Monthly Archives: January 2014

Hive.org – Creating an Extraordinary Life – Day 3

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Today was all about how to create an extraordinary life at Hive.  I’m calling it day three, but it’s actually the official 2nd day of content out of the 3 day training course.   It was another amazing day of great people, presentations, discussions, reflection, massages, food & san francisco views.

It started off, like each day, with an amazing breakfast at the change.org office.  Following breakfast, we had an incredibly fun yoga session, lead by a local instructor.  We practiced yoga individually and together as a team.  Doing yoga poses as a group was the funnest part for me.  For instance, we did a group chair pose with 30+ people all relying on each other to make it work.  It was just a really fun and challenging thing to do together as a team.  Ok, it wasn’t that hard, but some people almost fell over a few times.  We did that and many other group poses.

Today, the Hive team offered something new for everyone.  They put together a whiteboard which would allow people to sign up for 20 minute massages throughout the day, offered by Message Pointe, a local massage therapy company.  As much as I wanted to sign up and receive a massage at some point, everyone else was super excited about it, so I didn’t sign up for any spots so everyone else could instead.

The discussion topics for today were:

  • Creating an Authentic Purpose
  • Designing Your Life Plan
  • Life Plan Feedback and Mentoring
  • Impactful Public Speaking & Confidence
  • Becoming Unreasonable
  • Creating a Personal Financial Plan
  • Holistic Mindfulness & Health
  • Connecting With World Class Mentors
  • Peer Group Discussion

My and everyone else’s’ favorite session, was the Holistic Mindfulness & Health training, lead by Rich Fernandez from Search Inside Yourself.   Why did everyone love it?  I think it’s because Rich did an outstanding job showing technically how the brain reacts to certain situations.  Then with the group, doing meditation practices that’ll acutally help you to be mindful and think about how to react to those situations intelligently, instead of acting out with our primitive flight or fight responses.

I’ve had conversations about the amygdala before with my best friend, Cam Boehmer.  The amygdala is the actual physical, primitive part of our brain that developed first for human survival, it’s the part of the brain which signals the flight or fight responses.   Cam previously worked at Google previously and attended these mindfulness sessions, I believe by the same person.  He received a lot of value of of them.  Cam would always rave to me about the newest findings and tell me about how the primitive brain works.  But during this session was the first time I really heard it from the best speakers about it, and I finally got it.  It was incredible to learn directly from Rich and try mediation practices that’d help you to be mindful of the amygdala and how to control it.

We practiced two different types of meditation.  One was where you’d focus on your breathing and try to have a clear mind. The normal type, from my limited knowledge of meditation.  The second type was where you focus on everything external, listening, feelings, smells, sensations and everything else around you.   I enjoyed doing both of these because you could then switch between the two occasionally.  This was  a great way for me to keep my mind clear, because I didn’t always have to do it the full time.  I could better have a clear mind after I let my mind wander a bit, focusing on everything external to me for a while.

Before leaving to lunch, we really got into the core purpose of the day.  The purpose of the day was to start helping us design our life purpose & plans, which we’d work on for the day and following day.

Hive believes in order to be an effective leader, you need to be able to simply & clearly articulate your life’s purpose.

Now, some say, and I’ve read in a book lately that disagrees with the idea of having a life’s purpose.  Some argue that sometimes life is just about exploring, and that you don’t have to stress yourself out if you don’t know your purpose yet.  You may or may not find it.  They say if something comes up you can go for it, but that you shouldn’t feel obligated and bad if you haven’t figured out your life purpose yet.  But they don’t really emphasize on ever getting to finding it either.  Now Ryan, in his presentations talks about the fact that there are periods in your time where it could be good to be exploring, without having a life purpose, but, eventually and hopefully that not after too much time, you should figure out what it is that you really want to do with in life.

I am inclined to agree with Ryan and Hive’s major emphasis of how important it is to have a life purpose.    People’s life purposes, or I’ll also call missions, don’t always have to be all the way defined at first if you’re just starting out. But a general direction, or even just the simple idea of you want to roughly do in life, whether it be “helping people” or “becoming an entrepreneur” even by itself can create a huge difference in your life.

