How to be a node of a social network

Networking by communicating your challenge

Focusing on a specific mission is hard. If you’re not clear about it it’s even harder to communicate it. This is how it went with my presentation to Ozan Varol’s Inner Circle.

Connecting with Smart Strangers

I was invited by Ozan Varol to an online meeting to share my challenges with his Inner Circle Community.

I use to commit myself to slightly embarrassing challenges to push me to get prepared. One of my tricks to learn, better and faster. Another one is to teach what you want to learn. The call was about asking for help with one of your challenges, members from the Inner Circle community would come to brainstorm solutions and give you help.

While the poor Ozan was asking for a simple and straightforward question to ask my kind voluntary good-doers, I started to think about the meaning of life and why the Universe exists.

Don’t you believe me?

This was my original draft: “challenges-to-discuss”.

If we are all on this ride together: Is it worth caring about questions that are not the most important ones?

How can I live a more intentional life?

How can I be financially sustainable while creating something which will outlive me and be remembered as a positive contribution to the progress of society and improvement of life on the Planet?

How can I reach as many people as possible and increase the quality of their lives through education?

How to dance with uncertainty?

How to become an intervener in my reality?

How to provide value and to whom?

How can I engage, being useful, without being boring?

How can I use the opportunity of raising children to improve my worldview, my beliefs, and my values?

Not bad as “informal” and “quick” questions to submit to never met before people, kindly dedicating from 15 to 30 minutes of their time to listen to you…

With infinite diplomacy skills, Ozan made me notice that I would have needed one, two paragraphs, maximum, to introduce my challenge to be discussed.

Pushed to reduce my philosophical worldview to something more manageable I tried to focus on what are the most urgent themes dear to me. And I got this shortened list:

How can I keep the habit of Writing every day.? I Wrote for 140 days, about 200’000 words

How can I Publish every week?

Walking at least 1’000 km per year. How can I sustain my habit?

How can I Make a living as an independent publisher and professional?

Obviously (dear me), this was not short enough. So while meeting with a client, replying to emails and chatting with friends (it was a calm day) I really felt inappropriate to reach meeting time with so ambitious challenges to share.

With a lot of effort and a bit of pain, I’ve tried to focus on the single most important step I wanted to validate among the many in my grand vision.

And finally, it started to make sense.

This is what I finally submitted:

Consider that  I want to become financially independent by publishing, primarily on my blog at https://curatella.com and to grow as a professional who is contributing to raising the collective intelligence through design, education, and facilitation.

If you visit my home page and you read in particular the sentence:

“Hi, I am Max. Here you can learn more about design, writing, facilitation, and teaching.”

Which are linked words, would you hire me as a facilitator?

What can I do to improve my presentation?

But it was too late!

Meeting time arrived and I had to introduce myself, my blog and my challenge by speaking, I scratched almost anything I’ve prepared and I’ve asked the group:

If you read my article at:

Facilitation is the set of structured and collaborative activities organized to discover, understand and learn together. The facilitator helps a group of people and decision-makers to face complex problems, producing a collective intelligence more powerful than each individual could do, alone.
  1. Would you think it is too pushy and sales-y?
  2. Would you hire me as a facilitator?

The feedback gathered

The great patience of the participants allowed me to get precious feedback which was:

  1. I have too many doubts about publishing. I should just write and publish without too much thinking.
  2. Even if I reduced my fields of interest to the four appearing in the Home page, I should either reduce them down to a more focussed one or find a more digestible and clear way to communicate the common thread binding them all.
  3. I should write article drafts and leave them unpublished for some days. Then, with fresh eyes, I should edit those drafts pretending they have been written by somebody else.
  4. I should enjoy more of the process of writing and publishing for the pure sake of it.
  5. Only by publishing a lot of content, I will be able to find my voice and fine-tune my content strategy while understanding better how to relate to my audience.

I really enjoyed this improvised and unprepared collaboration. I got inspiration and motivation to write more and better and I’ve also found a more focussed challenge to face in my writing path: to be more spontaneous and to find a way to present an eclectic and multi-perspective content strategy.

Thanks to: Ozan Varol, Christina, Cathy Cheng and all the other participants of the Inner Circle.

