, I don’t plan these posts for a whole range of reasons. But one pretty good one is it forces me to hone my visionary abilities.
I can’t contract and contrive and control the entire process. I just have to get out of my own way and allow myself to discover the post even as I’m writing it. Like co-creation. It’s alive. I fully trust that it’s alive. And I trust that I’m capable of sharing it through my own unique, subjective lens.
And then it’s created.
And, whether it’s good or bad doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that I practice allowing myself to be a visionary. To purely channel what’s coming through me without fear or insecurity or my desperate attempts to control the process.
And it’s frustrating, isn’t it? To not see a whole vision but rather this tiny little glimpse. Like we’re peering into another world through a keyhole.
And we’re expected to create from—that?!
It takes tremendous courage and trust and—surrender. I mean, we can’t control the process at all. And it might work out. But it might not. And we have to feel capable of even translating and creating the vision, in the first place.
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve scrapped in my life. Because I felt this compulsion—this deep desire to write. And I saw a vision and translated it the best I could. And then it wasn’t really working. So I scrapped it.
And maybe there was a time that I internalized that “failure” and clung back to those stories that I’m “too much” and “not enough.” But, fortunately, somewhere in there, I got the courage to just keep getting up and creating.
Not for any particular result. But simply to practice being a visionary.
Because the more I practiced, the more I learned how to trust myself. How to get out of my own way. How to have faith in the process.
And that’s all we’re ever doing, aren’t we? Just learning to have faith when the whole world tells us we’re crazy and delusional. That we can’t do this. That it’ll never happen. That we’re “too much” and “not enough.”
That we should close and tighten and settle.
I’ve been told so many times in my life to settle. Only it never quite sounds like “settle.” It sounds a lot more like, “Change your mindset” or “Just decide to be happy,” or “Don’t be so demanding,” or “You should be grateful.”
Instead of holding out—taking the risk for the thing we really want—to just close in and settle on the sure thing.
We’re so uncomfortable with that liminal space of expansion—the space where a vision exists. Where unmanifested possibilities are endless. And nothing is quite yet settled.
It’s the place of pure faith. The place of the vision. Where we can’t control or contrive it. Where we’re co-creating with something unseen but very much alive.
We get the slightest glimpse of an idea and, rather than allow it to unfold for us, we want to assume and extrapolate and create on the spot.
We want it to be solid. We want to know how we can make money from it. Or be sure we have clients, customers, and patrons in the wings. Or at least predict every form of criticism we might get.
It’s kind of like seeing one little aspect of a new friend and then trying to tell them who they are and what they should do with their life. It’s objectifying. It’s pretending that the other isn’t alive.
It’s fear. Fear of that liminal space of intimacy, surrender, co-creation, faith.
As a child, I wasn’t so afraid of that space. And it’s something I work to cultivate and re-claim every single day.
Because we visionaries exist in the liminal space of possibilities. In the endless realm of visions. In the world where we refuse to settle for the sure thing in favor of holding space for the real thing.
To be a visionary is to peer into the realm of the infinite and alive, and translate its story for the world to see.
More than anything, that takes immense faith.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Are you uncomfortable in the uncertain space of the vision?
— Do you ever get the slightest glimpse of a vision but either dismiss it or assume the rest because you don’t know where it’s going? Do you want to rush the process or wait to create until you have total clarity? Do you want to settle for what feels practical, easy, or “good enough”?
— Do you feel uncomfortable in that space of surrender and faith? Where you don’t quite know where things are going or if this will even work out at all? Do you struggle to believe that your vision is alive and fully exists in another realm or dimension? Do you sometimes feel you might be missing out on the “real thing” because you’re scared to lose the “sure thing”?
— What if you could start creating from the tiny little glimpses you do see of your vision? What if you could immerse yourself into the world of your vision and let it unfold for you? What if being a visionary takes tremendous faith and trust—and those are the keys to true co-creation, where you feel supported by your vision?