Archive for November, 2010

Compass Round-Up

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It’s been four days since we all left the beautiful Compass Workshop room and came back to our individual offices.

And it’s taken me four days to get my head and heart around what really happened at the Compass Workshop, to process the entire weekend and find my own gems.

After spending Friday through Sunday with a group of self-employed small business owners, I’m more convinced than ever of a few truths:

  1. It’s hugely valuable to take time away from your home and office to deeply focus on your business. Our lives are so busy that we often get only fragments of time to think big thoughts about our businesses. You have got to carve out an entire day or an entire weekend so you can really focus.
  2. Amazing things can happen when you surround yourself with a group of like-minded self-employed people who brainstorm with you, help you solve problems and generate new ideas. This support is immeasurable and the results are astounding. When ideas and problems are circling, circling, circling inside your head – STOP trying to do it alone. The very act of describing your problem or verbalizing your dream to other people helps to create significant clarity. The masterminding and brainstorming springboard ideas one on top of another, giving you two things: choices and hope.
  3. It’s necessary to have a tool that allows you to get everything out of your head and onto paper. I created the Compass Blueprint as such a focusing tool and all the participants remarked how seeing problems, solutions, ideas and areas for exploration right in front of their eyes was a opportunity for immense clarity. I don’t care if you use mind maps, lists, journals, vision boards, or whatever works for you. Do what you must to get it out of your head and on to paper.
  4. Environment matters. At the Compass Workshop we were surrounded by a stunningly beautiful room with wooden floors and ceiling, huge windows and natural daylight. We were also surrounded by the loving staff at Pendle Hill, a peaceful 24-acre Quaker center for contemplation. At the beginning of the Compass Workshop, Pendle Hill staff introduced us to the facility and said, “We know you are here to do important and meaningful work. Let us take care of you this weekend. Let us take care of the food and the rooms. Let us hold you in the light, so you can do what you came to do.” Let’s face it: this workshop would have never been the same if it had been held at a Hilton or a Sheraton hotel. Choose your environments wisely, both your retreat environments and your everyday office environment.
  5. People are everything. We had an extraordinary group of self-employed small business owners at the Compass Workshop this past weekend. Their willingness to explore, to be vulnerable, and to share deeply with each other was awe-inspiring to witness.
  6. And finally, patience and preparation pay off. I’ve been working on the design for the Compass Workshop for nearly a year, reading 45 books, hundreds of articles and ebooks, and watching videos. Many a time, in my impatience, I wanted to “just get it finished.” But I trusted my mind and my intuition to know when the class design was truly complete. When it came to delivering the Compass content this weekend, it was effortless. Surprisingly, I wasn’t exhausted – even teaching for two days straight, and sitting around the fireplace each night for several more hours talking about business and life. Looking back, the only reason I can see for why I wasn’t utterly exhausted was because I felt completely prepared and I knew deep inside myself that I had created a great program. Don’t rush yourself in order to “get it done.” Trust your inner compass to tell you when you’re truly finished with a plan or a project.

So, that’s my experience of the Compass Workshop as the teacher and creator of it. Throughout the weekend, participants mirrored these observations about community, environment, brainstorming, and the need to get away from everyday life so we can think and dream.

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Category: Rethinking Your Business