Late last night, I returned from the Conscious Life Workshop hosted by Steve Pavlina in Las Vegas.
I have read Steve's blog on and off since I was 16. He began doing workshops several years ago (I can't recall how many), and I always wanted to attend one. But it was never the right time. Ah, as a teenager, had I the money? Had I the circumstances to take advantage of such a workshop?
This time, the universe aligned. I had the money to afford it, and the airline miles for the free plane flight. I had the time, and I had taken the leap, having left my job at OU Economic Development on August 1st. To give you a reference point, one of Steve's most famous articles is 10 reasons you should never get a job. The topic of the workshop was balancing your ideal lifestyle with creating $10,000 in monthly income, a very relevant topic as I find myself CEO of a 4 month old startup with $0 in revenue.
And it was a fantastic experience!
It was very oriented around doing specific exercises and brainstormings to identify your ideal lifestyle, redefine your relationship with money, and hone in on strategies to generate income in a fulfilling way. I already had my "leap of faith" after leaving my job at the beginning of the month, for many of the others at the workshop (there were 125 of us) it was an impetus to take the leap. One attendee from Germany emailed his boss during the lunch break on the second day to let him know that he was quitting.
The big takeaway from the workshop, around which everything else was organized, was that creating your ideal lifestyle should be the top priority. That is the biggest component of personal happiness. Once you have your ideal lifestyle, you can design your income streams and work around that. I think it's a smart idea. If you put off pursuing happiness in favor of accumulating dross or shackling yourself to your career, then chances are you'll never make the time to pursue your ideal lifestyle. There will always be one more promotion, another million to squirrel away, etc. Steve's point was that those that prioritize creating their ideal lifestyle, tend to succeed at balancing their work and income.
I think it's a powerful way to frame your life. Ask any creative type, and they'll tell you that identifying your constraints early on does not hinder but rather aids problem solving. By knowing what you need to work around, it grounds the problem- in this case, how can I make money!- and gives you a starting point. This is the same reason that a good pattern language is such a powerful tool, because you're pre-making a large swath of decisions based on essential top-down principles and allowing your creativity to shine in the implementation of those decisions.
I created the following one-pager to synthesize my biggest takeaways from the workshop. I'm afraid it lacks the illustrative details and anecdotes that bring the points to life, but I hope that you'll find it useful anyway!
In the meantime, I'll be busy honing in on what I think is my ideal lifestyle. I feel like I am at a crossroads, an intersection of oh-so-many enticing paths and trails leading to who-knows-what kind of adventures, treasures, and trouble. What an exciting time of possibility, of exploration and reinvention!
Thanks to all my new friends from the workshop- Dan, Emilio, Ben, Colin, Rohit, Carlos, China, and all the rest!
Oh, and because you asked, here's a video of the giant, flame-spewing praying mantis in Downtown Las Vegas. It's right in front of Container Park- a cool symptom of the area's recent economic revival.
Until next time,
Dillon Dakota Carroll
...sees much and knows much