2014 Explorations

As one year ends and another begins, I often like to reflect back on the past year’s lessons and begin the new year with some clarity about what I’d like to explore next.

The 2013 year was an amazing one for me, filled with many wonderful growth experiences. Indeed it was one of the best years of my life. I could be quite happy if all I did was have another year like that.

I think what made 2013 so great was that I put a lot of energy into improving my relationships and lifestyle. I loosened up on advance planning and opened doors without knowing where they’d lead.

For instance, I went to Europe twice in 2013, once for 4 weeks and then again for 5 weeks. Each time I only booked a one-way flight, not knowing exactly when I’d be back or which cities I’d go to. I followed a trail of invitations and inspirations and had some very memorable experiences. On the second trip, I didn’t have to pay for a place to stay even one night. I’d love to do more traveling like that in the years ahead. Having a return flight booked in advance seems a little stifling now.

I also leaned into some spur-of-the-moment collaborative projects, which have been a great deal of fun and very rewarding.

I’m not aiming to make radical directional changes for the coming year but rather to continue this wonderful sense of flow and expansion that’s already working beautifully.

3D and 4D Relationships

For 2014 I’d love to continue enjoying more 3D and 4D relationships.

In particular I’d like to explore at least one other long-term connection this year. Short-term connections are nice, and I still welcome them — especially all the cuddling — but I’d love the opportunity to build stronger and more lasting connections when the compatibility is there.

In practice this means finding people who’d enjoy spending time together, working together, traveling together, playing together, helping each other grow, etc. Rachelle and I have enjoyed a wonderful connection like that for years. It would be a delightful expansion to include more people in this kind of exploration and lifestyle.

I’m in a pretty abundant, happy, and loving place right now, so I don’t feel this desire is something I need to force but rather something I can just allow to unfold in its own perfect time.

Collaborative Projects and Teamwork

As a side effect of upgrading my relationships and spending more time with highly compatible people, I’ve been leaning into more collaborative, co-creative projects. I’d love to do more projects along these lines in 2014. Harnessing and flowing with the creative energy of a group is a lot of fun — if they’re the right people who enjoy this kind of experience.

The key to making such projects work, at least for me, has been doing this collaboration face to face as much as possible. I’m okay with handling some parts of a project via the Internet, but I prefer to do the actual creative part, like recording a new product or designing and delivering a new event, with the whole team in person. There’s a special energy about working together in the same physical space that I just can’t reproduce in a virtual way.

This was one of the things I enjoyed most about my old computer games business. I loved getting the team together at the office, or a restaurant, or some other place, and talking about design ideas in person. When I later did most of this collaboration over the Internet, seemingly for efficiency reasons, I didn’t enjoy the process nearly as much. In person, people can energize each other much more strongly than they can from a distance.

So I want to keep exploring this dynamic of collaborating and co-creating in 2014. I want to increase my mental and emotional fluidity in how I choose projects and explore new social connections.

At one point I was turned off by team projects because most of the people I knew weren’t the kinds of team players I wanted to work with. But now I’m seeing a greater abundance of people in my life who are truly more motivated by doing something creative, purposeful, and growth-oriented for its own sake. If it makes money, that’s a bonus, and we’ve had an easy time coming up with fair ways to split the revenue from such projects. But making money isn’t the primary goal. The higher priorities are to co-create a growth experience together, to serve and contribute, to express our creativity, to expand our comfort zones and not hold back, and to create more positive ripples in the world. Those are the kinds of projects that light me up. Let’s do more of them!

Interestingly, it was the focus on 3D and 4D relationships that made these projects attractive.

When I allowed my social landscape to become entrenched in too many 1D and 2D connections, the motivation to participate in team projects wasn’t there. Why would I want to work with someone who only cared about making money? Where’s the heart and spirit in such endeavors? I have no desire to do empty, soulless work, even if it might pay well.

So basically I’m finding that the people who make great friends for me are also the people that I can work with really well on co-creative projects. That’s a beautiful synergy. It means that improving my relationships also helps evolve my career path. This development makes me feel pretty happy and optimistic about the coming year.

Consequently, I don’t feel that I’m going to have as much control, as an individual, over my path of growth this year. I’m consciously letting go of the desire to manage my life with specific outcomes in mind, so I can enjoy the benefits of a more fluid, adaptable, co-creative approach. Much of what emerges in my life this year, both personally and professionally, will depend on which people I connect with and collaborate with — and what kinds of experiences we create together.

