How I Survived the What-If Invasion of Ought Nine

by Megan M. on August 17, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Today, I am killing What-Ifs.

I started the week picking them of at a distance. Ping. Pyew. Pzam. Way off on the horizon I could see their little heads exploding. It took almost no effort. Zing. Zow. Their tiny silhouettes crumpled, silent, too far away to see clearly.

Today, they’re closer. They crawl up my shoe and I have to shake them off, kick them away so that I can get a good shot. They’re harder to hit now. Somehow, they move faster. Like zombies, you don’t want them to get too close. Each kill seems to require more effort, because they’re so close.
What-If Invasion
What if I can’t do it?

What if it all falls apart?

What if I lose my focus?

What-If InvasionWhat if I’m not as good as I thought?

I take down three of them in a row, bam, bam, bam, and reload. I’m not carrying a gun. My best defense against What-Ifs is far more effective than any firearm, but it means better concentration and quick thinking. My weapon is action.

The fourth What-If is hanging onto my left ankle, rearing back and opening its ugly little mouth wide, getting ready to chow down. Its face is a hole in the universe. I can see its sharp, shiny little teeth. I aim. I fire.


What-If Invasion

The mob drops away front of me, cut down like chaff. I erect new armor and protective barriers, those who have gone before me, reminding me that action is the course I must take. Johnny Truant. Charlie Gilkey. Tim Brownson. Eckhart Tolle. Seth Godin, and my Triiibe. Pages of compassionate accounts, ass-kicking enthusiasm, exploration of meaning, affectionate anecdotes, powerful inspirational passages like battle cries. I wash words across my face like war paint. Another What-If explodes in the distance, splattering darkness and despair like wet black dust.

I will destroy them all.

What-If Invasion


Life, Incorporated

by Megan M. on August 15, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Douglass Rushkoff’s Life, Inc. is breaking my head open (in a wonderful way).

Take some time to watch this:

Update: The Life, Inc. Dispatch series just builds on this—you’re going to LOVE these.

Life Inc. Dispatch Video Series

The LIFE INC. Dispatch = Brief weekly videos encapsulating key concepts and ready strategies from Douglas Rushkoff’s LIFE INC. for de-corporatizing our lives, abandoning the speculative economy, and rebuilding both commerce and community from the bottom up.

“…Now that the economy is bad, people are afraid. They really don’t know how they can take care of themselves without big institutions to look after them. What I’m trying to help people understand is these institutions weren’t looking out for them to begin with. These institutions were exploiting them. And now that these institutions are collapsing, we have an opportunity to actually take care of ourselves and one another in ways that are so much more fun and so much more human! We can engage with one another in ways that have been systematically removed from the equation. We can start to care for each other and invest in one another, make food for one another, play with one another—and we will make less money in the process, but we’ll also spend less money in the process. And I promise you it’s more fun!

“…I thought it would be really important for people to at least understand how the rules we live by came to be, who made them, why they made them, and how they sold them to us—so that we would stand a chance of consciously choosing rules that might actually benefit us more than the ones we’re living by.”


Social Work: Flavored Assortment Catch-up

by Megan M. on August 14, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

This is just a smattering of Social Work prn posts that have gone up in the last month or so. Enjoy. ;}

Social Work and the Power of Belief
My usual routine, most Tuesdays and Thursdays, is to wake up at 5:30. I stumble through finding clothes and brushing my teeth, grab some small breakfast, take my vitamins, pin up my hair and go to the gym where I CrossFit five days a week. When I get done, I’m woozy and exhausted—but by the time I get home I’m starting to get my brain and my energy back. I wash the grit off my hands and sit down at my computer—still relatively filthy from the mats—and post my Social NetWorker entry for the morning. (Read more…)

Hunting That Elusive Internal Motivation
I’ve told you about CrossFit, and I’ve told you about my sometimes-favorite strategy for personal change (that is, gettin’ coached!). There were great allegories for social work there, but there’s an obvious and important aspect that I didn’t mention: The coach can’t always be there. (Read more…)

Authenticity and Better Business in Social Work
I learned early on that in order to be a good businessperson, I had to pretend to be someone other than myself. I had to pretend to be “big business”—or at least “bigger business”. I had to stay aloof and withdrawn from my clients, so they would know I was “professional”. I had to use words like “we” and “us” to talk about my company (even though I was a one-man band, back then). And no personality—not in the business world! I had to be slick and sere and professional at all junctures. At networking functions, I had to have a canned approach (as a response to everyone else’s canned approach) and there wasn’t going to be any of this banter about issues unrelated to business. (Read more…)

Mental Clarity and the Power of Now
I’m four or five chapters into Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, a book that seems to have temporarily rescued me from myself. Ever get that voice going in your head? The one that won’t shut up? (Note: I do realize that I’m writing about the voices I hear in my head to an array of mental health professionals. No, this does not bother me. Well, at least until I hit “publish”…!) (Read more…)

