1. Discovery
  2. Building
  3. Launching

We use these as a framework for career launch at Crash, but it applies much more broadly. In fact, I think this is the best pattern for pretty much any kind of leveling up.

Discovery is the exploration phase. This is where judgement is a killer, competition and FOMO are unhelpful, and social status seeking will mess you up. This should be a raw, honest, fun, optimistic phase where you say ‘yes’ to everything that’s not a ‘hell no!’. You’re getting feedback from the world, not just by reflection, but my practice, more practice, then maybe a little reflection on your practice, then more practice. This is a narrowing process. You don’t start with a tight target, you test stuff until you whittle down to a small enough direction to take action on.

Building is where you go all-in on what you discovered. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just dive in and build the skills you need and a way to convey and communicate those skills with the people who are the best to work with. This is also a hands-on process, and one where you turn your interests and ideas into tangible artifacts that can be seen and shared. In this phase competition and gamification and specific challenges or progress tracking become valuable tools.

Launch is the operationalization of those specific skills you built. Once you’ve sold your ability to the right people, you win opportunities to put them into practice. Here’s the focus phase. Here is where you should tighten up and say ‘no’ unless it’s a ‘hell yes!’. This is where you get narrow and specialize and tune out the rest of the world.