My fourth entry to the Blogging Challenge is devoted to this prompt:
What’s one thing you’re proud of?
Honestly, most of all I am proud of the Life I am currently building for myself… but I would leave it for a later writing… like half a year or even later than that. Everything is very raw now, plus I would also prefer to keep it more or less secret until I have gone through all the required steps on my side. It is one of those things that do fit the idea of the short TEDx talk by Derek Sivers: if I share it (all of it), then I will get a false sense of accomplishment, of getting closer to my goals, and thus I will become lazier about putting the efforts in. Because those required steps are fully in my control and responsibility, and I should just do them on my own.
(For those who are new to me and my writing: I believe that there are no absolute truths, and Derek’s talk is certainly not an exception here. From my own experience, I am often up to doing something that is new and unusual and dificult to me, but may be quite common to and well studied by others. By openly telling about such projects, by sharing my ideas and plans I invite others to share their knowledge, to help me and accelerate my way through the hard unpleasant stuff to the hard enjoyable work)
So, instead I will tell you about my efforts with Live Your Legend LOCAL (LYLL). Maybe the current results after a year are still quite far from an actual success story and could even look more like a failure from the outside (especially from the outside of the Live Your Legend community)… But I am very proud of myself for stepping up to do it, glad to have the experiences and the learning that I accumulated over my first year at it.
Finally, such case present an awesome educational opportunity for both of us, my dear reader.
By sharing and exploring my experiences I receive a deeper understanding of their value for me, and numerous hints at my deeper personal values and priorities (and they may be quite different from the present priorities which can be reverse-engineered from how I have actually been spending my time). To be honest, this is one of the largest benefits of LYLL for me – the opportunity to openly talk about my life, and the reflections that come with it. Often, during the week that follows a LYLL meeting I experience one or several effortless shifts in my attitudes and behaviors, around which I could have struggled with no results over the weeks or even months before, and in retrospective I always see a clear connection to the background thoughts during my turn to speak at the LYLL event.
I often mention it to the new members of LYLL meetings that becoming a host and a community leader haven’t been my initial intention. Actually, after my failures with starting a personal development club at Jacobs University and putting up a Hanseatic / Northern Germany meetup through LYL presence on Meetup Everywhere (discontinued), I was sitting there back in November 2013, looking at the invitation from Scott Dinsmore and thinking “I would really, really like to be a part of such a local community – hope there will be someone around who starts it; I could write back to Scott that I would be willing to help out to them, but I won’t be that person”…
But one of the actions that I am most proud to the day was following up on the thought that came later. “Why can’t I just put my name in, raise up my Living Legend flag, and serve as a signpost for others like me who would love to be a part of such community but would not like to start it? We could figure out all that host stuff later”.
So I did. I wrote back to Scott saying that I am up for it, signed the host agreement… And soon I was on my way deep into the administrative stuff of filling the organizer profile on Eventbrite, creating the event there, taking over the Facebook group and promoting LYLL Bremen to JU students.
There were tons of support by the Live Your Legeng events team, starting from the initial setup of the platforms through promotion of the groups to regional Live Your Legend subscribers, and up to the template agenda and topic suggestions for a long run. I also had an extra boost of motivation and help on going forward with the Hamburg group when Nadja wrote to me asking about it – I immediately recruited her to co-host the meetings in Hamburg.
I had two bigger meetups (10-12 attendees) in Bremen in January and February 2014, when I was promoting the group to the JU students… but the students were mostly just checking us out, they haven’t been really getting the concept. Plus they were in the period of their life when the freedom ideas and lessons seem hard to implement (studying for their degree), so they were not ready to commit to much of anything. Both the promotion and managing these people at the events were feeling unnatural and unpleasant.
So I dropped the active promotion. After that, both groups went down to 2-4 people coming to each event (or even just me a couple of times – but I still was able to use the evening for valuable reflections on the planned topic), with only me, Nadja and Jan being present regularly and engaging deeply. However, I do not regret the decision. The people who were coming were much better fits to the community – being able to give and get much more value at the meetings than those students.
In February 2015, I used an opportunity to host an introductory LYLL event to the members of personal development & coaching club in Hamburg. Six amazing men showed up, and we had a very heartfelt discussion. I am still to learn how many of them will show up the next time… (Looking forward to it, both excited and anxious!)
One of the changes that I implemented this last time was to switch to the donation basis for the events. Yes, sure, it helped me to pay for my drinks :) But the main point was to materialize the feeling of value and establish the grounds for commitment.
Because there is this strange effect of human psychic: if something is free, it is incredibly easy to discard it, to write it off, to forget about it, no matter how much joy and value it brings, no matter how much impact it has on our lives.
On the other hand, when you pay for something, even when it is a donation of one-two euros, it says to your subconscious, “this is important”. And then you can let your subconscious to do a part of the work for you.
What are my biggest takeaways?
- Tastes differ. There are people who just are not compatible, do not fit, do not get it, and it makes no good to anyone to try to convince them in the value of what you are offering. Say goodbye to them and move on, you both will be grateful for that.
- Sharing is caring. Talking about personal dreams and aspirations are as good if not better inspirating and motivating as talking about past successes and accomplishments. As an added bonus, in return many people actually offer help and advice, and share useful resources with you.
- Follow your excitement and act on your impulses. As I wrote at the beginning, I knew right from the start that a group like LYLL would be very helpful and beneficial to me – and it is. And as I acted on my impulse to step up for the LYLL communities in the Northern Germany, the value went beyond what I had thought initially. It actually woke up the desire to lead and to contribute to others at a higher level than it has ever been before. And it gives me the platform to learn it, a safe environment to practice.
- Be true to yourself, and be truly yourself. Be vulnerable. I had never felt as whole and alive as when I first shared my story at the first LYLL meeting in Bremen in January 2014. Up until that moment, I led two separate lives: one as a struggling computer science student, and another as an aspiring creator. At that meeting, I slowly started to bring those two personas together, to express myself fully in the world. And that, over the course of the following months, took a huge weight from my shoulders.
What are YOU most proud of? Share with us in the comments!
Enjoy YOUR Life! ;)