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So, this is what I have been talking about. This is what I’ve been exploring for all these months, and trying to figure out for myself. This is the big picture for me. When I’ve been talking about Junto, it’s not the platform I’m really talking about – it’s the conversation. Having the conversation is what matters. Below is what the conversation looks like.

Part I

Here is where we started. Unfortunately my video camera decided to just stop functioning at the outset, so all you hear is my voice. Which maybe is kind of cool in itself, metaphorically. The person with whom I’m speaking, @jazzmann91, is someone who has been reading this blog for a while, and we interact on Twitter as well. He said something to me last night in a tweet, and I suggested we take it to the next level and have a conversation. Unfortunately junto.cc was being buggy with the audio, so we took it to Skype and I recorded it with Jing, and then uploaded it to YouTube.

So this is the Twitter conversation that led to this live conversation:

@venessamiemis: salvation is hot.

@jazzmann91: .@VenessaMiemis LOL… is it? salvation is subjugation to a power more responsible than you.

@venessamiemis: @jazzmann91 not when you realize you are your own savior.

@jazzmann91: @VenessaMiemis true, but doesn’t the word salvation imply an other. Also, what are you saving yourself from?

@venessamiemis: no other. save from fear. RT @jazzmann91 true, but doesn’t the word salvation imply an other. Also, what are you saving yourself from?

@jazzmann91: @VenessaMiemis excellent. I’m with you. What’s your biggest fear? Mine is success. I seem to avoid it like the plague. 😦

@venessamiemis: mine: http://bit.ly/pDmYg RT @jazzmann91 I’m with you. What’s your biggest fear? Mine is success. I seem to avoid it like the plague. 😦

@venessamiemis: @jazzmann91 i’d love to get in a room with you for a few hours and share worldviews.

So he agreed!

Part 1

And here’s part one. As an entry point to the conversation, I referenced a comment he had left on my blog that I found very hurtful, and I wanted him to explain what he meant when he said it. Here is the comment he made, and if you scroll down you can read my initial response.

So basically, we start by clarifying ourselves and finding shared understanding, and creating an environment where we agree that it is acceptable to just be upfront and honest with each other. And it turns out, there was just a misunderstanding, and there was no need for me to have been hurt or angry. Instead, I could have just said, “Can you explain what you mean by that?”

Lesson: Communication is our biggest challenge.

Then we said, well, being open and honest makes sense. But it’s scary, because being open means being vulnerable to be hurt, and we run from pain and fear. BUT. Maybe there comes a point where you just have to say to yourself, the hell with it. I’m going to be real, I’m going to be me, and live from my own value system, and I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. And to not just say “I don’t care what you think” in a mean, defiant kind of way. And not in an apathetic way either. But really just knowing that you are who you are, and that that is enough. (click to watch)

Part 2

Here we talked about worldviews, and that we are all different, and there is nothing wrong with that. That each of us can choose how to live our lives, and no one is right or wrong. We each need to find our own inner compass, to figure out what drives us, what motivates us, what excites us, and just do it. I mentioned Seth Godin, who is packaged as a “marketing guru,” but he’s just a guy who understands that people are inspired when they find their own path. Seth is like a beacon of light. If you’re unaware of his blog, it’s worth checking out. He is consistent. He writes a short post every day that just makes you go “huh.” The only book I’ve read by him is his most recent, Linchpin. Highly inspirational to me. You can also follow via Twitter – , though he doesn’t interact, just posts.

So then we said, so ok, if all that matters is your own personal awareness, what do you then do with that? And the answer is not to then force your worldview on someone else, it’s just to be a model for what you’re talking about.

Lesson: Live your truth. Be the change you want to see.

Part 3

Here we just expanded on this theme of how to live the thing you’re talking about. (p.s. i’m well aware that i say “like”, “you know what i mean?”, and “you know?” A LOT and that i speak very fast. i am working on those things.) We talked about being a good neighbor, and how to reach out to people. We talked about isolation and fear and connection, and taking that leap.

Lesson: Making an effort to reach out and really KNOW other people is challenging and scary, but worth it.