I speak from personal experience about this.  The only reason I’ve been able to live my life, and do some things, which I think are pretty amazing; traveling around the world for a year, building a company remotely, selling a company, helping people become entrepreneurs, becoming a pilot, having an awesome relationship & much more, is because I was fortunate enough to have the simplest of idea of just wanting to be an entrepreneur when I was growing up that’s now allowed me to do all of this.

Having that one simple mission, or in my case a desire to own my own business, even before I knew what the world entrepreneur meant, has made all of the difference in how my life’s turned out.  Having this simple idea in my head of starting a business is the reason that I was able to drop out of college without being scared was because I knew what it was I wanted, it didn’t require a college eduction.  So many of my friends and colleagues never figured out what they wanted to do in life.   Even after college they are still not sure.  Unfortunately, the reality is, without having some kind of life purpose, they never really make any meaningful change in their life.  It’s only until they do, they’ll really start making significant process.  It is incredibly useful in your life, to figure out, how you want to spend your life living.   Now, I’m not saying everyone has to have it figured out right away, but my gosh, my life has been made so much simpler knowing the simple fact of me wanting to be an entrepreneur, that ever since the age of 14, I’ve been able to work towards that goal and now be where I am today.  Without that idea, I would have never done what I’ve done. I would just be a ship floating around the ocean with no sail, no direction of where I’d want to end up.

What was also so great about the simple concept of wanting to be an entrepreneur, my single purpose at that time, that I only realized until lately, is that it was so broad that it allowed me time to figure out the specifics of how I would use entrepreneurship in my life’s purpose.  I didn’t know that I wanted to be a technology entrepreneur that’d be focused on helping small businesses acquire customers online & showing businesses how they can make a difference in the world.  All of that came later.  I was fortunate enough to have such a broad concept of my purpose, just being an entrepreneur, it was so flexible and opened ended I found out a way to make it work.   With the concept of just being an entrepreneur, you can do so many things.  It’s almost impossible not to find a way to be happy being an entrepreneur because there are so many ways to do it.  But over time, you’ll figure out what type of entrepreneur you really want to be, and that’s what the difference between now and when I was in middle school was.

So for me, I believe having that simple idea was the only way that I would ever be in this position today.  Otherwise, I would not know what I wanted to do.  So I think for everyone, the earlier the better, if you can figure out what you want to do, you’ll be able to start earlier and go for it.  Even if it’s the wrong purpose, you can always change it.  Just start making progress on something you believe your passionate about, if you find out you’re not passionate about it, you just have to change your direction.  But at least you gave it a shot, you’ll eventually find out all of the things you don’t want to do to find, and only be left with things that you enjoy doing.

So if you don’t currently have a life’s purpose. Your purpose can start broad, maybe it’s you just love movies, or you find the ideas of entrepreneurship, writing, helping people, sharing, speaking, entertainment, energy, technology, games,health, spiritual, food, engineering, space or anything else interesting to you.  Find some broad sector or category that you could be interested in.  Those simple ideas, once you start working in then, you’ll eventually figure out exactly what it is specifically in those broad topics that you want to focus the rest of your life one. Eventually, you’ll figure out what your purpose in life is.

For instance, your interest could be in food, and leave it as general as that.  Maybe then you’ll end up creating a catering company that bring awareness to businesses of the types of sustainable foods they should be eating, and why it’s important to the health of their employees.   A simple interest in space, could have you reading websites all day about space and eventually landing you a job at nasa or a company like spaceX.   For me, a general interest in wanting to be an entrepreneur, has now lead me want to be a technology entrepreneur who helps business create a more joyous, abundant and sustainable world.

So at Hive, they recommended you to try and come up with a 15 word sentence.  A sentence that describes what your life’s purpose is.  It’s supposed to contain, what you want to do and a method of acutally measuring it, if your mission was successful.  For instance, instead of your purpose to preventing global warming, your purpose could be better defined as preventing the earth from going above a specific temperature.

