[Continued from Know Your Net]

In addition to using the phrases “honest moment” and “honest action,” I used the term “honest pursuit” and Skip asked, “Pursuit? Same or different from honest action and honest moment.”

One of my favorite terms from the theatre is “split intention.” It has come in handy most of my life and is useful in all settings from corporate to non-profit to education. Viv gave me the perfect shorthand definition for a split intention. It’s from a Chinese proverb: chase two rabbits and both will get away. Chasing two rabbits splits your focus and confuses your action. For actors, a split intention happens when the actor believes they can determine what they audience will think of their performance. They focus on audience response rather than pursue their intention on the stage. The split focus also splits the audience from entering the story. The actor engages in a power game by trying to please or be seen as…. The performance experience for all concerned becomes a lie rather than an opening to a deeper relationship, a shared moment of truth. The pursuit is a false.

In my past life facilitating change processes in education and organizations, I often used two related phrases that are aspects of a split intention: circumstance driven and intention driven. Organizations spend oodles of time defining their values with the notion that they are driven by a clean set of aligned values. It’s nice on paper but falls apart when the money dries up. Nothing goes out the window faster when the economy tanks than the phrase, “We value our employees.” If you want to know what an organization or nation really values, watch what they do when the cash flow disappears. An honest pursuit doesn’t waver when the circumstance changes. This is one reason why I love artists and the artistry in myself: we do the work whether there is money or not. The artistry trumps the circumstance. The imperative runs deep.

Entrepreneurs and artists are a similar breed of cat. Both are marginally feral. They desire artistic/creative freedom. They want their ideas to be manifest in the world and desire to prosper from their efforts. They want to create their own constraints. Usually (but not always), entrepreneurs are trying to fill a need. They are in a service profession (whether they recognize it our not). They have fun creating cool things that make life easier for the user. Entrepreneurs split themselves when they succumb to the illusion that an investor controls their destiny. They split themselves when they give away their intention for investor dollars. They essentially become circumstance driven and, like the actor attempting to be liked by the audience, their pursuit becomes false. They give away the essential for the immediate.

The split becomes visible in their pitches. Are they pursuing the creation of their idea or hunting for dollars? This distinction is a swords edge but the difference is dramatic. After all, a pitch is made to investors. However, in the first case, the pursuit is intention driven and the second case it is circumstance driven. How much of the idea/dream will be sacrificed for the funding? It takes dollars to make an entrepreneur’s idea manifest. It also takes boundaries. Actors succeed when their pursuit is in service to the play and not themselves. Entrepreneurs succeed when their pursuit is in service to their users and not to their funders.

[to be continued]

For a humorous look at the wonderful world of innovation and new ventures, check out my new comic strip Fl!p and the gang at Fl!p Comics.

3 Responses

  1. DEEP ROOTED WISDOM, EXCELLENT, THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!

  2. WOW. You’re *on*, my friend. Love it! Applying it to my music. Thank you!

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