Part 4

Here we talked more about isolation and how to ask for help. We talked about how everyone is on a path, but some people are confused and so they do things that are hurtful. In my passion, I said that some people are “vile” and “subhuman,” which was wrong to say, and I got called on it. And I apologized. And I didn’t mean to say it like that, I was just trying to say that the range of human behavior is broad, but in the end, we’re all still people. I realize that this is part of our issue as humans, that we label each other, and that divides us. Incidentally, I later refer to my husband, and even that title is starting to annoy me. So what’s a “husband”? What exactly does that mean? What imposed rules do I now need to follow in order to interact with him in the “right” way? So, I’m not even going to say that anymore. It’s going to be something like ‘significant other’ or ‘life partner.’ Then I mention again about the importance of creating an environment that can act as a judgement-free zone between people.

Lesson: We’re all in this together.

Part 5

This part was about listening, and the idea that we all have a voice, and often, we are all shouting at each other, but not listening. We talked about the web, and how it allows us to express ourselves and meet like minded people, and have “The Conversation.” And that’s great. But there is so much repetition in the questions, and we keep packaging it and selling it to each other. Why do we do this?

Lesson: When conversations get commodified, we are lost.

Part 6

So where does the conversation go? What exactly is it we’re talking about? What are we going to DO? What are we doing as people?

Part 7

So now with the web, we can be the media. We can show. Show that change doesn’t have to be scary, that you can take action and get things done, connect with others, and make a positive difference in the world. If you want to. And that is leadership. We can be leaders.

Lesson: Leadership is not control. It’s empowerment.

Part 8

We have a choice of how to live in the craziness. When you put yourself out there, and just BE your authentic self, and do things for others selflessly, without expecting anything in return, it is like magic. There is a wonder to it. We are so suspicious of each other and distrustful because we have been hurt and lied to SO MANY TIMES, that it takes A LOT to even consider the idea that it’s possible that there is still good in the world.

We also feel the need to be able to pin everything down and describe it, and pull it apart into pieces. (i.e. Reductionism)  But what if this is not the only way to look at the world? Can we adopt multiple views? Can we also embrace Holism?  Can it be nondualistic?  Can we get away from binary thinking , as if everything has to be either this or that? (I’m using all these words, but they are just referential and contextual. They’re labels and concepts. It’s not even about those words. Call it whatever you want to call it so it makes sense for you.)

What if we can adopt a “both, and” type of mentality? Can we transcend the need to be right all the time, and instead embrace the capacity to see things from many different angles? Is it not intelligent behavior to be able to see things clearly through more than one lens?

Part 9

How do you take the conversation to the next level, i.e. action. The example I reference is charity:water.  It is the most interesting framework I have seen so far on how to launch a campaign and actually get stuff done in a networked world. If you look at their site, they SHOW you what they are doing, and how you can help if you’re interested. I think they have really figured out how to use the web to get people excited and get people involved. They have so many videos you can watch of what they are doing, so it’s not like donating to an organization where you’re not really quite sure where your money went and if it even made a difference. They give you so many different options of how to help, depending on the level of involvement you want to have. It’s all transparently right there. And of course it’s not the only thing going on in the world that’s working. There is tons of stuff. All I was trying to say is that it’s an example of where the web fits in, and how to “package” it in a way that is easy to comprehend and support.

Now, whatever your personal initiative is, you can use the web to really make it accessible to others who care, and the people who care will seek you and find you. It’s the whole “If you build it, he will come” thing.  Seriously. It’s not just a metaphor. If you put it out there, with intention and clarity, the people you need in order to make it happen will come to you. I mean, look at this blog. Why are you here? Why are you reading it? How did you find it? I don’t advertise here. There’s no banners. I write a post, I share it with my friends on Facebook and put it on Twitter, and that’s it. All that I have is the message. Apparently you like the message too, because you are here.

Part 10

And here’s the last part of the conversation, and then the connection got dropped. Which is kind of funny, but it’s just like a “to be continued….” type thing. The conversation never really ends, because our questions never end, and our desire to connect never ends. It’s just an ongoing process, all the time.

The part we were talking about in between the recording was about Square, and my view about why this kind of thing is so important, and why mobile is going to be HUGE. I mean, it’s already huge, but not everyone sees it yet. And then we pretty much came full circle to the idea of the open source solution on the web that is needed at this point. This is the “next big thing.” It’s just a place where we can engage in the global conversation, put ourselves out there, reach out for help, and receive it. Boom. Like magic. 🙂