In the past month, I attended two conferences that have had a profound effect on me – so much so that I’ve spent reams of paper mind mapping my notes, trying to make sense of the shift that’s happening in my brain, in my psyche, my outlook. At the MIXMashup In San Francisco at the end of June, I heard Gary Hamel tell us that the 100 year old technology that is management is broken and we haven’t either been aspirational enough or angry enough to fix it. I have often bemoaned that organizations “suck the life blood out of you,” and here is a group of people saying, “nope – it doesn’t have to be that way, and we’ll show you how.” Their case studies are written up here: http://www.managementexchange.com/.
In Portland at the beginning of July, I attended the World Domination Summit, organized by Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity and the $100 Start-up, who asked the 1000 attendees, “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” One way is to become a micro-entrepreneur. Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, said that what the entrepreneurs in Chris’s $100 Startup book had in common was that they have something great to offer to others, they have a website that depicts this clearly, they have a means of accepting payment, they believe in themselves, and they’re not waiting for anyone to fix our economic problems….or, I’ll add, our organizations.
For as inspiring as the MIXMashup was, Gary Hamel was right – organizations have a long, long way to go to match the passion and excitement of what Fast Company calls the Do-It-Yourself Economy. Find the anger, find the aspiration, but our organizations need fixing. Just look at the article written by one attendee that I met: Information Week: Here Comes the Corporate Brain Drain. WDS – 1, Organizations – 0.
A mind map of my notes from Day 1 of the World Domination Summit, complete with hyperlinks to the personal websites and videos of the speakers, so you can learn more about them.
Chris Guillebeau said that what those who attended the World Domination Summit had in common is 1) community – a belief in connecting with and engaging people, 2) adventure – making a conscious choice to live adventurously and 3) value of service – contributing to the world and influencing others to do the same.
As the reports started flooding out from the World Domination Summit, I couldn’t read them. (You can, though – see a short list of them here.) I wanted my own blog entry to be fresh, uninfluenced by what others had written. Several weeks later, I feel like I’m still staring out into space, starting at my mind maps, holding the $100 that Chris gave every member of the audiences. For those of you who know me, you know it’s really difficult to make me speechless. Chris, well, made me speechless.
“We know a lot of smart, amazing people with great projects, as we look at the full meme of community, adventure, service – what if we made a direct investment and asked all of these people to go and do something fun?”
The story of two summits and their impact on me is a story that will unfold over the course of the next year, not in one blog post. Over the course of the next year, Renewable Enthusiasm will be about telling my story of how I renewed my own enthusiasm, and how I will make that $100 investment in renewing the enthusiasm of others.
For today, I leave you with a moment of gratitude. Jonathan Fields told us at WDS that “mindset is the new app.” What will make the biggest impact on you or your business is not on your smart phone, but between your ears. And one way to affect that change is with gratitude. Brene Brown told us that gratitude is the way out; the way out of feeling scarcity, the way out of dress-rehearsing disaster when we should open ourselves up to joy. We don’t need to dress-rehearse disaster, because disaster knows how to unfold all by itself, without our planning for it. They know this in Aurora, Colorado. They know this in Syria. We know.
After the tsunami in Japan, Thich Nhat Hahn offered this prayer:
Dear friends in Japan,
As we contemplate the great number of people who have died in this tragedy, we may feel very strongly that we ourselves, in some part or manner, also have died.
The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.
An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us.
Here in France and at our practice centers all over the world, our brothers and sisters will continue to chant for you, sending you the energy of peace, healing and protection. Our prayers are with you.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thank you, my friends, with whom I was able to reconnect this weekend. Thank you, beautiful six-month-old Ella, for reminding me about the joy of giggling. Thank you, Washington, DC, for making it legal for two men who absolutely adore and love each other to get married. Thank you, Vince and Nick, for sharing your radiating joy with me. Thank you for encouraging people to wear creative head-gear – feathers make everything better. Thank you to my boyfriend, for your love, your support, and your art.
“It helps to remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment that we are alive. The best we can do for those who have died: to live in such a way that we continue, beautifully, in us.”