The Social Work “In”: Create a Positive Environment for Ideas
When you’re running a business, you want lots of ideas. Every new idea is an alternative option you can take advantage of to make everything better, so the more options, the better. You want to create a positive environment for new ideas and you want to engender a mindset in yourself that takes advantage of new ideas when they float through your head—instead of rejecting them without really thinking about them. I think many of us are actually conditioned to this kind of instant rejection. We’re so used to our lives as they are, we often fail to notice subtle opportunities to change our lives dramatically because we’re simply not expecting to see them. (Read more…)

Fear, Listening and Opportunity in Social Work
I was inspired to riff on Bob’s post yesterday when I read the following: “One of the most common reasons is that they don’t want people to talk about them because they are afraid of what they might hear.” He’s right, folks—it is too late. Everyone you make an impression on (good or bad!) has an opinion of you that they’re reasonably likely to share whether you see them do it or not. The great part of this is that you, as social workers, and every individual and company under the sun have the resource you need to change all your word of mouth for the better: Your Ability To Listen. (Read more…)


Trial By Fire (Squared)

by Megan M. on August 13, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

I’ve noticed that Seth gives one piece of advice in many different situations (though probably not exclusively). When he offers it for group projects, it goes a little bit like this: Set an imminent deadline. Shoot for a month or so—but don’t set it too far out, because the energy might lull.

I agree with him in most cases, most especially because I’m living it. I’ll put off this or that forever but when I set that deadline (or find that the deadline’s been set for me) a sudden three weeks away, everything shifts. I bust my ass into gear. I know I have to move to keep it on the rails, so I do.

If I were choosing a certain level of challenge for myself, I’d almost certainly choose the level just beneath that which creates great change in me. I always want it to be hard, but not too hard. And that, my friends, is the fatal flaw in my default settings, because the great change is what I’m craving. It’s only a matter of being brave enough and strong enough to face it head-on, instead of finding ways to mellow it out (just a little).

If I was not preparing for a vocal competition in Pittsburgh in three weeks, I would be under the gun. You may or may not have noticed, but somehow it’s been almost a year since Marty quit his day job, and things are moving faster around here than ever. Charlie Gilkey worked some productivity magic on my cashflow tracking system and suddenly everything is much clearer: What I want, what I need to do to get what I want, and how quickly I’d better do it. This is wonderful and terrifying and wonderful all in the same gulp. And without any singing at all, it would be incredibly challenging. Incredibly. Challenging.

But, well, I am competing in September and the days in front of me are dwindling. There is music to memorize (memorization! O, wicked task) and Welsh diction to refine, traveling to plan, clothes to buy, and maybe (if I’m lucky) seats to upgrade. And of course, the rest of my life doesn’t stop because I’m singing. My bills don’t have a pause button. My forward momentum in all of my projects doesn’t freeze-frame while I get my shit together. And there is no more safety net. The only thing between me and any month’s eviction notice is me. Either of these situations would be a challenge. Adding them together means that I’m enduring a true trial by fire (probably squared, or published in triplicate, or recited by quadruplets nine times a day for the rest of the year).

This means that I’m moving forward, and I’m in survival mode. There’s no time to think about whether I want to do the next thing on my list or not; there’s no time to argue with myself or speculate on the nature of the universe between to-do items. I’m just moving.

And in my customary bizarre fashion, I find I rather like it here.

Oh, I’d probably change it if I could (and you can argue that I can—of course I can, and I haven’t, and what does that say?). I’d probably adjust this piece and that piece and elongate the whole schedule and give myself more room to breathe. Maybe. But in all the great challenges I’ve come through, not one of them gave me that luxury. And I loved them for it.

Chances are, I’ll love this one too if I live through it. I do tend to live through it.

Stick around, and I’ll let you in on the ending. ;}

{ 1 comment }

Global Megan RSS (A Message From Management)

by Megan M. on August 12, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

This is an, ah, administrative announcement. ;}

I’ve hooked up this blog’s RSS feed with the RSS of That Idea Blueprint Girl so that everything flows through one inter-tube. The RSS chicklets on both sites have been updated to use that tube, hereby dubbed the Global Megan Feed. I’m not integrating the two sites (yet… ever?) but connecting the RSS feeds makes the most sense from every standpoint I’ve examined thus far.

In all likelihood the individual feeds will continue to exist in my FeedBurner account—but just in case, you might want to subscribe to the Global Megan Feed or its email counterpart to avoid confusion later on. (You’re probably perfectly safe staying subscribed to either individual feed as long as you like. If that’s what you want to do, would you ? Knowing that folks specifically want these delivered separately will give me a good reason to make sure those feeds stick around, and certainly inform my RSS decisions henceforth.)

With a single posts feed, it will be a lot easier to track my complex dance of creation across the web. There’s a Global Megan Comments Feed, too, in case you’re interested.

Ah, administrative experimentation. I promise there is cheese at the end of this glorious maze.

{ 1 comment }

Jammin’ with the Tribes Q&A Promo

by Megan M. on August 12, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

I was running iTunes all morning, jammin’ to the stereo and getting work done. I keep a ton of tabs open in Firefox (yes, I’m one of those… totally out of control, man) and at some point, Firefox seized up and quit on me. Curse you, Firefox! (It has gotten really slow, man. I find my eye wandering to Google Chrome… if only I was her type! Oh well, someday, Mac peeps. Someday.)

