Sharing the Journey

A few months back, I lamented the lack of scaleability in my business. I used that fact to talk about an effort I was making to branch out more, do more talks and workshops. That effort helped greatly and I’ve found myself working with many, many more people…in short bursts as well as longer efforts.

Around that time, I was approached by a few people about the “scaling Jerry” problem. Kevin Friedman, who’d attended a Disappearing into the Fire Workshop Ann Mehl and I conducted at General Assembly took up the challenge. Supported by his friend Tim Pettit and my friend Dan Putt. This little band of optimists have set up a service, the intent of which is to make it possible for even more people to get the support they need on their journeys. We call it Cojourneo. The vision is a platform that will allow people to come together in a safe and intimate way (much like offline support groups) to share their experiences and get peer advice, while being supported by a guide like myself or Ann or another “elder” who’s traveled the path before.

We have no idea if this will be a business. We have no idea if this will work. We have no idea if folks will be helped in this process. And all of those unknowns make this that much more fun.

We’re finalizing the designs now and will be launching an alpha version of our first journey shortly (umm, I think this week). We hope to move quickly into a beta mode and have a series of journeys running simultaneously.

When I do a talk on the dangers of losing oneself in the fire of work, I often end with a set of recommendations to help keep oneself from getting lost. One of the most powerful of these is the notion of an ongoing support or advocacy group…especially a group of peers. Our hope is that this could be a platform for folks to do just that.

One final note, despite our lack of certainty about whether or not this will turn into anything (or, at least anything more helpful than similarly structured platforms), we’ve built a small company–a container if you will–to house the effort. And more important we’ve created for ourselves a values statement. The values have been  guiding principles behind everything we’ve tried to build and how we’ve tried to operate.

I’m very proud of the effort and even more proud of the values. Kevin and Dan deserve credit for driving these.

