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.
- Treat people as human beings first.
- We aspire to be a great company to work for and work with as well.
- We aspire to bring heart and soul to uncharted territories.
- “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
- “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
- Life is better shared with others.
- We aspire to find ways to make it easier, more helpful, and more fun for people to share life together.
- We aspire to build awesome collaborative communities that change lives.
- “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
- “The gift of giving to the Other is the most powerful salve for closing that hole in your heart.” – Jerry Colonna
- “Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection — it deprives one of the relatedness that is the lifeline of every living being.” – Parker Palmer
- “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
- Follow fun and aliveness.
- We aspire to help people esteem and pursue that which they find fun and brings aliveness.
- We aspire to remind people that loving oneself is often the best way to love others.
- “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
- “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
- “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
- “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
- Dare to be open and honest in a safe place.
- We aspire to build a safe place that encourages people to deal openly with the challenges of life.
- “And I watched as this first time CEO manifested not only Connect-Think-Do but the even more powerful Connect-Think-Lead.” – Jerry Colonna
- “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
- “Pain held in is pain. Pain let out is dance.” – Mark Nepo
- “A second shadow inside many of us it the belief that the universe is a battleground, hostile to human interests.” – Parker Palmer
- Expect and embrace mistakes.
- We aspire to build an environment where people have freedom to make mistakes.
- We aspire to treat people that make mistakes with grace and love.
- “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
- “Lives dominated by impossible ideals — perfect happiness, eternal love — are lives experienced as continuous failure.” – Adam Phillips
- “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
- Be not afraid or at least admit it when you are.
- We aspire to not let fear hinder us from pursuing our dreams.
- We aspire to recognize that fear is not a monster but a recurring friend to be embraced.
- “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
- “I must not fear… Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration… I will face my fear…” – Bene Gesserit
- Be present, wherever you are, and savor the journey.
- We aspire to help people stop and embrace wherever and whoever they are.
- We aspire to help people appreciate every moment on the journey to their dreams.
- “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
- “Stand still… The hard part is bearing the stage of “No action” necessary so that the right amount of data can unfold.” – Jerry Colonna
- “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
- See life as a whole.
- We aspire to help people nurture a holistic approach to life: professional, physical, and personal.
- “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
- “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