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soulful doing

When did Personal Projects become trendy?

Our personal projects activate our soul to show up as a creative energy, through a form of imaginary creatures. (laughing)

Let me tell you about one of the weirdest things I believe in. Ready?

I believe that creativity is a soulful activity. Just notice how a feeling mixed with an intention becomes something that didn’t exist before. Isn’t this magical?

Moreover, our personal projects activate our soul to show up! And how else the soul would show up if not through a form of imaginary creatures? (laughing)

Personal Projects

I haven’t heard anything about personal projects up until around 2012 when I discovered a startup ecosystem. Few years in, I noticed how my friends were having “startup projects” as starters of their tech businesses. Later on, I was seeing how my friends were not only having a job but also “side projects” (sometimes called “passion projects”). “Brainchildren”. “Pet Projects”. Same thing. I call them “Beasties“! Imaginary creatures that activate our imagination and bring us to the future.

Activation part is important. I can look in the mirror, but somehow I cannot see my true self. We cannot see our thoughts until we express them. But brainchildren are like a mirror for who we are, who we may become. They are like guides in this journey of creativity and self-discovery.

When I sit down to create, whether it’s a piece of writing or design, or anything else, the act of doing activates the unseen sides of me. The invisible becomes visible.

Boxed Thinking

But imagination has a shadow. Imagination is wild. Let it go and it’s easy to get lost in the maze of thoughts. But we humans are clever with our libraries of mental models, methods, frameworks and toolkits. We pull our rational cards on the table, and, here, imagination is caught. A wild beast shows up as a thought and becomes our friend through the act of soulful doing. Enter the personal project.

Same way, systems thinkers suggest that every system has a boundary, it’s easier to express creativity with a boundary of a personal project.

The way I frame my projects is I start with naming my beastie. With some of my beasties, I continue with a virtual home for my personal project, while others stay in dedicated places like notebooks logging my creative steps.

But the truth is clear, boxed thinking kicks off “outside the box” mentality.

Portals to the Future

Another feature of personal projects is self-discovery. I love this quote from someone from years ago: “personality is something we partly discover and partly create”. Go, exploration! This is it, the more topics I explore, the more shades in my identity.

It’s funny, that a simple thing as a project can open the doors to the new worlds. The same example of startup founders fits in here. If I call myself a Founder of Tactic App (real story!), I can login to LinkedIn and invite other people with a title of a founder for a virtual coffee to share founder struggles (laughing out loud). Or I can message people I don’t know and ask for an app testing interview (if I’m doing a user research). I can even go on and organise events for a cause, say for Sustainable Development Goals, and people come (real story too).

Hmm. Projects are such a cool way to try a different hat to see how it fits me. I don’t know about you, but as I’m writing this, I remember with curiosity how cool is this – projects as portals to other industries even if we’re beginners in that field.

Hmm.

What future will I teleport to now? What am I curious about?

Personal Coaches

Moreover, projects also serve as a self-development tool. Self-actualisation is a need, science confirms. And I believe that creative projects are the way to fulfil this need.

But more so, bring in the adrenaline of challenging oneself to create x by z. Moments of pause to notice a shortcut. A rollercoaster of problems solved. An inner drive to improve my habits, to optimise my energy throughout the day and week, because I want to show up fully for my Beastie.


Where things get super interesting is when beasties enter the online land. As creatures with their purposes to pursue and missions to form online tribes…

Welcome to a tribal online world.

So, when are you starting your personal project, huh?

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