Here's the play-by-play of a few workshops that Year On hosted in the fall.
Tiffany Mikell asked us, “What is the greatest gift that you can give to the world?” A Chicago native, Tiffany runs a technology consulting firm, helping non-profits expand their reach.
- What is your mission? Write down the first verb that comes to mind. A few of ours was to teach, to inspire, and to create.
- What are 5 gifts that you have? Next, we were asked to brainstorm 5 skills, again using verbs, that we could use to carry out our mission. If your mission is to create, for example, gifts like writing, connecting, and acting is important skills to develop.
- What are jobs that allow you to apply those gifts? For each skill, write down 3 applicable jobs. Often we think that we have to stick to one career path, not realizing that our skills can be transformed across industries. Good writing skills, for example, are important not just to bloggers or authors, but also scientists who want to communicate their discoveries clearly, or startup entrepreneurs looking to pitch their ideas online.
- What educational experiences can you create? How will you develop the skills that you need, in order to do the job that you want to have? The final step of Tiffany’s process asks you to create your own learning experiences. If I was intent on improving my writing skills, I could volunteer my time and practice writing press releases for a local non-profit organization.
Tiffany’s 4-step process helps you make sure that you’re on track. By writing for a local non-profit, for example, you could be advancing your ability to pitch your future tech startup and carrying out your mission to create at the same time.
Natalie Warne led a discussion on difficulty and community-building. At age 18, Natalie became an activist, traveling the country to campaign for Invisible Children.
Citing a brief career limbo in Los Angeles, Natalie shared her experiences with failure. “It’s normal to have seasons where things just aren’t working out,” she said.
She showed us a manifesto by Ira Glass, the founder of “This American Life.”
"Many creatives get frustrated," Glass says, "when they go through a stage where the work they produce doesn’t match up with the taste they’ve developed. The successful ones are the ones who break through this roadblock."
For Natalie, the people around her gave her the motivation to drive on even when things seemed particularly grim. Because alternative learning can be lonely without support, we discussed ways to build a more cohesive community of Year On readers: suggestions included the creation of a monthly Google Hangout, a peer mentoring system, and smaller accountability groups. (What are your thoughts?)