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

If you’re wondering how the hexayurt held up at Burning Flipside this year, whoa, man, that thing is nicely designed. While everyone else was shrieking and scrambling to hold their tents down as Ginormous Torrent of Rainstorm plowed through Flat Creek Ranch, Marty and I and a friend of ours were holed up in the yurt, sittin’ pretty, eating snacks and chatting over the clamor. (Heavy rain makes the inside of a hexayurt just about reverberate.)

With all the wind and crazy, the hexayurt did not budge. There was clearly no danger of it falling over, or even becoming less structurally sound somehow. There were two or three tiny drips coming through the taped edges—where we’d half-assed our construction, no doubt—but Marty added more tape and we had no problems with water. That is, until the storm was over and we started tracking in mud. Yeek. Oops.

Here are some pictures from the outside, if you want to see what we put together! (The noise is one of the generators nearby.)

And backtracking a bit—because the countryside was simply beautiful on the drive there, I stopped to take a clip of some of it. Texas hills are truly fantastic.


People Who Care, People Who Don’t

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

Regular posts will be returning soon. Thank you to everyone who’s sent me a sweet email or IM or Tweet instructing me to get back on the freaking job. I have been working my ASS off, I’m almost ready for things to go back to normal (read: get really crazy in a brand new way), and I really appreciate the warm thoughts. Keep your shoes on. Storm’s a-comin’!

I have been very receptive, lately, to the concept of people who care. I have been noticing now more than ever that although many (most?) people in their business and personal lives may in fact care, not all of them show it. There are a lot of reasons this might be, but it doesn’t mitigate the fact that those they interact with are strongly affected by the appearance of caring (or not).

My very latest, thoughtful, examples:

  • The apartment complex manager who listens kindly to your situation and shows that he cares, even when it turns out to be a problem he can’t (or even won’t) solve.
  • The web hosting support dude who takes a minute to suggest a solution to your problem, rather than shutting you down because the problem isn’t with the server.
  • The neighbor who stops by to ask if their music is too loud, and makes sure you’re aware that they don’t mind you calling or stopping by to let them know.

I honestly can’t understand why you wouldn’t give your customer the impression that you care—the person who rents one of your apartments, the one who shops in your store, the one you see every day, and-AND the person you only meet once, who just might have an unsuspected impact on your life and work. Everyone has bad days, but what is the harm or unreasonable effort in being good-natured and compassionate?

I’m tired today. I’m grumpy. I dumped chocolate protein shake all over my new dress, and I couldn’t wear it like I planned. My house is a mess. It’s too freaking hot outside. I’m annoyed.


Oh yeah, okay. So what?

Are you really going to use those excuses to ruin everyone else’s time, too? Distance yourself from friends? Alienate strangers? Kill traffic to your business?


I mean, I dumped chocolate protein shake on my new dress this morning, and I’m still cheery as a shiny button. Unless I’m pretending. ;}


Flipping, Turning (and Scheduling)

by Megan M. on May 20, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

May feels to me, strangely, like the turning of the year—as if its pivot is not New Year’s Day, but a certain week in late spring when we all go running around in the wilderness like heathens. I’m sure that if I attended Burning Man, that would feel like the pivot. But because Burning Flipside is my thing, instead, it’s the pivot. There is a clicking and snapping in my brain that says it’s time to turn things over. Geeze, it’s only my second year. I’m still a n00b, man.

But this year I’m gonna live in a yurt.

That’s gotta count for something.

The last week or so has been a huge blur. There’s a limit to how much one person can get done in a certain amount of time, but I’ve been pushing it. Today’s list is the biggest, because early tomorrow morning we’re packing up the car and wandering out into Texas Hill Country. To that end, this is really a scheduling post, so that you all know where in the hell I am while I’m not answering your emails or picking up my phone.

