Friday, July 26, 2013

Recognizing the Precipice

J.D. Roth wrote a great post yesterday about his recent conversations with Tess Vigeland after her courageous presentation at the World Domination Summit a few weeks ago.

The section on self-respect, about meeting your expectations but not those of others, really resonated with me. Doing what you know is the right thing and being met with barriers to progress and negative reactions slowly chip away at your self-worth. In my case, this shows up as trying to improve a system that refuses to recognize that it needs to be fixed. At some point, it is better to move on and find the next challenge.

But what about making a big life-changing jump without the safety net that we are all taught to prepare? Tess left her dream job at NPR's Marketplace knowing that she didn't know what was next but it was time to go. “It’s time to leave when you have too much self-respect to stay,” Tess said. When your job, or your life situation, no longer provides either the personal growth or satisfaction, it is time to make a change. When just getting up in the morning to go to work becomes a chore or you've just stopped learning new things, it is time to make a change. The amazing thing about Tess' story is that when she recognized this, she made the jump before she had her next big thing lined up. That takes guts, but it is also sometimes exactly what is needed for that next big thing to show itself. When she gave her talk at WDS, she didn't know what that next thing was but when you put that question out to the universe, it will respond and it is great to see Tess on her way with the her next chapter.

Like J.D. and Tess, I find myself at that point. What is next? I too am exploring possible courses of action and I'm both excited and terrified about making a big change. Ready to embrace the uncertainty and take the next steps towards living an unconventional life. The lack of safety net is potentially the most interesting thing about making a change at this point and watching Tess struggle with the ups and downs of her own transition is reassuring. There is life after big change and while it isn't all a "bathtub full of kittens", only by taking that leap do you get to see what's on the other side.

Monday, July 15, 2013

World Domination Summit 2013

It's been just over a week since we got back from the World Domination Summit (aka WDS2013) in Portland. I'll have to admit that I had no idea what we were in for when Leslie signed us up for this last winter but I've learned to trust her when she thinks something like this is going to be helpful and this time was no exception. WDS is tough to describe. Yukari Peerless really nailed it when she described it to an inquisitive TSA agent as "Creative people getting together to inspire each other to have an unconventional life." She captures the essence of what I so loved about the event in three parts. Creative people... One of the things that I continually search for is a creative community. I've had times where my job provided this though that has not been the case in the past few years. My photography and music are an outlet for me personally though I've struggled to find a consistent community around those things. WDS was one giant mass of creative people yearning to share their creativity and connect with other creatives. The energy was astounding (and at times overwhelming). Speakers like Darren Rowse who spoke about dreaming big and taking responsibility for our own future. I loved his thoughts on settings aside time to create.
...Getting together to inspire each other... Donald Miller gave a brilliant talk and asked "What if we spent less time impressing others and more time connecting?" Connection was what this crowd was all about. Time and again we were encouraged to connect with each other and create connections that we could use to hold each other accountable for achieving our dreams.
One of the members of a breakout group I was involved in asked me, "Who is on your personal board of directors?" #mindblown. Of course that is exactly what we want, a set of people who bring specific insights in an area of our lives that we are developing. A good board of directors has a vital blend of members with diverse backgrounds, each passionate about their area and readily available to coach each other and guide the organization in the right direction. Why the hell don't we have these for our own lives - to help us achieve our dreams. Over the next few months, I will be creating my personal board of directors. How awesome will that be? have an unconventional life. This is WDS's founder and fearless leader Chris Guillebeau's real mission. His website The Art of Non Conformity focuses on unconventional strategies for life, work and travel. Perhaps he is just an evil genius, but his vision is what set WDS in motion and from there, dozens of volunteers joined in to make it happen and nearly 3000 attendees made it sing. I was energized by meeting so many people who have abandoned the traditional 9-5 career and are doing their own thing -- nomads, artists, writers -- all creative and all searching for ways to either start or accelerate their own unconventional lives. With our plans taking shape for our own transition to the unconventional I found WDS 2013 to be a timely inspiration. A real kick in the butt to work on the important things and to find the answer to Darren's question, "What kind of future will you create?"
Oh, and with all of the talk from bloggers and about sharing our lives, I recognized that it is time to sweep the dust off of my blog and restart the conversation.