In my limited experience in joining any kind of endeavour - personal or professional, new or established - I learned that the most critical factor for a thriving experience is the “who”. Even the most creative and inspiring project can become a burden if I can't feel a deep human connection with the other people involved.
If I look back to all the projects I've been part of, the "who" has always been the defining ingredient. If I am with the right people, I can overcome any challenges.
A few elements help me understand if the "who" is perfect for me: curiosity, candour, humour, and a good mix of support and challenge. But it's mostly a feeling. I know I am in the right place when I feel safe, where I feel I can be me without second thoughts. Where I can follow my intuition and, mostly, where I can say no without feeling guilty.
When the "who" is right, I focus on the "what". Are we just friends or do we want to go somewhere together? Both are great options, but we begin moving only where the "what" is defined. Yet, if the "who" is right, it is easier to refine the "what" together.
With the "who" and the "what" in place, the "how" is never a problem. It will naturally emerge in the space.
The "why" is a whole different game. My experience is that I have to find out my own "why" to fully commit to anything. There must be a meaning in everything I do, including a collective journey or project, but I am the only one who can find that meaning.