From May 21-25, I will be in the middle of nowhere—really!—braving the hot sun and dust and desert creatures in Flat Creek with nothing to protect me but some insulation panels and, uh, TAPE. It will be wild. There are no computers in the wilderness. As such, I will (obviously) not be answering email during that time. I am also 99% certain that I will not have any kind of mobile reception, so although you’re welcome to leave me voicemail, please do not expect responses while I’m gone (swift or otherwise).

From May 26-27, I will be back in town and on a super tight deadline. We’ll be getting Marty ready for A-Kon in Dallas, and making sure nothing slipped past our radar while we were camping. It will be fairly difficult to get a hold of me, but possible. I would beg you to only send me emergency items during this couple of days, because time will be very short.

From May 28-31, Marty and I will be in Dallas at A-Kon. I will be working, but internet connectivity may be spotty or non-existent, depending on whether the hotel’s wireless works and possibly on whether I can find an alternate ‘net location without compromising my ability to help Marty run his table. It’s best if you don’t depend on me for anything desperate while we’re in Dallas.

June 1st I will return to my apartment and pass out for three days underneath the floorboards, eating small insects and rodentia and rebuilding my strength for the day when I may rise again to once more wreak my unholy havoc upon the world.

Oh, wait. That was Marty’s copy. Uh. I’ll be around the first week of June. I’ll be tired, but I’ll be here. ;}

I’d say the next four hours are the best time for you to contact me if you have something absolutely urgent that must be dealt with before I head out of town—so get on that, it’s probably your last chance for a couple of weeks. Otherwise, I’ll be back in the saddle (or toppling, exhausted, out of it?) the first week of June, and we’ll catch everything up then. (In fact, by then, a normal work week will feel like a blessing from Heaven. Looking forward to that!)

If you are just dying for more posts and you can’t stand to be without something Megan M. for a whole! week! you can feel free to check out The Social NetWorker blog at Social Work prn—my posts there will keep going up Tuesdays and Thursdays as usual. Magic! As for my Personal Revelations, I’m sure I’ll have a great store of them when I return from the hills.

Just hang on a week or two, while I turn my brain over. ;}


Remove the bits that aren’t you.

by Megan M. on May 19, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

Sir Ken Robinson quotes Michaelangelo: “I did not make this sculpture. I revealed it. It was there already in the stone. All you have to do is remove the bits that aren’t the David.” Perhaps any personal development is not necessarily so much about building, but also very much about chipping away.

Sir Ken’s analogy for application: “We should start removing the bits that aren’t us, and allow the bits that are us to shine forth.”



Late last week I had a fantastic conversation with Pace and Kyeli Smith, in all of their excellent freakitude, and got to dig up lots of new information about their new website, Freak Revolution, which they launched this morning. We covered subjects like…

  • The new Freak Revolution launch, what it all means and what y’all can do with it
  • Unschooling and the education system, and our various opinions thereof
  • How IMPORTANT it is to be different, and good at it!

And geeze, a ton more. What Pace and Kyeli are pursuing here is something very dear to my heart—the strength and proliferation of diversity, something I’ve written about in the original Tribes Casebook and at least a billion other times in my blog and elsewhere.

Freak Revolution Podcast mp3

Pour yourself a drink, browse to, sit back and enjoy our 39 minutes of world-changing mojo! And, uh, don’t mind my circus ringleader opening, I promise the whole thing’s not like that…


Do you know what’s terrifying?


The whole world is a scary, horrible, terrifying place that gives no quarter in hours of stress. You can’t run away. You can’t hide. It is always out there, waiting for you. You are expected to just put up with it and be brave and be strong and so you put on a chirpy happy face and pretend everything is okay even though you are SHITTING YOURSELF in terror.

And there is nothing more terrifying than getting your fat measured by your svelte CrossFit coach on a Sunday afternoon.


So I go to get my body composition measured because it’s happening today and I want to know if the measurements I took on my own were correct.

I’m pretty sure they weren’t, but I’m hoping they aren’t worse.

They can’t really be higher than I think they are, can they?

