Open the Box – A Fish?!

Awhile back I was working through a visualization exercise mentioned in Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work”. My first post regarding this can be found here and if you search my blog you’ll a number of other visualizations that I’ve found useful using this. Let me summarize what this entails:

  • Imagine a box with a lid. Hold the box in your hand. Now open it.
  • What’s inside?
  • It might be a frog, a silk scarf, a gold coin of Persia.
  • But here’s the trick: no matter how many times you open the box, there is always something in it.

Over time I’ve found a golden table, a pressure washer, wood floors and a few others.

I hadn’t exercised my imagination in this way for a while, so I decided to give it a go and opened the box afresh. Today I found……a fish.

Immediately I assumed that the fish was a result of recently having spoken to a group of environmental scientists about social media, community and a local habitat called Fish Park. That was too obvious, though. I decided to sit with this image for a while and let other thoughts and images arise. It was pretty interesting.

What I arrived at for this particular visualization is the organic, chaotic and yet completely critical aspects of all of the factors, actors and environments that comprise this habitat. This describes communities, businesses and processes pretty well, too.

When considering your business, organic could be seen as that core competency that brings value to your customers and the community around you. It’s what the life of you company consists of. Chaotic is usually not hard to define in your business; that’s what happens when your business plan meets the real customer head-on. The challenge in gathering organic and chaotic together is learning to manage the awareness of the real lack of control you have. There are some “levers you can pull” to try to guide the flow of organic growth and direct some of the chaos into creativity and productivity. There are any number of experts, mentors, articles, books, workshops and the like you may consult and work with that may help you in your enterprise. However, it is still your organic chaos that you must work with. With the right kind of attention to the complexity and a willingness to, as we used to say at one of my previous employers, “be comfortable with ambiguity“, your likelihood of making headway and achieving your goals if much higher.

Over the next month I will be addressing some specific questions that others have submitted via my Social Sapiens website. In considering these questions, which are pretty specific, I will be taking this same approach: sit with the question for a bit and allow the question behind the question to emerge and then go after that one.

I’m really looking forward to this, because “there’s more to this park than the fish.”

2 thoughts on “Open the Box – A Fish?!

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