I’ve been coordinating the Peer Voice Project for nearly two years now, and worked with two cohorts. In that time, I’ve witnessed the same thing that all of us bump up against when trying to bring new things to our world; it’s the struggle of what happens when your idea doesn’t quite get off the ground. Everything seems to be there: vision, passion, support. But somehow, it just won’t come together.

I’m in love with ideas. They come to me pretty frequently, I think, because I keep my creative ground fertile. But there is just no way that all those ideas will live. I try to home in on those ideas that have a lot of energy and see where it takes me. Even then, there is no guarantee that it will manifest, and that is ok.

Sometimes it’s just not that idea’s time yet. I’ve put ideas and projects away only to have them resurface – sometimes years later – and get woven into a new idea and a new project.

If we cling too tightly to our ideas, we don’t give them a chance to breathe and evolve. We may end up missing out on opportunities to bring in other ideas, or collaborate, because we only have eyes for the idea that we originally had and saw so clearly.

Liberating Structures has an Ecocycle Planning Structure (see pic above) that includes the step of “Creative Destruction,” which they liken to pruning dead wood, or to plowing. By making it a part of the ecocycle, they recognize that it is a necessary step in any idea’s life, not just when things don’t work.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, has another way of saying it:

“…your worn-out idea or endeavor can shine more brightly if you will take some of it and throw it away. It is the same idea as the sculptor removing more marble in order to reveal more of the hidden form beneath. A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.”

It can be frustrating when our ideas don’t work the way we originally intended and in the timeline we set for them. I hope you can stay fluid in your process and not give up, even if it means you need to start again. Sit in the discomfort of creative destruction and you may be surprised by what emerges.

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