Recently while in NYC, I led a strategy workshop for an exclusive group of CEOs and founders who are building companies designed to thrive in the modern world.
Here, we discuss how to have more authenticity in our sales. Respecting others’ time and double checking that they are still available and willing to speak gives you initial buy in to the conversation.
You are much more likely to have a connection that will result in the long-term outcome you desire if you put the other person’s needs at the forefront. Focus on how you would like to show up for the conversation, because you are more likely to be successful if you sell lovingly than if you sell aggressively. Being present and considerate will amplify what you already do and who you really are.
A few weeks ago in NYC, I led a strategy workshop for an exclusive group of CEOs and founders who are building companies designed to thrive in the Future of Work.
Every organization is tasked with issues that seem insurmountable. Often, the process to accomplishing a huge goal can be so overwhelming that we never get started. Behavior change can help make seemingly impossible goals feel smaller and more attainable.
What we want to accomplish is not going to happen in a single day. Instead, break the large goal down into the smallest steps possible, steps so small that they are almost ridiculously easy. When you succeed at accomplishing that tiny step, you will be encouraged to continue.
This is how we build new habits and behavior changes that eventually create monumental differences in our organizations and lives.
My guest today is the co-founder of the global phenomenon of AcroYoga Jason Neymar (@jasonnemer). I’ve followed Jason’s work for years, having watched the rise of AcroYoga at a distance over the last 10+ years, so it was a pleasure to sit down and talk about physical practice, the healing arts, AcroYoga, and much more.
I’m in awe of the global movement Jason has built, and we dive deep into some of the things he has done – and is doing – to make AcroYoga one of the most friendly and welcoming physical communities I’ve experienced.
I was connected to Jason by his co-founder and my dear friend Jenny Sauer-Klein. If you haven’t, I highly recommend listening to that conversation, as well.
As a physical nerd and athlete, I’ve long looked forward to talking about AcroYoga and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Here is Jason Neymar.
2:30 Finding gymnastics and acro yoga 6:00 Designing AcroYoga to be accessible 10:00 Jason’s physical practice 12:00 Inclusivity and play 16:30 Discipline met with openness 19:00 Gymnastics as a gateway to movement 22:15 Pros and cons of social media and the internet 25:45 Remedies to cyber addiction 27:45 Healing arts of acro yoga 33:15 Emotional cycles in healing 36:30 Touch and gender barriers 41:00 Art and science of acro yoga 43:00 Physical disciplines Jason recommends 45:45 Find AcroYoga: Website Youtube Facebook 48:30 Future of acro yoga 50:30 AcroYoga Fest: Divine Play
If you enjoyed this episode with Jason Neymar, I think you will enjoy my previous podcast episode with AcroYoga co-founder Jenny Sauer-Klein.
Every year, for nearly the last decade, I’ve conducted an annual review.
When writing a personal annual review, my process looks like this:
Going on the week by week view of my 2017 calendar and listing out every single thing that I spent my time doing. Given that most days I usually have 10-20 things on my calendar scheduled per day, this ends up being 4 or 5 handwritten pages. It goes faster than I would expect but usually takes about 2 hours. I list everything from phone calls, trips, and time spent in transit to meals (personal or professional), time at the cafe, time spent meeting vendors, and weekly standing meetings.
I go through and sort all of the items listed by category: business appointments, hours spent writing, hours spent exercising, hours working at the cafe.
Once I’ve organized everything by category, I give it a positive value judgement – a score from 1-10 on how much joy I derived from this activity, and a negative value judgement – a score from negative 1-10 on how much dissatisfaction I got from this activity. Each data point gets two specific numbers.
I mostly pay attention to the high scores of joy and the high scores of dissatisfaction. I circle the 8, 9, 10s of both positive and negative. I’ll list those out by peak experience by the positives like surfing, travel with my family, and time with my girlfriend, and the negatives like raising sponsorship, handling vendors at Robin’s Cafe, and time spent driving.
Next, I take this into action for the new year by grading the quality of my experiences over the year. If there are specific people that fall in the negative 8, 9, or 10 category, I may have to sever ties with them, which can be very challenging. I may email the person outlining the reasons why I am taking steps to set new boundaries in our relationship.
Ex: When I did this reflection in 2016, I noticed that there was a person that I had spent a lot of time with that year who I hadn’t enjoyed the quality of our time spent together. I asked myself – would I rather spend this time with this person or would I rather spend this time alone? To make a change going forward, I stopped calling him up. He invited me to a few things this year, and I declined. It was a pretty easy change.
