Discover, Imagine, Try: A 60 Day Wayfinders Sprint
Today I’m excited to introduce a new tool, our 60 Day Wayfinders Sprint – a way to approach any question, idea or new path you’re considering and break it into a short, focused piece of work, ultimately helping you discover, imagine and try out this new endeavor in a thoughtful way.
Before we get into it, I want to start off by talking about curiosity. I’ve been reading a fantastic book, Big Magic by Liz Gilbert, and I know I’ve quoted it a lot in past videos and blogs, but I want to talk specifically about something Liz says about curiosity – and the difference between curiosity and passion.
Now, if you’re like me, maybe you haven’t figured out what your one true passion is. I mean, have you ever had anyone say, ‘Well, figure out what you’re passionate about and then go do that for work.’ Ugh - I don’t know about you but this has never been helpful for me.
The truth is, not everyone has one true passion. You could be someone who has a ton of different passions, interests or hobbies – and still none of them might be right for your career.
Or, you could be like me and be interested in a lot of things but basically not driven by any particular passion.
In her book (and in a terrific podcast episode of Good Life Project), Liz talks about how for the longest time, she believed that everyone had one true passion that could be the driver of their creativity (or for our purposes, of the path of our careers). All anyone needed to do was figure out what that passion was, and then throw themselves fully into it and they’d be set. Yet a run-in with a disappointed fan taught Liz that passion actually isn’t the answer. Curiosity is.
When we follow what we’re curious about, we give ourselves permission to explore in a way that’s lighthearted and informal. Being curious means we can ask questions (even the ‘dumb ones’) because we know the point is to learn. Being curious also means that, if and when we’ve exhausted our exploration and we’re ready to move on, we have the option of becoming curious about something else.
If having a passion is like issuing an emphatic, public declaration of our one true love, then being curious gives us the chance to flirt a little.
In Big Magic Liz talks about how, feeling burnt out and in need of some new creative energy, she decided to plant a garden. Not because she was passionate about gardening or wanted to be the best green thumb on the block, but because she was curious to see what she might grow. One inkling of curious exploration slowly transformed into a more thoughtful, deeper engagement with flowers and their histories – which in the end led to her traveling the world to interview historians, flower merchants, and other experts, which ultimately became the basis of one of her recent books. All of it because she followed her curiosity.
So, let’s toss aside the idea of passion for the time being, and focus on acting like curious investigators with a question or idea we want to pursue.
When you think of your wayfinding journey, what is the one big question you’re asking yourself? What is the primary idea you’re eager to unpack and explore?
It could be about taking a new job, or quitting the job you have. It could be about learning about how to come back from maternity leave in a way that works for your growing family and the responsibilities of your job. It could be about wanting to go back to school. Or something entirely different!
Whatever it is, have it in your mind as you look through this Sprint activity. In it I’ve broken down our focus into three primary areas: Discover, Imagine, Try. If you’ve ever heard about or used Design Thinking, these areas will sound a lot like the phases of a design thinking sprint (but it’s perfectly ok if you haven’t!). I’ve taken what I know from design thinking and adapted it into an easy Wayfinders format – focusing on discovering through curious inquiry and learning, imagining the ideas we have for ourselves and our future, and trying out a handful of experiments to help us get traction and validate our ideas.
Download the free 60 Day Wayfinders Sprint activity here.
If you’re curious (yep, there’s that C-word again), here’s how I originally mapped out this activity on my wall:
As an aside: have you ever wondered where the activities on Wayfinders Collective come from?
The honest truth is that all of the tools I have shared were borne out of my own wayfinding journey – trying to explore, learn and make plans after a job transition that was out of my control. One of the biggest efforts I undertook on my own was creating my own wayfinding design sprint. After 60 days of intentional effort, I knew more, felt more grounded in my own understanding of myself and my interests, and had even lined up some experiments that have ultimately helped me refine my focus and purpose. This is, as they say, a case of eating my own dog food – which means I know exactly how it feels to be stuck, uncertain or overwhelmed, and also how liberating and empowering it is to get started with anything.
If you’re feeling that way, I encourage you to consider one question or idea you’re curious about and use this Sprint activity as the engine that helps you get going in the right direction. Maybe you undertake a Discover phase and leave it at that; maybe you throw yourself into a condensed, 30 Day version of what I’ve outlined here. Whatever you do, get started.
As my mom has always told me, ‘You have to get on the bus. You can always change your seat later.”
Next stop: curiosity!