  1. Treat people as human beings first.
    1. We aspire to be a great company to work for and work with as well.
    2. We aspire to bring heart and soul to uncharted territories.
      1. “Call it Needs-based governance. It’s an incredibly clarifying and empowering tool. It expands the notion of the CEO…to include the notion of the CEO making certain that the great people they’ve hired (and put into the right positions) have what they need to succeed.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “Authentic leaders in every setting — from families to nation states — aim at liberating the heart, their own and others’, so that its powers can liberate the world.” – Parker Palmer
  2. Life is better shared with others.
    1. We aspire to find ways to make it easier, more helpful, and more fun for people to share life together.
    2. We aspire to build awesome collaborative communities that change lives.
      1. “The thing is, we’re all in this together. We’re a community of helpers, a sangha of fellow travelers, and we’ve got to work together. I mirror you. You mirror me. I hold your heart. You hold mine.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “The gift of giving to the Other is the most powerful salve for closing that hole in your heart.” – Jerry Colonna
      3. “Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection — it deprives one of the relatedness that is the lifeline of every living being.” – Parker Palmer
      4. “The key to this form of community involves holding a paradox — the paradox of having relationships in which we protect each other’s aloneness.” – Parker Palmer
  3. Follow fun and aliveness.
    1. We aspire to help people esteem and pursue that which they find fun and brings aliveness.
    2. We aspire to remind people that loving oneself is often the best way to love others.
      1. “But I think the work is not getting people to romanticize our heroes but to see the incredible in the simple act of getting along, of growing up, of becoming more and more wholly, utterly, ourselves.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “Discovering true vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be.” – Parker Palmer
      3. “Vocation begins — not in what the world needs (which is everything), but in the nature of human self, in what brings the self joy” – Parker Palmer
      4. “By surviving passages of doubt and depression on the vocational journey, I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act.” – Parker Palmer
  4. Dare to be open and honest in a safe place.
    1. We aspire to build a safe place that encourages people to deal openly with the challenges of life.
      1. “And I watched as this first time CEO manifested not only Connect-Think-Do but the even more powerful Connect-Think-Lead.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “There is a fundamental human gesture that must take place first, before any leader can guide, direct, or point the way. Leaders must first open. They must step beyond the boundaries of what is familiar and routine and directly touch the people and environment they want to inspire. Leading others requires that we first open ourselves to the world around us.” – Michael Carroll
      3. “Pain held in is pain. Pain let out is dance.” – Mark Nepo
      4. “A second shadow inside many of us it the belief that the universe is a battleground, hostile to human interests.” – Parker Palmer
  5. Expect and embrace mistakes.
    1. We aspire to build an environment where people have freedom to make mistakes.
    2. We aspire to treat people that make mistakes with grace and love.
      1. “The lesson I tried to teach was that doling out Do Overs was a powerful incentive. It mitigated the fear of failing and, more often than not, brought out the best….” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “Lives dominated by impossible ideals — perfect happiness, eternal love — are lives experienced as continuous failure.” – Adam Phillips
      3. “But as pilgrims must discover if they are to complete their quest, we are led by our weaknesses as well as our strengths.” – Parker Palmer
  6. Be not afraid or at least admit it when you are.
    1. We aspire to not let fear hinder us from pursuing our dreams.
    2. We aspire to recognize that fear is not a monster but a recurring friend to be embraced.
      1. “When Siddhartha woke up and became the Buddha, the awakened one, he didn’t wake to see the triumphant earthly gods and goddesses. He awoke to the utterly breathtaking beauty of the everyday person facing the truth of the pain and fear of life; facing that truth and choosing to move ahead, regardless. That feels like one heck of a small step.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “I must not fear… Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration… I will face my fear…” – Bene Gesserit
  7. Be present, wherever you are, and savor the journey.
    1. We aspire to help people stop and embrace wherever and whoever they are.
    2. We aspire to help people appreciate every moment on the journey to their dreams.
      1. “The real gift is learning to be present in whatever third you’re living. So when you’re working, work. And when you’re loving, love. And when you’re eating, eat.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “Stand still… The hard part is bearing the stage of “No action” necessary so that the right amount of data can unfold.” – Jerry Colonna
      3. “We do ourselves a disservice when we look only to the extraordinary for affirmation of the incredible. We set ourselves up, then, to see that our struggles with the pathology of every day are somehow less then. And, of course, that then reinforces our own gnawing aching fears that we are never enough.” – Jerry Colonna
  8. See life as a whole.
    1. We aspire to help people nurture a holistic approach to life: professional, physical, and personal.
      1. “But, the only real chance we’ve got of surviving, indeed maybe even thriving in, the chaos of ordinary life is to develop a centered core: A set of beliefs, rituals, and inner-knowledge that not only remains unshakable with every gut-wrenching drop but, in fact, deepens over time into a philosophy that is at once unique and lasting.” – Jerry Colonna
      2. “One third taking care of business. One third taking care of the subtle and gross bodies–the inner you and the physical you. And one third for family, friends, community, the world at large.” – Jerry Colonna
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  • http://www.about.me/briankung Brian Kung

    This is exciting. Looking forward to more news from this venture!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Brian. We’ll keep you in the loop.

  • http://kirklove.tumblr.com/ kirklove

    Wishing you all the success with this. Wonderful initiative and values statement.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kirk.

  • Kevin Friedman

    Jerry, you have helped and inspired so many. Thank you. I’m so excited to be part of this journey and to help others on their journeys!

    To the Monster community: if you have any suggestions or thoughts on how you would like to use Cojourneo, please let us know here or at welcome@cojourneo.com.

    • http://twitter.com/jrkierce Joaquín R. Kierce

      Monster community. I love it.

      • http://twitter.com/3sarkar M Sarkar

        Well, as long as Monster dot com doesn’t come growling!

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    That’s a great idea. I can’t wait to try Cojourneo and hope to be invited into the alpha (I’ve entered my email). 

    Another possible way to “scale Jerry” is to work with a handful of trusted people that would be “certified” to give your seminar in other cities. You would give them a train-the-trainer type of training, and they would follow what you have codified. That’s a proven method for scaling. 