First I write down some goals (very nice goals, I think) and then we measure circumferences of limbs and things. I stand there and pretend it’s completely normal. La la la, nothing much, just getting my FAT MEASURED by my CrossFit coach! Ho hum, lazy Sunday afternoon, let’s see what my body fat percentage is today, I look over his shoulder as he writes it down, FORTY PERCENT?? There’s a plus sign, what does that plus sign mean? OVER FORTY PERCENT!?

Much higher than I thought. A part of me dies quietly of horror, and the rest of me makes pleasant conversation. “Ha ha, it was such a coincidence that you were doing body composition today, since I measured myself exactly a week ago and expected to do it again pretty much now,” ha ha, what SERENDIPITY! THAT’S SO FUNNY! Would you like more fat to measure? HERE’S MY BUTT, LET’S MEASURE THAT!

I was going to write this post a few weeks ago, when I started the instructional classes. I was going to write it then because, while I have maintained my internal composure excellently in the days leading up to CrossFit classes and in the spaces between them, I have rediscovered every single class how absolutely fundamentally terrifying it is for me to be there. Just to be there. And I finally wrote this post today because on the way home from measuring my body composition I remembered how very much I wanted to hyperventilate into a paper bag just thinking about it. Why, Megan? Why should this be terrifying?

Well… here’s the problem.

I don’t really believe I’m meant to be there.

I don’t really see myself as ever occupying the same universe Emily does, with her 125 pounds of muscle and 10% body fat. I can’t imagine how I can possibly belong at CrossFit. There is a small part of me who is waiting to be kicked out. “You can’t do these things,” they will say. “You’re not good enough. You’re different. You’re just not capable of them.” And I won’t be allowed to attend classes anymore. Maybe they won’t even refund my money! Because I’m not like them, not worth bothering with.

Every little indignity rubs the terror in, even though they haven’t kicked me out (yet, something says to me)—that I’m not like them, and not good enough. I needed to be in the beginners’ classes instead of the regular CrossFit classes. I can’t keep up with the run. I can’t do a fake, easy pushup. I run out of oxygen so fast when we’re doing anything. And apparently my body fat is ten percent higher than I thought it was. O GOD, the VIOLENCE done by NUMBERS!

Why is it that I think I’m “not like them”? Well, I’m just not capable of the things they’re capable of. I have to make excuses for myself—oh, I hurt myself easily. I can’t move that fast. I’ve never been able to do regular pushups. Whine, excuse, complain. Every time we learn something new, I actually have to STIFLE THE REFLEX to take someone aside and let them know that I need to do something different because I’m not like everyone else. I’m supposed to be an exception. A weaker exception. My whole life, I have made allowances for myself. It’s okay, you just can’t do what they’re doing. That doesn’t make you a bad person.

BUT IT DOES. IT DOES, it DOES make me a bad person. It makes me a bad person BECAUSE THOSE WERE ALL LIES!!


My whole life I’ve been lying to myself saying that I can’t be like that, I can’t be strong, I can’t be fast, I can’t feel good, I’ll never be able to climb a tree or run a race or fight evildoers with my bare fists, I have completely exempted myself from those categories, and I’ve been telling myself these LIES for SO MANY YEARS that NOW I FINALLY BELIEVE THEM. I believe them so powerfully that the very act of attending a CrossFit class—completely separate from the fear of being physically unattractive, of not being liked, of having spent money on the wrong solution—the very ACT of participating instills an enormous amount of terror just because I’m afraid I don’t belong there. Afraid that if they really knew who they were dealing with, they’d reject me out of hand. And wondering when they’ll find out, wondering how long I’ll last before they do. WHEN WILL THE OTHER SHOE DROP? Will they yell? Will they be disappointed? Will they be disgusted with themselves for not having seen it sooner?

