So my first leap of faith was going on my friend LauraC's recommendation and what little I could dig up online, and signing up for it anyway. That was the first of many times I was encouraged to put my natural skepticism aside and try something new.
First, let me tell you what it was not:
- A time-management or to-do-list prioritizing scheme
- New age, hippy-dippy, crystals/chakras/healing energy nonsense
- Time consuming (lessons were short and sweet and totally self-paced)
- Forced interaction with strangers (there was a community but you could do it all on your own)
- Supply, tool, or technology-intensive (most lessons were simple reading or audio or journaling)
- A structured set of lessons to help you discover your values and dreams
- A safe, reassuring space/time dedicated to YOU (ie. not kid time, not errands, not work...)
- Tools and skills that you can reuse as your life changes
- Magic juju to get you motivated to make those dreams happen (seriously. weird, I know.)
How it worked:
The lessons arrived via email, usually in the morning. Due to my work and mama schedules, I completed them in the evenings, so it was a nice little treat to look forward to all day. On my busier days, I could skip the lesson and do a few together when time permitted. Everything was also handily archived on their website, in case I misplaced an email. There was also a separate site for class members to interact with each other, if they chose to, and this community lives on after the course session ended.
What I loved about the lessons was their mix of "assignments". Some were just thoughts and stories to read about and absorb. Some were audio interviews with inspiring people. Some were concrete assignments to make lists or write down thoughts about a specific subject. For the free-writing ones, the instructions had a lot of encouragement and prompts to get us started, so I didn't ever feel like it was too hard. The lessons that required the most courage (and abandoning of skepticism) were the "Secret Missions" to reach out to others. I'll write more about one of them later (it ended up being a Not-So-Secret Mission when my friends figured it out.)
There was a definite progression in the lessons, so they eased us into the ideas before asking us to do the really detailed, introspective work. While we were invited to share our insights with others in the class, we were never required (or even cajoled) into doing so, so it was definitely a "safe" space to dream really outrageous things.
My biggest fear was that I'd waste money on something that was super airy-fairy and just not that useful. I'm trained as a scientist. I'm logical and practical. I'm a project manager by trade, so I like lists, schedules and plans. This course satisfied those parts of me as well. The lessons were *useful* and the assignments were concrete and built upon each other. I could see just enough of the roadmap to know we were going somewhere, but was pleasantly surprised as each lesson arrived and taught me something new about myself.
I'm not typically a "joiner" so I didn't participate much in the community with the other students, but I liked that it was there. Others probably got a lot out of interacting with their classmates.
It's now been a few months since the class ended, and I'm still seeing its positive effects. I've signed up for a photography class to improve my skills in documenting the fun things we do as a family. I'm making more time to be crafty. I blog more, and people read what I write. I radically overhauled the way we eat. I'm simplifying our "stuff". I love my job now.
Here's where it gets weird:
The course gave me both the insight into what I really want, *and* the motivation to go after it. The strange thing is that I can't explain why this worked. There's something sort of magical about figuring out your dreams and writing them down as concrete items - I've found that they just start *happening*, through no major effort of my own. I start to believe things might be possible, rather than dismissing them out of hand before they have a chance to form. And that's about as new-agey as I'll get here.
If you're thinking about doing this yourself, I HIGHLY recommend it. There's a new session starting in January, which I think would be the perfect way to start a new year. If you click any of the links here to register, I'll get a small referral bonus which I'm happy to split with you if you email me.
Got questions? Leave a comment. Or if you know me in real life, buy me a coffee and I'll talk your ear off about it.