A free program

February 26 2013

If you’ve felt it, you know magic happens when the right people enter a space.

Sometimes it’s serendipity; most of the time there’s a driving force.

I want to encourage you to take part in what Seth Godin has dubbed the Connection Economy — to use your most meaningful relationships to inspire you to create art, contribute to your community, and nourish the connections in your own life.

Deepen the connections in your world and start conversations that matter.

I’m thrilled by the prospect of sharing my passion and work. The capacity for what can happen when the right people come together is unlimited and largely untapped. Call this six-week program whatever you want: a book club, a group, an experiment, an adventure.

There are people in your world who need to meet.

Your efforts to organize this program may change someone’s life, but it’s up to you to make it happen. There are people out there who are stuck (as you may have discovered, paths are rarely straight and laid out). Be present and challenge each other with kindness and care.

We all have something unique to share. Let’s help each other do the tough work.

Questions? Successes? Let me know how it goes.

Step 1. Form a group.

Sure, you can do this alone. But a group offers support, accountability, and the ability to help you up your game. You want people who can call you out, people who can serve as your cohort and personal network as you advance your ideas forward. Your group is your sounding board, letting you know when you’re on track and gently nudging you when you’re off.

It doesn’t matter how many are in your group; it could be one other person or four. Call up a few friends and send out emails, “Will you try something new with me?”

Step 2. Time and place.

Face time can’t be substituted. Choose one location and meet consistently, each week. Settle on the details and commit. Six weeks. No excuses.

Respect everyone’s time. Everyone is busy. Make each other a priority.

Step 3. Finalize your reading list.

I’ve listed several books for you to use as a starting block. Recommended, but by no means required. If you have a book that has been especially influential to you, use that one instead.

Sample book list:
Poke the Box workbook
Business Model Generation
E Myth Revisited
4 Hour Work Week
Creatively Independent
Make Your Idea Matter
Host an unforgettable dinner party

Step 4: Homework (Projects & Exercises):

The activities suggested are designed to get you out of your comfort zone, inspire you, and reinforce what you’re reading. If you feel inclined to add your own twist, please do.

Most importantly, set aside time to make writing a priority. I’ve listed a few prompts to encourage you and provide creative direction. Again, use what is helpful and improve what isn’t. Not everything will work for everyone.

Week 1

Reading: Bernadette Jiwa’s Make Your Idea MatterSample journal
Project: Go find a journal that inspires you. Buy it from that indie book store you’ve always wanted to check out, look for something inspiring while you’re waiting in line, make it yourself.
Writing exercise: Set your alarm for ten minutes. Choose one:

  • Imagine your dream life. Envision everything it entails. Now write. It doesn’t need to be complete sentences or thoughts, words are fine.
  • Ask questions. Write them down, every question you can think of. They don’t need to make sense. You don’t need to have the answers. Tangential is fine. Just ask.

Discuss: What is the difference between dreaming and storytelling? Do you set aside time to create and dream? What stories do you tell yourself? To others?

Week 2

Reading: Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week
Project: Do something new this week. Cook dinner with veggies from the local market. Sign up for a class. Explore a new neighborhood. Get lost in a library.
Writing exercise: If you could do anything, anywhere, what would it be?

Discuss: How do you define work/life balance? Is a distinction necessary?

Week 3

Reading: Seth Godin’s Poke the Box workbook
Project: Print out the workbook. Plan thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to complete.
Writing exercise: Notice any areas of hesitation while you’re completing the workbook. Is there a particular topic that seems more challenging than others?

Discuss: What obstacles stop you from shipping? How are you getting in your own way?

Week 4

Reading: Project Exponential’s Host an unforgettable dinner party
Project: Schedule a lunch date or host a dinner party.
Writing exercise: Set your alarm for ten minutes. Choose one:

  • What are the traits you most admire in others?  What are the traits you’re most proud of?
  • Assemble an imaginary Dream Team. You get five players. Who do you choose? What skills do they offer?

Discuss: Talk about how teams are formed and what kind of environments contribute to their growth. What kind of people belong on your Dream Team? Who inspires you?

Week 5

Reading: Jess Pillmores’s Creatively Independent
Project: Challenge yourself to write the first draft of your very own ebook.
Writing exercise: Consider the uniqueness that you, and only you, bring to your work, your relationships, your family. What separates you from competition? What is that one trait that singles you out?

Discuss: How do you stay inspired while working on a big [exhausting] project? What tricks and techniques have you found to be most helpful when setting big goals?

Week 6

ReadingE Myth Revisited and/or Business Model Generation
Project: Brainstorm how you might turn $10 into $100.
Writing exercise: Write out a sample business plan. What would you do if you had no excuses, no responsibilities? Journey back to the days of mowing lawns, selling lemonade, babysitting. What would change if today was your last day at your current job?

Discuss: Would things be different if you consistently set aside time to write, dream, explore, learn?