Loving kindness

Think about someone you love. Picture them at their best. Their happiest, most fulfilled state.

Wish them well. With all your mental focus, imagine those scenes of them thriving and living blissfully.

Do that a few times today and feel the magic that unfolds.

What you can and can’t control

If there were a venn diagram of “what you can control” and “what you can’t control,” it feels like luck would be in the middle.

Technically, those two diagrams shouldn’t intersect, but I think luck straddles both lines. In some sense, you don’t have any control over it because it strikes when it pleases. But on the other hand, you can manufacture luck by being prolific and showing up enough times.

So keep showing up. Throw your hat in the right and one day, it might catch.

Quality entropy

When people don’t care about what they make or sell its only a matter of time before the quality decreases.

Think about the craftsperson, hand delivering a chair they’ve worked on for hours. There is so much caring wrapped up in that item that the quality is going to be high. Quality of the item, quality of the service and the interaction with the customer.

Now fast forward ten years and the same craftsperson has built a business around their goods. There are hundreds of employees manufacturing, distributing and selling furniture pieces.

Even if the quality of the product itself stays the same, the overall quality of the interaction tends to decline. The sales person doesn’t know how the manufacturing process works, or all the intricacies involved in distribution. Plus, the furniture is made mostly by machines at this point. In some sense, the quality is more consistent, but the whole process has lost some magic.

The transition from handmade, hand delivered to mass produced inevitably leaves some gaps in empathy. The question is, how do you scale quality of interaction across the board? From production to sale, how can everyone in that chain feel ownership and act accordingly?

If you can deliver on that question, then you’re set up to grow something meaningful.

The Stoke Deck as a gateway to facilitation

The stoke deck feels like a gateway to facilitation. Over the past week, I’ve seen how the stoke deck, with it’s simple instructions and fun games, can be used by people of any age.

Not only can a high school student lead an activity, but with a little bit of pushing, they can start to understand the purpose of framing and the power of a debrief.

By using questions like “how do the participants need to feel to be ready for in this activity?” and “how might you get participants to reflect on their learning?” you will see 16 year olds make facilitation moves that often take years to develop.

I’ve grappled with this question of how to help people learn facilitation for a while, and I think the stoke deck is the perfect place to start.

Facilitating truth

Facilitation helps people get closer to speaking their truth. I think that’s why it’s so magical, but also so hard.

Sometimes it takes a lot to cut through the walls we’ve built up. Sometimes it’s easy and people are ready to discuss their dreams. Other times, you can’t just ask a question, you have to design an entire experience to get them in the right mindset.

Whichever way you approach it, we need you. Asking the questions, designing the experiences and prioritizing helping others speak their truth. What better way change the world than to unlock that hidden stories within us all?

Venn diagrams might make you a better designer and teacher

Integrative thinking is a crucial design mindset. It’s the ability to balance two seemingly opposed possibilities to find a solution that incorporates both.

Example: “we could be the cheapest, or we could be the highest quality.” Integrative thinking would say, how might we be both the cheapest and the highest quality?

What I realized in the past few days is that integrative thinking can be visualized as a venn diagram.

This may seem like a very basic and inconsequential realization, but it’s been important to me. I strongly believe in the power of integrative thinking, but I always lacked a way to explain it that was concrete.

As someone who is always trying to teach others, lacking a concrete model is a deal breaker. It’s hard to make an important point about integrative thinking without providing a simple framework for people to use it. A simple venn diagram is all it takes.

Shel Silverstein’s Magic

If you’ve read Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, you’ve experienced whimsy at its finest.

He makes up names, tells stories and touches something deeply human. It’s a work of art that makes its statements in playful way. It’s also a work of art that will leave you blown away by the creativity required to create it.

As I flip through it each night, it pushes my imagination. With each and every fabricated beast, I’m exposed to a new idea, a funny rhyme or a poignant truth.

It’s a magical book worth re-reading many times over.

“What if I don’t make an impact?”

Such an interesting question, because to some extent, it’s not your decision. But, at the same time, it’s completely dictated by your behavior.

I posit that with the right posture, and enough courage, you can always have an impact.

To understand that statement, we have to first peel back some layers of what impact means and what progress looks like.

Progress isn’t an app, or a website or a widget. Those things can help, but they aren’t the thing. The way to ensure your project is impactful is to SEE someone.

To really look a human in the eyes and find out what they need. Not what they say they need or what would be cool to have. But to really understand who they are.

Just by showing up in such a way that you’re ready to see someone, you will make the impact. They will feel it. Who cares if you build the app or launch the website? Just by having the conversation you’ve won the battle.

Seeing a human is the change. The rest will follow if you have the courage.

Where is the fear?

We’re all scared of something. Spiders, flying, public speaking, and more. Imagine a venn diagram that has two sets: fear, and what you need to level up.

Your fear of spiders isn’t preventing you from making progress. But, your fear of public speaking might be.

I’m interested in the intersection of those two sets. The middle of the venn diagram. Those are the fears that matter. If we could get past those, the growth would begin.

Once we identify it and call it out for what it is, the problem is half solved. The next step is just finding a space safe enough for you to take small step toward conquering the fear. Slowly but surely, you’ll learn to dance with the fear. Turning new corners, shining light on the unknown and growing your comfort zone.