Ex: Writing – I spent a lot of time writing in 2017. How much satisfaction did I get from the act of that process? Is that something worth repeating in 2018?
Ex: Time spent exercising – I spent significantly less time exercising in 2017 than in 2015 when I studied ballet every day. Is that amount of time per day enough? If the answer is no, I can schedule time to exercise everyday for a few hours in my calendar for 2018 for first few months.
Finally, I write down the 3 – 5 most significant changes or projects that I accomplished for the year (my trip to Morocco, my training in Puerto Rico, the 2nd Annual Responsive Conference, Responsive the book, and my relationship).
Significant Events & Projects in 2017
I’ve written about cultural lessons learned on my trip to Morocco but less so about the importance of time spent with my parents. Growing up, I traveled with my immediate family several weeks per year but have not done so regularly as an adult. For my 30th birthday present, my parents took me on a 5 week trip to Morocco. What is interesting, in retrospect, is that even more than the cultural experience of traveling, was the importance of that time with my family. Taking time as an adult to get to know each of my parents, see myself in them, and be grateful for the quality of time spent has been, and continues to be, life changing.
Puerto Rico training
I spent 4 years in my early 20’s studying deep somatic practice with Anat Baniel and another 4 years studying at the Option Institute. While I no longer participate in either organization, I achieved a level of mastery with the tool sets that each of these organizations teach and continue to practice them to this day. On my first day of my first training with Anat Baniel, I told her that someday I would like to teach this material, and now 10 years later, I have done so only minimally.
The Puerto Rico training, which I co-taught with a friend in June of 2017, was my first public offering to teach and further refine the tool sets that I was fortunate enough to be exposed to and truly changed my life throughout my 20s. I am excited to further teach these tools through a variety of mediums in 2018.
The 1st annual Responsive Conference was a giant unknown as I had never previously curated and directed an event of that magnitude before. The 2nd Annual Responsive Conference was less of an exploration and more of a refinement. My single biggest goal was to form a cohesive organizing team, and in that I succeeded magnificently. Further, I sought to make intentional the curatorial choices I had begun in 2016 including factors like venue, speakers, and working with speakers to present fresh and relevant content. Across the board, the 2nd Annual Responsive Conference was a triumph. We had 225 people from more than 10 countries and with the help of my production team, the event went off pristinely. I am excited in 2018 to further refine and automate the processes that made the 2nd Annual Responsive Conference a success – aka to do less!
Responsive: What It Takes To Create A Thriving Organization
I have never been able to write as other than a very intentional act, and writing had been one of the primary things I avoided throughout most of 2017. Thus, I am thrilled to have actually publishedResponsive: What it Takes to Create a Thriving Organization which is a compilation of three years of interviews and curation on the future of work.
Finally, and by no means least important, I entered into a new relationship midway through the year. I moved in with my girlfriend in December of 2017. This is far and away, the most significant romantic relationship I have ever had, and it’s no coincidence that we have become collaborators on multiple professional, as well as personal, projects. Relationships of all kinds are perhaps one of the three most important aspects in any of our lives, and I couldn’t be any more pleased with this developing romance.
What were your highlights in 2017? Lowlights? What do you want to build on in the year ahead? Let me know in the comments!
I have so many projects that are just a hair’s breath away from flourishing. Mine always seem like pretty big ones – master the cello, learn mandarin, publish a book.
We all have projects that, if completed, could change our income, career or life. Maybe yours seem small: ask that man out on a date, spending five extra minutes joining your autistic child, getting up a few minutes earlier to make a good breakfast. Whatever they are, what prevents you from reaching those goals?
For me, the answer is simple. Just start.
When I move towards those goals, just take a small step, I make significant progress. When I don’t, it is for the simple reason that I haven’t started.
Whatever that project or habit or goal you’ve been wanting to start is, start it! Take the first step – today, this moment. You won’t look back a month from now and regret that you began, even if you discontinue later. Take that first step (at every opportunity) and see where it takes you.
