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Know these folk, they make life good

December 4, 2010

Days like today make me thankful to be a human being.

I led my second Coffee this morning, the new service I rolled out a few weeks ago in response to the myriad of “Can we grab coffee?” requests I get, usually from people who want to talk “how to make a living doing what you love” shop.  Three coffeemates met me at 11am at Bean ‘n Bagels in Lincoln Square.  One wants to start a life-coach side business, one wants to explore staying within her field but tweaking it to better align with her interests, and one is quitting her job and giving up her apartment in the next few weeks to do who knows what!  I think she put it – “To do something that doesn’t suck my soul.”  We had a lively, supportive sixty-minute discussion that was a nice balance of talk about yourself, ask questions about others, share ideas, get motivated.  As happens with all my ventures, this arm of the business was an accident, as I just do what I love to do, in this case hang out in coffeehouses, facilitate new connections, and converse with passionate people, and surprisingly, people not only want to come along for the ride, but are willing to pay for the ride.  One of the coffeemates commented, “This is exactly what I needed.  So invigorating and motivating.”  Heartwarming, and a motivator to keep plugging along as health insurance rates rise and paying for heat in a converted toy-factory sucks and friends talk about this Caribbean vacation or that Master’s degree.

At 3PM, I headed to Leitza’s Bakery in Bucktown for my first LearnIt.  It’s part of this awesome site called CommuniTeach, where you teach a skill or learn a skill from people in your community, for free.  Skill can range from cooking to yoga to photography to Spanish to magic.  How to do Good in Chicago was the topic this afternoon.  There was the facilitator, Sarah, who is also the founder, and six “students.”  It was informal and informative, low-key and comfortable.  Everyone came solo.  A great way to meet people.  A great way to share knowledge.  I’m considering being a LearnIt teacher, though I’m not sure how many sign-ups I’d get for Boxed Wine, Bacon-Wrapped Anything, and Board Games.  The only “issue,” which I’m running into in Minglers and Coffees as well, is being someone who can, in a non-bitchy way, keep people from monopolizing conversation.  It’s definitely a skill, as is being self-aware enough to realize when it’s someone else’s turn to talk.  Unfortunately/fortunately, I had to leave early because of my next engagement, an interview for one of the coolest projects I’ve come across recently.


Tony, Melissa, and AJ are driving across the country – 45 cities, 65 days, 55 stories – for their Rise of the Cubicle Farmer endeavor.  Described as “an epic journey to discover the changing landscape of work,” their primary goal is to “tell inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who walked away from conventional lives and started using technology to share their art with the world.  We are hoping to educate and empower aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to follow their lead.  To show them that the tools are out there, they just have to start leveraging them.”  And so that’s how I found myself being interviewed in my freezing [the heat was too loud] dining room.  I’m nervous about the interview as they plan on making it live without much if any editing; I’m used to the security blanket of the delete button.  But they were so fun and easy to chat with, and so excited about how they live their life, that I’m pretty sure their positivity infected me in such a manner that I don’t come across as a total knob.

Definitely check out both Sarah’s project and the Leons’ project[s], some uber-creative people doing some uber-amazing things!

And now I’m on my way to a Latke Party.  What other way could there be to end such a day than with crispy potato patties.

Life is good.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 10:12 AM

    Those are some kind words, Saya!! It was such a pleasure hanging out with you and hearing about how you do the awesome stuff you do. 🙂

  2. December 5, 2010 5:52 PM

    Hi Saya,
    So last year sometime I got on twitter and had a blast figuring out how to use it. Met a lot of people along the way! Attended Social Dev Camp in fall of 2009 and really began to embrace tech, especially as it impacted the nonprofit community. This past year at Social Dev Camp, a new twitter connection reached out to me when he realized we were both there-said let’s find each other and meet f2f. (Stick with me…I really do have a point here!) That person was Brad Manilla! We became FAST friends! During one of our many conversations since then, he told me about his dance experiences with you. Of course I was totally blown away with the idea-and Brad’s extraordinary ability to make the phone book sound like a life altering experience certainly added to the fun of hearing about it!

    This past weekend I was invited to join a get together with AJ, Melissa and Tony, who I had never heard of before. The person they met right before they met you asked me to join in because I live in the social good/nonprofit space and she thought we should meet. When they began to describe their next interview, I knew it had to be you! Small world, eh?

    No real purpose other than to connect, to share the story and say kudos to you! I am in Chicago too, so I am certain at some point our paths will cross in person 🙂

    Heidi Massey

    • December 5, 2010 8:54 PM

      Too funny Heidi! The Leons mentioned this small-worldness to me when they came over, we all got a kick out of it. That’s one of the things I love about Chicago — perks of a living in a major city such as a range of activities, people, and resources, but it also has that small town feel, with everyone seemingly connected to everyone else. And not to mention, so friendly, even to complete strangers!

      I was at SDC too, loved it. Here’s my take –

      Hope we connect f2f at some point. Something tells me that’s pretty likely. Thanks for reaching out! And keep up doing all the good you’re doing!

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