How long before they realize I’m not capable and exile me to a special country for incapable people? How long? How long do I have? Because the incredibly perverse part of all of this is that with all of the effort, and the grunting and the sweating and the exhaustion and the struggle to have enough oxygen to breathe and the embarrassment of consistently being the very last person back from the 400 meter run, with 98% of visible participants slimmer or prettier than me, with Marty being insanely stronger and more conditioned than I am and better at all of it, even with everything else I’ve mentioned, with the sheer impossibility of ensuring my appearance when my hair is pinned up and my clothes are soaked in sweat…

With all of that…

All those things, the perverse part is…

I actually… LIKE IT.

I want to do it.

I don’t want them to kick me out. I don’t want them to tell me that they made a mistake, that I can’t really do this thing after all. I don’t want Em to IM me someday and say, You know, it might just be better if you did something else instead…

I am so afraid that someone will make me stop, when part of me is absolutely certain that I don’t deserve to keep going. And I like doing it so much I could CRY, because it scares the HELL out of me to go.

The world is like this.

The world is a fucking terrifying place with bad monsters and a perceived ability to hear all the negative thoughts in people’s heads when they look at you and situations that are hard and the frequent discovery that you’re worse than everyone else at the thing you thought you were good at.

The world is hard and scary and awful.

But you have to keep living there ANYWAY. You have to keep trying. You have to chip away at the thing, you have to change yourself. THIS is not an opportunity, this is not an obligation, this is a FACT. Opting out produces no results. No one can change you FOR you. You have to make the hard things happen because you’re obstinate enough to push and push and push until they do. You can’t just stop because something is scary. You have to be scarier. You have to be stronger and braver.

THAT is why I’ll go to every freaking CrossFit class. I will go five days a week as soon as they’ll let me in June, and I will love every minute of it. I will go to free workouts on Saturdays. I will voluntarily get my body fat measured and I will do it with a smile on my face, month after month after month. I will do the pushups I “can’t do” and I will run that 400 meters every time even if I’m way behind because that’s the only way for any of it to get better. Inside my head I will cry and scream and insist that I CAN’T and think of ways to trick them into letting me stay instead of making me leave, and I will sweat and pant and be afraid and keep going anyway.

Outside, I will look brave and determined and continue to do everything I’m supposed to do to get through this. I will keep going when it’s horrible, when it’s hard, when I can’t figure out how it ends, I have to keep going because NOTHING ELSE WILL GET ME THROUGH. Because the only alternative is to stop, and that’s no alternative at all.

Just wanting to feel better won’t make me strong. Pretending, lying to myself, won’t make me strong. Talking about it won’t make me strong. Being a pansy and getting away with less than my best won’t make me strong. Making excuses won’t make me strong. ONLY DOING IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

So god help me, I’m going to do it.

Red-faced and terrified, I will conquer the world.


Listen First - Sell Later (Bob Poole)Today Bob Poole launched his wonderful sales and marketing book, Listen First – Sell Later.

I love this book.

This is the project I spent so much time focused on editing in February, and I have been incredibly impressed with the content and usefulness and heart of Bob’s writing. I am proud to have been a part of it, and I hope he sells just zillions of copies. If you have an interest in sales, marketing, being a real person who cares about the people around you and/or running a business that cultivates relationships with its customers, I strongly suggest you read it. I’m not the only one, either—some very neat folks weighed in (including Seth Godin). Check out the blurbs on the back of the book.

Pace wrote a great review with a ton of book snippets, and you’re welcome to read my last post (How to Inspire Your Editor, Get a Post Written About Your New Book, and Be Just Plain GREAT With People) if you want to know more about the kind of awesome person Bob Poole is.

Right now if you buy a copy (and probably not forever!), Bob is offering to send a free copy to a friend of yours. All you have to do is forward him the receipt once you’ve ordered and give him shipping information. Here’s everything you need to know.

For real: Buy it from Bob, buy it from Amazon, buy it from the Squidoo lens that supports Acumen Fund (my personal favorite), just buy the book. It will make your life and your work and your relationships with other people better. In the short time since I worked on the editing, it has surely done so with mine.