On the last day, everyone would share their life’s purposes.  Creating these purpose statements was difficult, it seemed most people found this task difficult.  I think most people have the difficulty of trying to make their purpose too specific but then, not too broad.  I shared a similar challenge.  To give us some time to reflection on our life’s purpose, we went and took a field trip to Bernard Heights.

There we reflected by ourselves and tried our best to write in our notebooks, what the purpose of our life could be.   We wouldn’t have fully polished purpose statements yet.  Today was just the practice, on the last day, all of the leaders from our group (everyone is considered a leader), would share their life’s purpose with everyone else.

After writing in our notebooks and reflecting, we had an amazing lunch on the hill.  We’ve had great food, every meal.   Hive’s done a great job feeding us.  After eating, we took a fun group photo, shown here. I’m on the left.

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After lunch, Hive brought in some mentors to work with our groups (we split into groups of 3-6 people always) and help members in our group better define their life’s purpose.  Moving towards the end of the day, Ryan lead a discussion on how to be financially free in life. While I think initially at first, some people challenged the idea of why you’d want to potentially be a millionaire, because they want to be selfless leaders and share everything.   They question why they should want to have a million dollars or net worth.  I think eventually who needed to hear it, got his point about doing it to be able to take care of yourself, so then you can take care of other people.

While of course, myself, being an entrepreneur, I completely agree with importance of mastering money, so you can use it to assist you in your life’s purpose. While your goal may not be to acquire wealth in life, you should be aware that finances are very important part of life, it’s energy you need to pursue your mission.  If you want to affect change in the world, you need to know how to invest & save your money, so you’ll have the financial resources to take care of your family, take risks and pursue your life’s passion at the same time.  If you don’t have your financial plan figured out, you’ll never be able to have the time, resources and energy to do what the world needs you to be doing. It’s extremely important.

To end the amazing day, the entire group traveled to Treasure Island.  Hive put together an outstanding dinner at one of the old converted military buildings there.  While I’ve been to Treasure Island many times, I’ve never ate dinner there, so it was even a new experience for me that I throughly enjoyed.  The team at Hive has done an incredible job showing the class some amazing views of our city, San Francisco.  Dinner would close at 10, and after that, I needed to go to sleep.  I went to bed at 2am, and I’d have to wake up at 6:30am to prepare for the 3rd and final training day.

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Hive.org – Understanding Our World – Day 2

It was another amazing day.  Today, was the first, of our 3 day training for Hive.  The first day was really just a fun networking event, but now we’ve started the core of the training.   The training took place at the change.org office in San Francisco.

This is a list of all of today’s curriculum:

Day 1: Understanding Our World

  • Species-level Philosophy (John Rawls & The Original Position)
  • Global Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Human Progress Measurement
  • How to Create a Sustainable & Abundant World
  • Systems Thinking
  • The Future of Science & Technology (Clean Energy, Nanotech, Genomics, Neuroscience, MedTech, NUI, Mobile, Big Data)
  • Understanding Exponential Technologies (Taught by Singularity University)
  • Using Business for Scalable & Sustainable Change
  • Philanthropy & Impact Investing
  • Peer Group Discussion

The key points I personally took away were:

  • Species-level Philosophy – How to feel empathic for & think in terms of what’s good for not just yourself, your family,  community,  nation, gender, humanity, but all species, everyone, everything in the world and even outside of our world.
  • Future of Science & Technology and our everything is exponentially growing – One of the things I didn’t realize, or at least think of this way.  Is that I’m familiar with 3d printing. But I never realized 3d printing is now a method of people of sending, digitally, physical products to other people. For instance, you could buy a “clock” from someone online, and then print it out in your home.   It almost feels like transportation of physical goods, but it’s just re-printing structures and I never thought of it in that way.
  • Using Business for Scalable & Sustainable ChangeI’ve already started talking about this concept of creating businesses that serve huge purposes that affect positive change in this world.  But it was great to re-affirm it and see more examples of how it’s being done.
  • Integrity discussions & presentations – While I’m unable to share my exact experiences on this blog because it’s so personal, it was great to dive deep into learning & discussions about an individuals integrity and how little everything can affect everything.  While I already know, and most people know that integrity is important, it’s acutally a huge challenge and opportunity to really have full integrity.  It’s more than just being a good person, it’s also about being committed and following through, doing everything you said you’d do, whether they were for to yourself or expectations you’ve set with other people.