I ushered in the New Year on the social dance floor – until 5am. There is nowhere I would rather have been and no people I would have preferred to be with. 2012 has been the best year of my life, so far. In the last year I’ve formed more close personal relationships that I’ve ever had before, trained myself to a higher level of physical condition (and founded a dance company), been consistently more joyful in my life while doing more. My experience upon waking today was a combination of thrilled and humbled – I am profoundly grateful to be living my life. All this has me thinking about where I’ve been and what’s coming next. To start off, here’s where I was in December 2011 (this from my introductory SF Toastmasters speech)…
Four Things I’ve Learned in 2012:
1. Play to your strengths. Though I’ve had people hinting at and hitting me over the head with this idea for years I’ve just begun to apply this concept in the last few months. The best discussion of these principles I’ve seen is the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. In the simplest form, examine what you are good at and master that. Ignore or delegate the rest.
2. Attitude is Everything and Attitude is a Choice. Earlier this week, as a complete novice I tried 15 types of Ballroom Dance for the first time. You might not believe me but one of biggest fears in 2011 was social dancing! Last month when a little autistic boy adjusted himself and then pressed himself against me, I judged him, quickly got over it, and went on to make amazing progress with him. What I’ve come to see is that I’m in control. I’ve just begun my study of what I call the Attitude That Works. What I’ve learned so far has radically improved my life and I’m thrilled for more. Take aways: Act from love. Be more grateful. Accept yourself and others. Ask questions.
3. Really Good People Matter. I’ve heard it said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In the last year I’ve cultivated many remarkable people and I am continually in awe of each of them. I still think I have to solve some problems myself but more and more I’m relaxing into the recognition that we are in this together. There’s no shame in developing relationships that compliment your own strengths. Be the friend, lover, spouse, family to those you want and they respond.
4. Do the work your love. In the last eight years I’ve built an amazing set of skills to help neuro-challenged kids and improve the performance of high-level athletes. I don’t start work at 9am and finish at 5pm. I never will. I don’t ever stop practicing, and I don’t ever start, because ever moment I live my practice. If you haven’t discovered something you love that will support the lifestyle you want yet, keep looking.
Two Things I’m Going Towards in 2013:
1. Business. I want more. I currently have a lot of projects underway. As my housemate said: “Give 175%. Throw it all against the wall and see what sticks. Prune from there.” I am writing a book, putting on a workshop, running a practice, building an educational product (more on this very soon!), and in my spare time performing dance and studying practical philosophy. This year I want a steady stream of clients in my private practice (an average of 40 lessons each month) and an equal portion of my income from product sales. I want to teach workshops in 2013 and put into practice the public speaking practice I’ve accumulated in 2012.
2. Humility and Gratitude. Over my life I’ve flip-flopped between bouts of depression and thrilled euphoria. Remember that scene in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? with Babyface Nelson?
I have days when I don’t want to get out of bed and other days that I get more done than most people do in a week. This is me. And I am slowly, slowly learning to love myself throughout. At my best I celebrate the highs and apologize when I bump into other people, on and off the dance floor. I am going to continue practicing gratitude, even for my low moments, and humility, even during my highest of highs.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me and here’s to an even better 2013!
This is from one of my favorite commencement addresses – by Steve Jobs at Stanford University. His dissections of his life lend a lot towards all of those – from any generation – struggling to find their next steps.
I mention this now because I’m in a conundrum. Fresh out of college I began studying with a woman brilliant at teaching a way of working with disabled children. I’ve flourished in the four years I’ve been studying and practicing the techniques I’ve learned – both in my own physical endeavors and with the adults and children with whom I’ve worked. And now I’m done. After 4 years and 75,000 hours.
When I left school I didn’t know how my passions for circus and cognition could possibly fit together. Looking at the eclectic combination of teaching, performing, and movement therapy I practice – they have come together after all. Today I don’t know how my current private practice will fit with my the book I’m writing on autism, with my dance performance company, with my interests in marketing, sales, and teaching. How do these pieces fit together?
Watching Job’s discuss his life – a life so celebrated upon his death last year – I’m reminded that I don’t have to know how I’ll connect the dots to know that they will come together. Though I don’t know where my trajectory is heading and am periodically upset and frustrated by that unknown it is fun to look at a similar problem from one else’s perspective to gain a bit of wisdom and insight as I go forward from here.
A question that I sometimes ask myself is what would I do if I knew that I could not fail. I don’t know that I won’t fail this time, or next time. I do know that as long as I enjoy the process each iteration is going to get better. My first book won’t be my last. And my next workshop will be even better than my last. And in the meantime, I’ll keep going!
I would love to hear from you. What are three goals that you would set for yourself if your weren’t afraid to fail? Leave a note in the comments.