I found this model in the book Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, and Organization Change by David Sibbet.
I find it an effective model to help you discover where it is that you’re stuck, and what it is that you really need to move forward.
Sibbert uses the terminology here called Four Flows of Thinking but the basic concept can be found elsewhere, and I share the alternate terminology because it might resonate with you in a different way.
In common terms:
In Carl Jung’s terms:
Sibbert’s terms seem an easier fit with business, so let’s go with his 1. Attention, 2. Energy, 3. Information, 4. Operations
I think each individual, or each business, will find one realm more comfortable than the others and therefore they resort to that realm by default when forward progress is providing resistance.
What’s the right business for you? It’s probably not the same business as the right business for Jennifer or Bob. Attention is your unique ability to make connections between ideas and concepts in order to create unique value.
Attention is the realm of ideas, imagination, creativity and innovation. Most people I know have a surplus of ideas. If you find yourself stuck in idea collection mode, then the issue is probably at the next step . . .
Energy is about how we feel. If I feel confident, I move forward. If I lack confidence, I remain stuck and likely seeking the next “shiny object”. A lack of confidence isn’t the only feeling energy that stops progress. Overwhelm, fear, anger, stress, frustration, depression, confusion and all of their variations will stop you too.
This isn’t a sales pitch: in my experience the most effective way to deal with this level is The Release Technique which is a process for recognizing limiting feelings and letting them go. It sounds simple, and it usually is – if you know the process. I highly recommend it.
There is no shortage of information available. The issue is now the ability to discern good information from bad information – needed information from clutter. As more information has become available the need for specialization has become critical. No longer can the jack-of-all-trades thrive as he could in the recent past.
If you’re struggling with information overload there’s only one solution: choose a focus.
This is my own greatest struggle – the struggle to focus, to keep things simple . . . it comes back to “The Secret of the One Thing”. Just as we know our best chance of selling something is to present one option instead of nine, so too is it true that our best chance of success is to focus on the one thing we’ve chosen.
Implementation. This is where the rubber meets the road, literally.
But here’s my take.
If things aren’t good at the Attention level, they can’t be good at the Energy level. What if the idea that you could choose how you feel never entered your mind? That’s a concept I found radical and life changing at the age of 27!
Or if you don’t feel like you’re smart enough, blessed enough, good enough – would you even seek out the information necessary to make a change in your life? I have known many capable people in my life that have no made the first effort because they don’t believe anything better is possible.
And if you don’t have the right data, information, know-how or connections could you ever build a road?
One on level this is a simple model that can clearly show you what you need to get going. If you have the idea to build a business, the energy to get it done, and the information you need to make it happen but it’s not happening then it’s a matter of operations – getting the right systems in place to produce the desired outcome.
On another level, a deeper level, this requires radical honesty and introspection.
I’ve been on that journey of introspection recently which should tell you something, and hopefully encourage. After years of success, running down the path that opened in front of me, I found myself lost in the woods – uninspired, unsure, grasping for answers.
But the answers I’ve needed weren’t information answers because I have, and have had, all of the information I need. My issues was Level One – Attention and intentions. What am I doing, why and I doing it and for whom?
That’s critical stuff and at some point, without those answers, the mojo runs dry.
I want and encourage discussion here – so please, if you have a question, comment or insight step up. We can all learn and grow in from the process.