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July Experiment: The Life Leap Canvas
An indispensable tool for organizing your grand ambition
Listen to this essay.
The distance between “I could have” and “I have” is regret.
- Ankur Warikoo, from Do Epic Shit
This is #7 of 12 experiments for the year, offered to get you inspired, thinking creatively, and organized in the pursuit of bold life ambitions of deep personal meaning. (Click on the numbers to read the January through June experiments for 2023 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 .)
The Life Leap Canvas (LLC) is a visual tool helpful in brainstorming and framing the pursuit of your interprize, or your epic shit as Warikoo would say. The past 6 Experiments were designed to uncover North Stars that guide life leaps that build purpose and fuel passions. The LLC displays these and other critical elements and their connections in a simple, invaluable visual.
We’ve adapted the tool from the Business Model Canvas (BMC), taught in business schools around the world (including my courses at INSEAD) and used by entrepreneurs when creating business models for their startup ideas. Many thanks to Alexander Osterwalder at Strategizer for his origination of the BMC and many other tools for mapping entrepreneurial endeavors. You can find a link to them here.
Blueprinting your life leap
There is no obvious, guaranteed strategy for pursuing a grand life leap. The LLC will not create one for you. Operating from a base of assumptions about launching, say, a midlife career in art or founding a school for underprivileged children (just examples of 2 inspiring interpreneurs I know), you’ll experience a series of victories and setbacks, both of which provide valuable learning moments. The LLC should help limit the setbacks and move you closer to victories more quickly. It is a living, breathing diagram that reflects your best thinking at this moment on this day and how that knowledge is improving from these many lessons learned. Update it regularly as your knowledge base builds.
The LLC is comprised of 9 cells as illustrated bellow. The cells in blue highlight the opportunity space you’re pursuing, those in green the ambition and resources through which it is sought. Across the bottom are 2 grey cells reflecting the costs and rewards of Interprize implementation. You have limited control over the blue cells but need to understand them deeply. You’ll have total control over the green cells and need to optimize them accordingly.
Let’s look at each in more detail and in the order they would be initially filled.
First a clarification: In commercial markets there may be a difference between the client (who pays you, or is the gatekeeper of your payments) and the consumer (who benefits from your offering). In my world of musical theatre the theatre is the client, the theatregoer is the consumer. To optimize my chances of success in this business I need to write a musical that the client believes will puts consumers in their seats. So, I create 2 LLCs to clearly delineate my client from consumer, each with different needs, channels, and other elements that need to be understood. I encourage this if you also have multiple patrons to consider.
Start working through your LLC in this order:
Patrons & beneficiaries
Firstly, the critical beneficiary of any interpreneurial pursuit is you, full stop. You shouldn’t be committing precious time, energy, and capital otherwise. That accepted, who is the target patron for this LLC? Who, after you, stands to enjoy the greatest value from from you life leap? Who’s needs and desires are you targeting most acutely? Who will compensate your ambitions?
How does your life leap satisfy the needs and desires for your targeted patron(s)? How does it create value for them? In Experiment #3 we discuss your Mission, that North Star guiding every thing you do. This will help focus on the greatest value you are committed to developing for yourself and others.
Now that you have defined your patrons (far right cell) and their needs that your project should resolve, how does your life leap specifically get this accomplished (far left cell)? This is your grand ambition; your interprize. It fills out the descriptive details of your offering; paints in the numbers. In Experiment #5 a Value Proposition Canvas is offered and explained (another tool adapted from the folks at Strategyzer: click here). It will help tighten the alignment of your ambition with those who most appreciate it.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it,… you know the rest. You may have the most amazing gift, but your patrons still need to know you exist. How do they find you? Where do they seek out offerings like yours? Global social media? Local farmers markets? Do you need an agent? Is there a government agency to connect with? Do you proactively reach out? You have an amazing gift to offer. Your patrons are looking for amazing gifts. How do you make the connection?
Partners & allies
No ambitious pursuit is accomplished in a vacuum. You need help, allies in your corner, partners who care about your success, which might be fueling their success. Are these co-creators, investors, gallery owners, agencies directors, or other? Who can help and how do you entice their support? Can you pay it forward, for this is always appreciated when it’s possible.
IP available now
In Experiment #4 you were asked to list all the assets you possess now that can be leveraged in the pursuit of your grand life ambition: education, experience and skills, reputation, connections, cash, special equipment, etc. We call this your Interlectual Property (IP). List these in the appropriate cell.
IP to be added
What IP is missing to most effectively make that epic life leap? As in cell #6 this could be more cash, targeted contacts, specials tools and equipment, additional training, etc. By filling these in you can see clearly what IP you have and what you need. Now how do you go about getting it?
Rewards & revenues
What are the rewards you seek through the journey and attainment of your life leap? Is income paramount, and if yes how much would mark success? Are you looking for critical acclaim and recognition? By whom? Renovating an old abandoned winery? How many bottles do you plan to sell, at what price? Will the journey experience be enough, despite the result? You may want to review the Wheel of Life from Experiment #1. The ideal life reflected in your ideal wheel should match up with this cell of rewards.
Sacrifices & costs
What are you prepared to commit to your life leap adventure? Create a budget that includes expenses and sacrifices - financial and other - and enter here. Will you need training and if so what will that cost? Is a move required? Will you be spending less time with dear friends and precious family? Must you abandon certain pleasurable habits and customs? Placing these considerations next to your anticipated rewards offers a helpful comparison when justifying the pursuit.
The LLC will be an essential tool for visualising and brainstorming that grand life ambition propelling your encore life leap. If helpful, a copy of the LLC can be down loaded here.
If you want to know more about the art of interpreneurship and the work we do at the Interprize Group, visit our website here. You can contact me through the site or at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.