Well, now is your turn: what is your question for me about my writing at https://curatella.com?

1+
Senior Experience Designer. 25 years designing, developing, writing, speaking, facilitating and teaching.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for tagging me in your post, Max! Funny, before I read this, I tagged you in mine, too! 😀 We should both send Ozan a bottle of wine for connecting us. 😉 Everything you write here–

    If we are all on this ride together: Is it worth caring about questions that are not the most important ones?

    How can I live a more intentional life?

    How can I be financially sustainable while creating something which will outlive me and be remembered as a positive contribution to the progress of society and improvement of life on the Planet?

    How can I reach as many people as possible and increase the quality of their lives through education?

    How to dance with uncertainty?

    How to become an intervener in my reality?

    How to provide value and to whom?

    –It’s everything I ask myself! Cannot wait to keep connecting–until then, write on, my new friend!

    –Cathy

    0
  2. Hi Massimo, thanks for sharing this process and its outcome. I think you have made some significant and valuable progress.

    By surfacing your deep-felt questions through Ozan’s kind invitation you have put in motion a precious questioning process that has already produced some very interesting outcomes.

    Specifically:

    1) I have too many doubts about publishing. I should just write and publish without too much thinking.

    ******* Absolutely yes. It is good to have doubts, but unless you come out of where you are now it is going to be difficult the ideal way to make your objectives become gradually reality.

    2) Even if I reduced my fields of interest to the four appearing in the Home page, I should either reduce them down to a more focussed one or find a more digestible and clear way to communicate the common thread binding them all.

    ******* Yes, nothing could be truer. I have learned the hard way that wanting to be too many things to too many people leads nowhere. Restraining, at least in our presenting ourselves, our interest and focus to one specific subject, issue or problem is of great value.

    3) I should write article drafts and leave them unpublished for some days. Then, with fresh eyes, I should edit those drafts pretending they have been written by somebody else.

    *********** Good advice.

    4) I should enjoy more of the process of writing and publishing for the pure sake of it.

    *********** Yes. It will be easier as you choose one specific direction. Direction first, exploration follows.

    5) Only by publishing a lot of content I will be able to find my voice and fine-tune my content strategy while understanding better how to relate to my audience.

    *********** This may be true, but it may also lead you nowhere. I would try to identify 2, max 3 possible well-defined themes and would start writing on them, asking continuously my readers for feedback and comments. Considering you want to make an economically sustainable activity it would be criminal not to list your key interests/topics and see also how much demand/interest there is for each, how are they going to be trending in the future, and how much competition/content exists already for that topic.

    Given your vast expertise and knowledge, I would consider looking in directions that border with the learning/education field. There is a growing demand for new and effective ways of learning and cooperating and your experience in this specific direction may give you starting edge over other competencies you have.

    I wouldn’t see as a waste of time a small exercise. Try to convert all of those topics and issues you have listed as your key interests in questions that people would want to be answered.

    E.g. you listed these topics as some of your key interests in your article: How I write – https://curatella.com/how-i-write/. Specifically:

    Design

    Computer Graphics

    Futurism

    Software Development

    Personal Knowledge Management

    Systems Thinking

    I ask you: can you try to place a specific question for each one of these domains of interest that you would like to be the go-to-person for?

    Example:

    1) Computer Graphics

    Question I would want to satisfy: Which are the best tools and system to use for computer graphics animation in independent low-budget films?

    2) Personal Knowledge Management

    Question I would want to satisfy: How to learn continuously by oneself from the best sources by developing a personal knowledge management system?

    Make a list of these and then rank it.

    Which is the question, that if you had the option to choose only one, would be the one you would want to dedicate the rest of your life to?

    It is a simple exercise that may help you see things from a different angle.
    In the end if you want to help others while growing, you must look at specific issues / problems you may be willing to dedicate yourself to.

    With affection,
    Robin

    0
    1. Dear Robin,
      this is precious gold.
      Detailed, relevant and spot on.
      I am thinking about what your are suggesting since months (years) and it’s refreshing to have confirmations and stimulation.
      I don’t have immediate reaction if not committing to show it by action.
      Thank you.
      Max

      0

Leave a Reply