All of the food was being catered by one of our class members, Rebecca Jean Alonzi who runs a catering company.  All of the food was amazing.  Lunch was served at the change.org office.  For dinner, after arriving on a crazy hive.org bus with loud dance music.  We all went to an art gallery, networked and ate dinner together.

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Hive.org – Becoming a purpose driven leader – Day 1

I just got back from my 7 month trip in latin america, i will write about it more.  We’ll later go to asia for another 5-6+ months soon.  But before we go we stopped back in san francisco and I was lucky enough to arrive the day before the Hive leadership training, which started today and I’m going to share with you now. 

I recently applied to, and was accepted into the first hive.org leadership class.  Hive is a leadership organization that trains and connects extraordinary leaders between the ages of 21 and 39.    It was started by my friend, Ryan Allis and Adam Pumm, whom I just recently met. Both amazing people.

In addition to the amazing organization’s volunteer group, there are some outstanding individuals in our class from 16 countries, ranging from a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, to a co-founder of a multi-million dollar business focused on social impact, to a Rwandan genocide survivor who is now a touring public speaker and many more. 

I joined Hive because I wanted to lead a more purpose-driven life.  I want to be more than just an entrepreneur who creates businesses. I want to become a missionary entrepreneur who will create a sustainable & long-living organization that’ll positively change the world, and teach other entrepreneurs how to do the same.

Today was the first event, a dinner at the “starship,” basically the headquarters of both Connect.com, Ryan’s startup and the Hive organization.   We were able to network and meet many of the 30+ individuals that were accepted into the group.   I’ve never networked with so many social entrepreneurship & non-for-profit leaders.  It’s been incredibly interesting to meet & learn from these people who have a huge passion for helping the world.  It’s much different than our normal networking events at various difference entrepreneurship or internet conferences where people are always just talking about money and building “successful” companies.

While it’s great to learn from the rest of the group, on how others are making a difference in the world.  I see a need, and I’m excited to share my knowledge with them, on how to make the financial aspects of their organization grow so they can fulfill their purposes in life.   The intersection between wanting to help, and being able to help people while knowing how to drive a financial vehicle that’ll fulfill that mission, is really, where I believe, all of the magic lies in.  I’m excited to bridge that gap with some of the people here.

For me, it’s learning how to have a better purpose that helps others.  For them, it’s how to become better at driving the entrepreneurial vehicle that’ll allow them the financial independence and capital to see their mission succeed.

At the dinner, we split up into groups of 6.  We shared out stories, what we wanted to get out of our life and the event and learned a lot about each other.  In our group was;

Lauren Burke, an outstanding leader who helps developing immigrant youth, human trafficking rights and much more.   She wants to change the world by having every human to be recognized of equal worth, despite birthplace and nationality.

Jessica Steffens, a 2 time USA Olympian with a silver and gold medal in water polo who wants to change the world by inspiring active, healthy lifestyles that both appreciate and improve the world.

Peter Bonanno, who works in social enterprises and is helping bring enlightenment to schools.  He wants to change the world by giving everyone a greater well-being, sanity, peace and happiness.

and Nadia Anggraini, an Indonesian native who works in an organization who funds social enterprises and wants to change the world by using business to alleviate poverty in Indonesia & Southeast Asia.

Last by not least, Yasi Baiani, our fearless group leader who is a volunteer at Hive. She’s from Iran originally, and wants to help people in the middle east reach their full potential like she was able to do.

I have yet to really meet everyone else in our class, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.  The dinner was just to kick things off.  The next 3 days will be all day training, I’m excited to see what the hive team puts together next.

PS:  If you’re interested in checking out Hive, they’ll have their next Global Leaders Program during March 21-24, and CEO program from Feb 21-24.  You can learn more about it by going to their website, hive.org.

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