Communication Goodness!

I had a lot of fun listening in on Pace & Kyeli’s Communication for the Holidays course tonight. It’s pretty awesomely fun, and useful in all the ways I’ve come to associate with the Usual Error Project. And it’s pretty handy that I can sign up and still get some work done, when I’m really busy—and then have an mp3 to catch up with if I need it.

I think it’s hysterical that I’m so hard at work on the Usual Error website and book, and that those things have taken up so much of my life in the last several months, and the result is that I talk less about them. Temporary, I assure you. ;}

Also? These people are fabulously kooky. I love them a lot.

PS. I wrote the “communication goodness” title BEFORE Pace said it at the end of the session. I SWEAR.

People I Adore: Triiibes (part three)

You know, I meant to write up one post about the new links in my sidebar, and look what happened! You see, the problem here is just that they’re all too awesome. I can’t fit any of them into the paragraphs I wrote, much less a few sentences that would have allowed me to make one freaking list. Man. The perils of knowing amazing people…

This is the last post, anyway.

It’s about Triiibes, as you may already have surmised. And I can’t link you to the Triiibe—but I can tell you about it.

The reason I can’t link you is because unless you’re already a member, you can’t get in. It hasn’t (to my knowledge) been decided yet whether it will become visible to the public eventually, and I’m leaving that up to the folks in the know. Membership sounds like it will continue to be closed except for limited invites, so that’s right out. But man, the things that happen in there are so awesome. I can’t keep them quiet.

Well. Most of them. Well. Some of them. ;}

Seth Godin started the whole shebang with a barrier to entry: Pre-order Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, sight unseen. Thousands of us did so, leaping in with both feet and shrieking new marketing battle cries. (At least, that’s what I did…) The result is one of the most amazing communities I’ve ever belonged to.

Pace and Kyeli are both members. Cricket is a member now, too, and Marty shouldn’t be far behind (if we’re lucky!). Havi’s a member—and I wouldn’t know about her at all if it wasn’t for Triiibes. For some vast cosmic reason, everything is falling into place for me… and a large part of it is this group of people.

What does Triiibes do? Well, we wrote an ebook. (It’s great.)

We talk a lot—about business, people, the concept of tribes, Seth’s book, marketing, changing the world, making a difference, making something amazing. Triiibes is what Zaadz / Gaia should have been, but couldn’t possibly have managed. It took a closed social network and a readership the quality of Seth’s to accomplish that! Not to mention the quality of leadership Seth exhibits himself, and his ability to bring out the leader in everyone else… that’s something amazing. (Read this book if you have any doubt.)

We’re working on something new, but my lips are zipped—for now. ;}

There’s still more. Being a member of the Triiibe has taught me a ton about tribes in general (and often, in specific). It’s teaching me about community projects and the organic nature of what can be mundanely called “teamwork” but takes on a huger, more significant stature when considered in all of its complexity and variety and spontaneity. It’s teaching me about people, and how many of us are insanely brilliant, full of incredible possibility and potential. I’m talking about the members of Triiibes, but I’m talking about you, too. Triiibes is showing me what the world is capable of, and it is really something.

Triiibes isn’t just a social network. Maybe it started out that way, but it mutated fast. It’s a real tribe now, with people who are truly connected to one another. Joe and I and at least a dozen other people were discussing the question of whether there is a spiritual aspect to the Triiibes community, and I found myself saying this:

I think that the Triiibe IS spiritual, in many ways. It’s the spirit of connection and working together. It’s the spirit of being many parts of a whole, organic and astonishing in millions of different ways. It’s the passion that we feel about the ideas we share, and the willingness (the yearning, even) to help others before thinking of ourselves. Take a look at how we interact, all together, without ever having met, how we already know one another and love one another and care about every person in here. The intensity of this varies across the Triiibe, but it’s there in spades. And it’s amazing. And it’s much more powerful than any church I ever belonged to. This vibration is its own animal, and I would hesitate to say that it lacks spirituality.

It grows and learns and becomes bigger. Not the number of members—the energy and the soul of the connected community. It’s… really spiritual!

It’s all in how you look at the thing. In this case, the thing is great. Not like “this cereal is great!” but instead, This vibration we’ve created, this awe-inspiring bit of a vast connected universe, we are tapping into something truly great. We’re learning more about it all the time.

You know what it is?

It’s just people.

It’s people doing what people can do, which is connect with and raise up and help each other. We are doing it with plans and projects and ideas, but it’s the same. It’s such a joy to be a part of. You should do it too.

You can start any time you want!

People I Adore (part one)

A shift is starting to happen in my design, in my content, and in the way the elements of me all interact. I’m not going to explain the big picture until I’m ready, but I am going to tell you why I added so many links to Virtual Magpie and to this site in the last few hours. These are people who are really having a powerful effect on me, and I want to introduce them to you. Here are the first three, for your generous attention.

Emii, my little sister. Em hijacked a friend, packed up a car and moved to New York to seek her fortune—just a year or two before I did something similar. She’s writing and performing amazing music, inspiring thousands of people, and changing the world (on her own terms). I keep being amazed at how similar we are without really spending any time together. Serendipitously we’re both into personal development, personal power, personal potential, and making things happen in a way that makes us crave new knowledge and skills and understanding. I have often felt disconnected from her—there are a lot of ways in which we just aren’t close at all—but discovering that she was breaking a path a lot like mine (and yet, completely different!) was very connecting, very exciting.