    Maybe use Cojourneo to spread your brand and reach more users, and make the extended program a delivery option with regional reach. And to top it off, I smell an annual Jerry Colona Monster in your Head Conference as a physical get together with all of its benefits. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks…I’m trying hard to think this through. The challenging of training others is it puts me further and further away from working with the actual client…which I love.
      That said, I love, love the idea of a retreat/conference to dive deep on these issues.

      • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

        Great re: conference. I didn’t mean to imply dissociating you from direct work with clients,- rather extending your reach, taking a page from Mack Hanan and his consultative selling work. Maybe 3-4 extra people initially doing the workshop only as a small bump.

        • Anonymous

          Ah, that makes sense. I’d love to keep brainstorming about this if you’re willing.

          • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

            Sure. I’ll email you.

      • http://twitter.com/egoboss Carl Rahn Griffith

        It could become a TEDx like model, but for the real-world. I love TED in many respects, but find much of it to be pretentious and vacuous – what I love about your approach, Jerry, is that hooks into the real-world – warts and all…

      • http://www.survivingorthrivingnow.com/ TanyaMonteiro

        Africa awaits

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com/ awaldstein

    I like this.

    Hard and unchartered and full of benefits.

    All the reasons to put yourself out there and make it happen.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks. As  I said, we’re not sure what the “model” is but there’s some great opportunities out there. There’s no question there’s a tremendous need for good quality peer support.

      • http://twitter.com/egoboss Carl Rahn Griffith

        Great initiative. Would love to be part of this. 

  • panterosa,

    So cool to see your cumulative work synthesized into a mission. So jazzed to see how the work ‘manifests’ as you say. Have more wonderful journeys!

  • http://caddellinsightgroup.com jmcaddell

    Jerry, I like your blog a lot and especially your advice to improve from within. Best of luck with this new venture. 

    You might like a site that I’ve been working on for the past few years: The Mistake Bank (http://mistakebank.com). The most recent entry refers to your post over at AVC, but I think the content in general may be of interest to you and your readers.

    regards, John

  • http://qed.vc/ Sergey Nazarov

    Jerry,

    I think this is a great idea that has real value.

    The mentors I have had during my career have shaped me more than anything else and I think formalizing that interaction into a system opted-into by both mentor and mentee is a great idea.

    The people I have grown with the most after my mentors is like-minded friends that want to see me succeed. A system that allows us to help each other succeed by keeping each other motivated through the ups and downs of running a company would also be great.

    The focus on specific journeys and goals is also great since it focuses the conversation taking place in the system.

    I think this is great and am excited about being a Beta user. I will actively give feedback and try to think about what interactions the system is actually leading to and why.

    All the best,
    Sergey

    • Kevin Friedman

       Hi Sergey,

      So nice to meet you! What a great thought: a place to “help each other succeed by keeping each other motivated through the ups and downs.” We are definitely hoping that Cojourneo will be that place.

      I just sent you an invite. We hope to see you on Cojourneo!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much. It’ll be a joy to take a ride with you.

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  • Anonymous

    Beautiful idea! I’ve often thought about a similar environment – finding or creating – sort of a diverse “Mastermind” Peer Salon and support network with a focus on journey rather than destination (long time lurking, had to pipe in.). Love this. Love you. Rock on!

    • Anonymous

      :-)
      Thanks buddy.I love you too.
      We’ve been happy with the results so far. Still a lot of things to work through but it’s getting there.
      J

  • http://koslow.tumbler.com/ Koslow

    What an incredible execution of this concept; with the right values behind it. I’m really excited to experience this type of internet forum and social collaboration . I’ve signed up for my first journey.

    From what I’ve seen on the site, this is the future of online education. 

    Combine this with an interactive ibook and you’ve really got something that will catch fire for other applications. 

    It would be amazing if a student could piecemeal their college education together and receive a degree by choosing accredited professors from across the globe that have expertise most applicable to what they want to do AND use the professor’s custom created interactive textbook for their course. 

    That’s the real deal. Boom.

  • http://www.survivingorthrivingnow.com/ TanyaMonteiro

    the seed has popped out of the soil. Such great news! Looking forward to the journeys shared