Firefox, at least, will bring back all my tabs. But I noticed that once it had loaded most of them, a new tune was out-jammin’ my other music. And it was awesome.

It was way better than whatever the hell I was playing on iTunes.

And then I realized, ah-ha! That’s the Tribes Q&A Promo tab!

I posted this trailer (by Paul Durban of Blazonfire fame!) awhile back, when Paul originally put it together. But I didn’t spend nearly enough time telling you how awesome he is. Paul and his work are truly gush-worthy. I wrote him a testimonial that will make your toes curl in sheer delight:

“I firmly believe that Paul Durban is Design Superman. He’s got to be from some other planet. He comes up with these gorgeous, perfect designs that often seem to spring fully-formed from wherever the hell he stores all his creativity. (Hollow leg? Dimensional portal?) The cover and interior design he concocted for the Tribes Q&A ebook was immaculate and blew us all away with how precisely it fit the ebook and how quickly it came to fruition. His video sequences are incredibly inventive and appealing. You want this guy on your side, conquering your deadlines—even if he’s not quite human! You’re not going to believe how well he does his thing. Whatever he quotes you, dude, go for it. Everything Paul touches turns to AWESOME.”

Megan Elizabeth Morris – Founder of That Idea Blueprint Girl

I meant every word. Reading it over gives me a little thrill. I’m a shameless fangirl.

Did I write this post just to gush over Paul Durban? Well, no. (But I could have! And it would be an awesome post!)

I actually wrote this post because Paul’s Tribes Q&A Promo is a competing presentation in the World’s Best Presentation Contest 2009 at Slideshare, and I’d like you to go vote for it. It’ll help spread the word about Tribes and the Q&A we put together, and it will help to support a guy who truly deserves every good word you can spare him. Paul Durban could rule the world, and we would be very happy little design minions.

So just take a second—one tiny second out of your life!—to vote for the Tribes Q&A Promo at Slideshare. Click the little thumbs-up button underneath the presentation. (Believe me, if you haven’t seen this thing, you’ll be quadruple-clicking that button like your life depends on it by the time you’ve watched it to the end. It’s really that good.)

Okay, okay, I’ll embed it. Make it easy on you. But promise to go vote too, okay?

I love you guys. Thanks for reading. :}

{ 1 comment }

Dungeons, Dragons, and Brain Science

by Megan M. on August 11, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Last week I spent about an hour working up a spreadsheet to calculate some obscure price vs benefit analysis for a product I buy. Their pricing structure was technically broken, I realized—at least, the way they explained it. I waded gleefully through numbers and equations and dollar signs and came up with a much better attack for them—much simpler for their clients. Of course no one asked me to do it, but when Megan gets something in her head…

Marty looked on in fascination, as I proudly displayed my beautiful spreadsheet—and explained the results. “You should really go back to playing D&D,” he told me. “That’s exactly what makes someone a great D&D player, doing stuff like that.”

I responded by default: “But I don’t like it!” And then I corrected, and explained the following: I like D&D a lot. I like the story part. I like that math part. It’s only when they are put together that I’m not crazy about them.

Thus began a bizarre revelation.

A few months ago in the process of developing one of my many cashflow models, I got in the habit of writing financial stories for Marty and I. They would start in the present and go on for the next several weeks, detailing how much money we had in our accounts now, what invoices I expected to be paid soon, what projects I could pull in to pay bills that would be due later on. I covered alternate scenarios and Plan Bs (and Cs and Ds) and the result was just like a mathematical word problem—but backwards. It was a mathematical word solution.

I loved doing this. I did it for a long time and although it was time consuming, it allowed me to think very clearly and concretely about my finances, which have always seemed a little too complicated for me. (I have a better system now, but at the time, this was quite slick and really doing the job it was meant to do!) In this particular case, Math + English = Fabulousness. There is no doubt in my mind that my thought process functioned particularly smoothly in this way, and still does.

Now, I quit playing D&D because although I loved the math, and I loved the stories… I didn’t like parsing them together. And when I was in school—get this—I hated word problems in math class. I always had trouble wrapping my head around all but the simplest ones, and I could never figure out why they were so hard. I’m a reading-and-writing wiz, and I love algebra, but I can’t do word problems? Argh!

I made my peace with it, of course, but thinking back on it now there is a very strange set of facts. The resulting realization here is that I love words, and I love maths, and I love writing about math (when it suits my purpose). But for some reason I dislike and cannot stomach reading someone else’s writing about math. For some reason, it’s tedious for me to interpret or convert in my head. It’s difficult to parse. I get turned around, somehow. And so, I don’t like it. This is why I don’t play D&D anymore (though maybe I should write it, ha ha).

This blew my mind. What could it mean? In another life, I will be a brain scientist. Surely it’s significant in some way that I love to create words+maths but dislike taking them in. One tiny Math-English Receptor Wrinkle in my brain says, No way, no how! MUTINY!

I’m okay with it, and all. But isn’t it awesomely cool to wonder about?