While I’m pretty open to new collaborative projects in a variety of different forms, there are some obvious candidates. These include:

  • New Products – Much like the recently recorded audio program (currently in the editing phase), it would be fun to co-create new personal growth products with other people. This has the added benefit of generating new streams of passive income for the contributors.
  • New Events – More workshops and live events are a lot of fun too. I already get the benefit of participating in other people’s events, so this remains a big part of my life even when I’m not actively planning new workshops.
  • Software – It could be rewarding to work with a small team to develop and release new personal growth related apps, such as for iOS or Android, starting with simple ideas, testing them, and evolving the ones that gain some traction.
  • Website Evolution – My website continues to get a great deal of traffic, but since I’m not much of a designer (especially due to being color blind), it would be an interesting co-creative experiment to see how other designers could improve or evolve the design, usability, and features.

Projects of the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit

I’ve had no shortage of offers from people wanting to collaborate in some fashion. I’ve been getting such offers nearly every week for years. But the vast majority of those offers have been of the 1D and 2D variety. Usually people just want access to my web traffic to make money. There’s no greater purpose behind their offers — no heart or spirit dimension. And so I just sigh in disappointment and delete those emails. I’ve since programmed some filters into my online contact form, so most of those messages no longer make it through to my inbox.

Alternatively, I sometimes get offers from people that are all heart and/or spirit. They clearly want to change the world, but their ideas are fuzzy and ungrounded. What could I actually do to help them? I have no idea. There needs to be some intelligent practicality behind a project for me to want to get involved. It needs to make sense mentally. Gushing raw emotional and spiritual energy into the cosmos isn’t enough.

When all 4 dimensions are present, we have a potential 4D project with the following qualities:

  • Body – We physically come together in person, face to face, at least for the creative aspects of the project. Even if we live in different cities, we put our bodies in the same physical space for a while.
  • Mind – The concept may be challenging (challenge is great), but the core ideas are practical and grounded enough that they can work in the real world, like creating a new product or delivering a live event. Also, each team member brings valuable skills, resources, and/or a time commitment that can help the project succeed.
  • Heart – The project has a heart. It’s emotionally exciting and motivating — a fun challenge to tackle. The team cares about making it succeed. The team members like and respect each other enough that they’re eager to work with a positive, co-creative spirit.
  • Spirit – The project is purposeful. There are powerful reasons for coming together and making it happen. It could be a serious growth experience for the team members… or a new exploration into uncharted territory… or a creative contribution with positive ripples.

These kinds of projects excite me. They’re the ones that I can say yes to, the ones where I smile within the first few minutes and say, “You had me at hello.” 🙂

As I’ve had the good fortune to participate in several projects of this nature, with varying degrees of involvement, I’m looking to do much more along these lines in 2014… and most likely well beyond.

The #1 Challenge

The #1 challenge in making all of the above a reality is finding good 4D-minded people to connect with. Once we meet in person, we usually click right away, and the rest falls into place fairly organically from there. The limiting step is getting to the point of meeting face to face.

The hardest part of this is not getting sucked into partial matches. There are lots of people who only want to collaborate on one or two dimensions. A 4D collaboration isn’t a good fit for them. And even if they’re open to a 4D collaboration, we may not have compatible ideas about what to create together.

Some common obstacles to good 4D collaborations include:

  • Scarcity Mindedness – People who believe they don’t have enough, don’t feel so good about giving more; they tend to inject their financial concerns into the process too early, stunting creativity.
  • Timidity – People who value security over following the path with a heart don’t make good 4D team members.
  • Soullessness – People who’d rather keep doing soulless work will usually keep right on doing that.
  • Joylessness – 4D teams don’t like to include joyless, humorless people; they need people who can help inject fresh motivational energy to the team and keep the inspiration levels from dipping too much.

For a 4D co-creative connection to work, you need to be a stickler for compatibility. Otherwise the team won’t synergize. We all have to be willing to co-create an evolving group vision where no single person has complete control over the outcome. This is not an industrial age, hierarchical model.

I feel I’m doing pretty good with meeting people who are interested in 4D connections and collaborations. I could use a bit more in my life, but I seem to be flowing in that directly naturally now, so I don’t feel a need to push. I expect that new opportunities will line up with relative ease.

So this is what I’m leaning into as we glide into 2014. Where is your path of personal growth taking you these days? What would you like to lean into this year?