Marty Whitmore, brilliant illustrator. Marty is the friend that I hijacked, and it’s his car that we filled with our lives before making the epic move to Austin. We’ve worked together for four or five years, but in the last few we’ve become incredibly effective partners. He contributes glorious artwork to my projects, and I have made it one of my big important goals in life to build his evil empire. He is mind-shatteringly unique, courageous and frightfully daring (like his artwork). I am seriously proud to have anything at all to do with him, and I intend to make him a crazy successful son-of-a-bitch if it’s the last thing I do. ;}

Pace and Kyeli, communicators extraordinaire. I met Pace and Kyeli a few years ago when Marty and I moved to Austin; we got to know them gradually by attending the first several runs of their communication workshops. I’ve worked with them in several different capacities, but now is the most exhilarating our work has ever been. Marty is illustrating their first book, The Usual Error, and between the four of us we have built them a gorgeous blog and website for the Usual Error Project, their super exciting communication initiative. The insight they offer is simply amazing, and I highly recommend it. Pace and Kyeli are the originators of the Connection Paradigm theory, and they’re hell-bent on changing the world. They’re also the first colleagues with whom I’ve something like a Hill-esque mastermind group vibe, and these days we meet weekly for bold ideas, out-of-the-box brainstorming, and startling clarity on our individual worlds. Those meetings are invaluable to my process, and precious to me.

I’ll be posting the rest over the next day or so. I hugely appreciate your time—thank you for reading. :}

Terrified (Out of Habit)

My first speech at Toastmasters (I know, took me long enough!) is scheduled for Monday morning, bright and early. I’m serious when I say bright and early. The meeting itself starts at 6:45 am, which forces me to make good on my 5:15 am wake-up blabber. Nice to have the universe looking out for me. (I’m not sure that’s sarcasm. I rather like Toastmasters!)

I’ve noticed that I have a strange propensity to spout off about my personal terror without actually feeling a whole lot of personal terror. There is some mild anxiety—will I disappoint myself? Will I amaze myself?—but I’m not nearly as worried or afraid as you might expect when I say things like this: “Oh my god, I haven’t touched my speech yet. I’m teeerrrified.” If the words don’t convey it, my tone of voice will. And then people start to comfort and reassure me, and a voice in my head goes, “What? You’re not that scared. In fact, I think you’re making yourself that scared by telling yourself you’re that scared. Stop that!!”

The funny thing is, that voice is completely right. I’m really not that scared. Part of me can’t even grasp being that scared about something so little and silly (and exciting and interesting and growth-inducing—and FUN!). And I think I may understand what’s going on. I’m terrified… out of habit.

I have a funny propensity to minimize myself. To ensmallenate myself. I have this funny idea (way back in the brainwashed, badly malprogrammed part of my brain) that it’s safer, better, and more loveable to be small, weak, and afraid.

Yeah, I know.

So apparently that part of my brain—the unembigginated part—aligns very happily with the idea of being terrified, just shakin’ in my boots, at the thought of speaking in front of people.

Okay, ensmallebrain. Let’s sit down for a minute and talk.

I am super grateful for your kind intentions. I know you are just doing what you think is best. I know you’re only trying to help me! I know that you’ve noticed how easy it is to get people to behave in loving, comforting, downright parental ways if I’m small, weak, and afraid. I can totally appreciate that and I even understand it. But you need to know—just for the purposes of being informed—that I don’t need to be ensmallenated in order to have people love me. I know, I know, I totally know: I used to be under that impression, and I gave you that crazy idea in the first place so of course it’s NO WONDER! that you have made the decisions you have over the last twenty-seven and a half years. But I have more clarity now, and I know a lot better what makes people love me. And it would make me really happy—insanely, marvelously happy—if from now on you could base your decisions on this new information. That people love me just because I’m me, and I’m strong, and brilliant, and unique, and clever. I would like that super much.

No, no—DUDE! We are totally cool. It’s just that one thing.

Yes. Thank you for being SO understanding!

(See? No freakin’ problem!)

The Usual Error (Blog!)

I read something recently about it being relatively pointless to fill a statement with extra question marks or exclamation points. It said you only need one instance of any given punctuation mark, and more is not better. I think in the case of the Usual Error, I tend to push this boundary the hardest. ;}

I don’t know why I didn’t see this when they posted it, but for some strange reason I didn’t. And something like two weeks later I say to myself, I wonder if they’ve posted anything? And so I mosey on over to the new Usual Error Blog, and I see this:

Welcome to the Usual Error blog! We wanted to dedicate our first post to Megan, our biggest fan, and the one who inspired us to create this blog in the first place. How did she do such a crazy thing? By blogging like mad about her experiences at Usual Error workshops!


And then… they listed all my Usual Error posts. Dude!!

One exclamation point just isn’t enough.

You guys make me all gushy.

A Little Perspective

Stage Direction

DRUMMOND. (Honestly.) I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure that language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.

~ Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

Usual Error Intensive: Week Five

It’s time for the Usual Error Intensive, week five! Are you excited?? Omg are you excited?? I’m excited! It is time for my Usual Error liveblogging extravaganza! Keep reloading, friends and neighbors! Can I get a few more exclamation points, please?!

If you’d like to see my previous posts on Positivity, I’ll list them here:

Our One Bullet Point For the Evening! (9:25 PM)

Usual Error Intensive: Week Four

Yes… the rumors are true. Marty and I missed week four of the Usual Error Intensive.

On Friday we had just about destroyed ourselves with working and running errands, and by six o’ clock I felt like pancake road kill. But fear not, gentle readers—though I do not have delicious liveblogging goodness for you, I will link you to the material they covered as discussed previously. Hopefully this will hold you over (and keep me from the rout) until next session: The Usual Error: Conflict Resolution!

This particular session has some really interesting offshoot material that I am thinking of covering over at Virtual Magpie in one form or another—conflict resolution perhaps being more obviously connected to business than the other topics covered by the Usual Error (maaaybe). I am hoping to get more word on Friday’s session soon, and if I get anything particularly juicy or interesting, I will post it here. Now, if only I can manage to survive another two weeks until Number Five…