What do you provide?

Every now and then, it’s healthy to pause and reflect on the work that you want to do. I’m embarking on a set of exercises to re-think and focus, and am sharing it with you. Join in if you’d like and we can journey together.

EXERCISE 2: What do you provide?

What do people buy when they buy something from you?
  • People buy peace of mind – knowing that I will get the job done well.
  • They buy a fresh perspective – knowing that I will bring new ideas to the table.
  • They buy a long-term relationship – knowing that I have their best interests in mind and am in it for the long run.
  • They buy a guiding light – knowing that I will go above and beyond just delivering the service, but am also invested in education (teach to fish rather than give a fish)
  • They buy a great working experience – knowing that I always bring enthusiasm, warmth and a smile to every job
Leave out the easy, repetitive, generic stuff… What are you doing that’s difficult?
  • staying disciplined about building healthier habits – early to bed, early to rise, eat well, hydrate more, learn something every day
  • staying disciplined about keeping in touch regularly with past clients, and old friends (need to get better at it)

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I’m doing this as part of Seth Godin’s Udemy course for freelancers. Feel free to embark on this discovery for yourself too.

Who am I?

Every now and then, it’s healthy to pause and reflect on the work that you want to do. I’m embarking on a set of exercises to re-think and focus, and am sharing it with you. Join in if you’d like and we can journey together.

EXERCISE 1: Who Are You?

What do you want to do? (Not your job, but your work, now, tomorrow, and in the future)
I want to use my skills in video to help changemakers maximize their impact and reach.
What do you want to change, and how do you want to change them?
I want to change how so many amazing people and organizations are changing their communities and doing remarkable work, and yet hardly anyone knows about it. They struggle to communicate the difference they are making, and find difficulty getting the support they need to remain sustainable.
I can change this in 3 ways:
  1. Educate the change makers – arm them with the video skills necessary to communicate their story effectively. Through in-person workshops and/or online courses.
  2. Educate the video makers – help nurture even more storytellers for good – help them hone their craft, and learn how to make this a viable career. Through in-person workshops and/or online courses.
  3. Tell their stories – make engaging documentaries to tell stories around social issues, then screen them far and wide to spur discussion, debate, and spark action
How much risk? (from 1 [a little] to 10 [bet everything]), how much are you willing to put at stake to make the change you seek?
8. I’ve already given up a stable job doing corporate training videos to plunge into doing the work above full-time. The only thing I prioritize above this is my family, who support and believe in me.
How much work are you willing to do to get there? Be specific about the tradeoffs.
I am willing to do the work 6 days a week.
This will require staying disciplined – building good habits of waking up early to jump-start the work each day, and making good food choices and staying active to ensure I am healthy enough to carry on long-term.
The tradeoffs are: no tv, less social time, investing my money back into the cause instead of blowing it on vacations, entertainment, or luxury items.
Does this project matter enough for the risk and the effort you’re putting into it?
 
Absolutely. I feel it is my calling.
Is it possible – has anyone with your resources ever pulled off anything like this?
 
Yes. While I am not aware of anyone who is doing the exact same thing I want to do in the way i want to do, I know many in the arts who are teaching while making amazing art.
Doing this as part of Seth Godin’s Udemy course for freelancers. Feel free to embark on this discovery for yourself too.

Pushing boundaries with Fear Experiment

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Imagine going from zero experience in an art form that scares you, to performing that very art form in front of 750 people at a major concert venue in your city. Fear Experiment is one experience that’s helped over a hundred adults take fear face on over the last few years in Chicago.

Good laughs at improv practice
Good laughs at improv practice

Fear Experiment creator Saya Hillman made the sign-up criteria clear – you sign up solo (so everybody starts off as strangers), and the idea of doing FE has to scare you. You must have had no formal training in dancing, improv, a capella singing, or stepping, and you’ve gotta be ready to be practicing twice a week for 3 months before being thrust on stage. Everybody has to work together and be supportive of each other. It’s kinda like summer camp for adults. One filled with like-minded individuals looking for a challenge.

People sign up for various reasons. Some do it to overcome social anxiety, some do it to be a good example to their kids. ABC7 News featured a stepper who proved just this past Saturday at Fear Experiment 3 that being deaf was no obstacle too big for her. When I signed up to do the improv portion, it was to push myself to speak my mind off the top of my head more. Growing up in a culture where sharing one’s opinion both at home and in school was never encouraged, I found myself struggling to participate in class at Northwestern; constantly over-thinking what I was about to say, afraid to offend or be incoherent.

On stage performing improv at Fear Experiment 2. (Shh... don't tell anyone we were pretending to be the Backstreet Boys.)
On stage performing improv at Fear Experiment 2. (Shh… don’t tell anyone we were pretending to be the Backstreet Boys.)

Learning improv in a fun, cozy environment that wasn’t already filled with people who were really good at it was a huge help. Our improv coach Pete did a great job of helping us all build trust in one another, so we would be better able to let go of our inhibitions and fear of being judged. We also practiced tuning out our inner self-critics (what Seth Godin fans refer to as The Lizard Brain). You know, the one constantly going “you’re not funny enough,” or “you look really ridiculous”. I also laughed hard enough at every practice to build some ab muscles. ;)

All in all, an absolutely fulfilling experience with a wonderful, diverse community and something I’d definitely recommend anyone. Friends don’t let friends get stuck in mundane work-eat-sleep cycles. There’s more to life than that. Go. Do something that scares you!

Here’s a peek at what happened pre and post-Fear Experiment 2:

While applications for Fear Experiment 4 are closed, you can still get on the waitlist here.

[Video Details]
Cinematography by: John Fecile and Jon Vogel
Producing & Editing by: Shuling Yong
Interviews conducted by: Lauren Harper

Becoming Indispensable.

Photo by Rachel Koontz

That’s just one of the many lessons Seth Godin teaches when you engage with him through his books and blog posts. Connect, be generous, make art, acknowledge the lizard, ship, fail and learn. A daily subscriber like me receives a fresh post every morning that helps me see the world through a different lens, gives me inspiration and challenges me to reinvent myself.

I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now, which is why as soon as Seth announced the plans for his Road Trip and put out the call for volunteers, I stepped up in a heartbeat. It was the least i could do for the art he’s so generously gifted to the world.

His Chicago stop took place last week at the beautiful Harris Theater. I was the volunteer videographer, and the very talented Rachel Koontz was the photographer. We had the great pleasure of meeting and working with some really talented Linchpin volunteers to pull off what would go down as one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Photo by Rachel Koontz

It’s amazing how powerful being in a roomful of like-minded individuals can be. You could feel that every single one of us there had the desire to do remarkable things, create art, and connect with fellow tribe members. Seth spoke for 2 hours early that morning, and then spent the rest of the day tackling our audience questions with calmness and brilliance.

Thank you, Seth, for all you do. I’m definitely excited for the passion and possibilities that lay ahead! If you missed out, Seth Godin has two more stops on his Road Trip!

Atlanta, GA – Oct 8th
Los Angeles, CA – Nov 9th

More information’s available here. In the meantime, here’s a peek at what happened when Seth graced Chicago with his presence. :)