Learn, Review, Teach as a model for Discipline, Humility and Service

On Tuesday week (for future readers 26 Feb 2013), I had the most delightful experience helping 8 ladies of the Handmade Austin Women’s group (HAW) embrace the practical steps of moving their businesses forward with the 19 Days to Business Intimacy framework. The pilot session of Now to Then & Back Again™ had lively discussion among Trish, Melanie, Lilly, Ann, Allison, Anne, Eve and Kristen.

We had sculptors, a photographer/graphic designer, fabric/textile artists, an “upcycler” and two ladies who play with lasers – but I discovered that they use them for artistic purposes rather than to blow things to smithereens! I’ll have to speak with them separately about that, I think they are missing the point of the whole thing…

For this group, technical mastery of their crafts is a given. They came together to learn the practical aspects of achieving the next level of performance: they are willing, able and actively engaged in “dating their dream” (re: Whitney Johnson, see also below), now its time to “do the work” of turning possibilities into commitments and transforming obligations into joyful achievements. In the words of various spiritual masters: joy is not in things, joy in is us.

Perhaps the standout moment was when Trish gave such a powerful example of how she seamlessly and transparently witnessed the “empty cup” philosophy: 初 心 者 or shoshinsha, in overcoming an inherent physical challenge to deliver outstanding service to customers in her daily work.

Like many real achievers, the remarkable nature of what she was accomplishing on a regular basis had to be pointed out to her by others. The heart of shoshisha is the humility that loves to serve because it is part of the journey of becoming the best version of ourselves.

A recurring theme involved how the creative process involved in actually producing their art was isolating, so they recognized the need for community and the value of interaction. One of the most sacred cows slain that evening was the myth of busy – such a common phrase and such a weak excuse for not daring to dream bigger, as Whitney Johnson has made her trademark phrase. Since YouTube doesn’t currently feature timecode selection, move the slider to time 2:12

Here is the direct timecode link to Whitney Johnson’s “invest in dreams” quote. In committing to work intentionally on specific projects with specific delivery dates and times, saying no becomes pragmatic, freed from guilt, because we all intuitively understand we cannot be in two places at the same time.

Intentionality is the heart of the 19-Day model of learn, review, teach, because the length of the cycle, at a fortnight plus five days, ensures that the cycles begin and end of different days of the week, providing a “fresh” experience of discovery that learning experts tell is vital in keeping the brain in “data acquire” mode.

Talented women all, they readily grasped the concept of “business intimacy” (twitter hashtag #bizint) as understanding your customer’s needs so well that you can anticipate and solve them, whatever the details of that may mean for y.o.u.r industry.

I opened the discussion of #bizint with a retelling of the classic children’s fable Stone Soup. It’s most popular version in America is masterfully told by Marcia Brown, for which she was a 1948 Caldecott honoree. For the first HAW gathering of 2013, I embellished the folk tale with the “copper ladle” of the most eminent grandmother or babushka in the village.

The central element of the Stone Soup myth is identical to that of its modern cousin, Kung-Fu Panda: YOU are the magic, it’s not the stones or the secret recipe.

By peeling away layer after layer of out-dated myths and False Evidence Appearing Real, the soldiers in Stone Soup deliver on the promise that good theatre is effective marketing. When the village’s lead babushka brings her celebrated copper ladle to sample the soup, the soldiers have arrived—and so my question is for you, dear readers:

What is y.o.u.r copper ladle? What measure of success integrates technical achievement and social rewards for you? Does this measure help or hurt in your journey to become the best-version-of-yourself?

Until next time,

Carpe Diem!

Matt

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A walk in the forest…

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