Remember: Genius Awaits in the 4th Draft

[4-Minute Read]Pursuing any goal involves creating something that didn't exist before, and nothing is more toxic to that process than impatience.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

Remember: Genius Awaits in the 4th Draft

Pursuing any goal involves creating something that didn’t exist before, and nothing is more toxic to that process than impatience.

I like to write a reflection whenever I reach a project milestone. I gain the same satisfaction as when I’m climbing a mountain and can look down into the valley to see my progress. I enjoy capturing the learning and having a reference point to reflect on during the months and years ahead.

This week I achieved a milestone in the development of Inside A Bold Mind (IABM), and in this story, I share with you the reflection I wrote. I do that with two intentions.

Firstly, I used my favourite reflection scaffold, which you might find helpful. It’s deliberately short and sweet, for reasons you can read about in How To Stop Analysis Paralysis, although the story title succinctly summarises those reasons.

Secondly, the outcomes of the reflection reinforced the importance of patience during a creative process.  

When pursuing any goal, especially a bold one, you are bringing something into the world that didn’t exist before. It might be a new idea, knowledge, skill, or belief. Achieving goals is inherently creative, and nothing is more toxic to creativity than impatience and frustration.

I’ll explain that more during the reflection.

First, a quick backstory refresher…

Inside A Bold Mind began as a blog in February 2022. For years I’ve been the go-to girl when my friends have bold ideas they want to pursue or if they are struggling with their confidence. Retiring from my consulting business in 2020 allowed me to dive deeper into supporting people, and I began sharing my thoughts via a blog.

People then started requesting workshops and mentoring, and things have grown.   

This Week I Reached A Milestone

I have completed the first “go public” version of IABM’s Corporate Program. I’ve written numerous versions during the past eight weeks, but this one is polished enough to go into the hands of potential clients. It’s reached a stage where I’m ready and willing to share the program with people outside my inner circle and get feedback.

The satisfying final draft of Inside A Bold Mind’s Corporate Program.

I wanted to design a program for corporate leaders to improve self-belief within their teams. I had the ingredients roughly mapped out, so my focus was to pressure-test those early thoughts and form a polished program that addressed the specific needs of larger organisations.

In the months leading up to this task, I noticed a consistency in my conversations with corporate leaders. Some of their team members exhibited fear-driven behaviours, and they wanted to support those people to shift gears and be more confident. 

Behaviours like:

  • struggling to make decisions
  • becoming anxious under pressure
  • avoiding challenging situations
  • refusing to take on stretch roles
  • sustaining unhealthy work practices
  • staying silent when they want them to contribute ideas, or
  • questioning their value and abilities.

Options exist for addressing some of these behaviours, but each has limitations. One-on-one or small group coaching works well but is cost prohibitive and logistically challenging at scale.

Motivational speakers at a conference do a great job of spiking self-belief, but the results fade back at the office.

Well-being, mentoring and other personal development programs are also fantastic, but the person must be willing to opt in, and often, their self-doubt holds them back from doing that. Management and time constraints can also inhibit their ability to participate.

I spotted the gap in solutions some time ago. The recent conversations motivated me to finally commit to writing Inside A Bold Mind’s Corporate Program.

‘Kill Your Darlings’ Proved Truthful, Again

‘Kill your darlings’ is one of my favourite quotes from Stephen King’s A Memoir of The Craft. He wasn’t the first to coin the expression, but it was the first time I read it.  

Have you ever had an idea you truly loved? They frequently emerge when I’m writing or designing a new strategy or product. Stephen King says it’s easy to become too attached to those early good ideas, and you need to be willing to wipe them out to make way for the great ideas that come later.

Creativity requires you to make the trash bin your new best friend.

Stephen King’s advice proved invaluable yet again.

My aim in writing the first draft of the IABM Corporate Program was to get something written, knowing it would be ugly and jagged.

Writing a first draft is like throwing clay onto the potter’s wheel. I end up with a lump of clay, not a finished pot, but the clay must be on the wheel before I can start creating something functional and beautiful.  

Getting the lumpy ideas out of my head and into a document gave me the advantage of objectivity. I could then see the shortfalls that required more work. For instance, it became apparent that I wrote the first draft from the perspective of what I wanted to do rather than the client’s point of view.

I shifted the point of view in the second draft, and the document flowed much better. My lump of clay began shaping into a pot.

I shared drafts three and four with my trusted inner circle. They challenged my ideas and pushed my thinking more. Better words and concepts emerged to explain the images I held in my head.

With each round good ideas were scrapped to make space for great ones.

My Patience is Growing

Patience is not one of my natural virtues. Learning to sit with a project long enough to write multiple drafts has been a long process.

In my ideal world, I would nail the perfect document in the first round. Apart from freeing up time to do other things, it would also prove that I do, in fact, have hidden genius. It’s just taken me 52 years to unleash the beast.

But of course, the flaw in that masterful plan is that geniuses earn their status by persisting through countless drafts. Day after day, they dig away layers of dirt and debris to reveal the gold nugget underneath. People rarely remember a genius’s digging. They only remember the gold discovered.   

During this project, I’ve gained a richer appreciation of the creative process. I’ve become confident with scrapping what I’ve created and starting afresh.

I’m learning to dig deeper and relax while doing it. Of that, I feel proud.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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