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Lesson 8 from: Think and Work Strategically

Jason W Womack

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Lesson Info


Let me move now to another exercise that I'm known for and this is one that I've been teaching now for about nine years. I call it the So That exercise. What I like to do is identify that direction we're going to go in or that destination we're moving toward. Again, how I want to point that strategic thinking, is it the process or is it the product, is it the direction or is it the destination? Either way, once I identify and dial that in, I want to ask myself the so that process. Here's what I'd like you to do. There's a lot of you who shared with me before we started today some of the things that you're working on, for those of you watching online today. What I'd like you to do is take one of two areas. You might take your career, and just to kind of throw that open, as a career I've chosen to be an educator. I knew that when I was about nine years old, I think, I was playing school. My brother and sister would come home from school and then we would go right into Jason's school. I w...

as Mr. Jason at the time. I played school from as much as I can remember. I have always been an educator. Or a job. That has changed over the years. As a young kid, I remember I worked in my parent's restaurant out in Lagunitas, California, a little, tiny suburb of this community. I was told by my mom years later that when I was taking orders at 12 years old in this little restaurant, I was teaching the customers what was in the meal that they were about to eat. Then I became a tutor at the city college that I attended. Then I became a high school teacher. Then I started lecturing at universities. Then, then, then. Either way, what I'd like you to do is to pick one, either career or a job, and there on top of your notepad, there in your journal or your whiteboard if you're watching this in a conference room with friends of yours at work today, or in the community today, what I'd like you to do is to write down a strategic goal, a strategic thing, a project, a product, an event, a specific something. For those of you watching online as I've got all the people in the audience here writing something down, recently I did this for a strategic project I have which is to submit a book proposal to my publisher. If you're watching from Wiley, it's coming pretty soon. Now once you've got that, by the way, let me just see a quick show of hands. As soon as I see most people who have stopped writing. Let's do this real quick separation, how many of you chose a career versus a job strategic goal? Let's start with career. Who chose a thing in line with their career? I've got one, two, three, four, five, six. Then the rest of you, who picked the job? That's everybody else. For those of you watching, here's the great news, whether you do this for your career or your job, the moment we run through this process, you can do it for the other one. Oftentimes people will ask me, Jason, what do you think strategically about? My response is just about everything. Or maybe, just about everything that I want to have a good time doing. I'm just as likely to think strategically about that book proposal that I'm writing as I am to think strategically about the vacation that Jodi and I are taking to Kauai later this year. That is the process I go through. What I want to be known for, what experiences I want to have, the process of how we're going to play along the way of planning it. The product, what we both expect as a result of engaging. Then we add in, and for me it's always a minimum of seven, if you want to keep on going, I highly encourage, so thats. Let me model this very quickly. I want to submit a book proposal to my publisher so that I get my third book in the queue with John Wiley and Sons. I want to get my third book in the queue with John Wiley and Sons because so that I can take some of these things that we've been coaching and thinking about that I haven't had a chance to quantify and qualify and put those into a book form. I want to put those things into a book form so that the clients that we currently serve, they have something that's our next. They've got book one, book two, they get the next book, book three. Well, I want my clients to have the next book so that they realize there's more to the well, that Jason still has stuff to teach. I want people to know that I still have stuff to teach so that we can maybe get some new clients, some new conferences I could speak at, some new courses that we can offer, such as here at CreativeLive. I'd like to create new courses for CreativeLive so that, and I think you can see where this process is going. I'm going to be quiet. I'm going to give you a little bit longer, it's like the longest writing activity of the morning session today. Let's take 45 seconds. For those of you online, I'll coach you along as we go. In studio, 45 seconds and see if you can get so that, end of that sentence write the next so that, end that sentence and the next. For those of you online, that notebook that you're writing in or that whiteboard or easel that you're writing on, what I really like about this exercise is it's kind of like peeling the onion. Whether you choose to look at your career, where you're going with your education, your experience, what path you're on or the particular job that you're in right now, where do you want to point that focus and why you want to point it there? Alright, so a work in progress. I'll share with you a writer's favorite hashtag. Favorite hashtag of a writer is rough draft. Because what I know is that what you've written here, based on the context you're in, under these beautiful lights or on the train where you're watching us live somewhere around the world, that context will have filtered a little bit what landed there. I also know that what you wrote as far as a so that would be different if your manager, boss, best friend, or spouse were sitting next to you right now. That is, if someone could look at what I wrote, would I have written anything differently, would I have written something bigger, would I have avoided writing something. That's another example of how context can change the content. I will encourage all of your in studio, I will encourage you if you went through that So That exercise, please show this to someone in the next 24 hours. Because what will happen is you'll see, and I'll get from the audience, I'm going to ask for a couple of volunteers, to let me know what that process was like for anybody who's willing to share that. I'd love to get a couple. What you'll find is that when I share this with people and they look at that and they go oh my gosh, I thought you just wanted to write another book, I didn't know that you wanted to, or I thought you just wanted to take a sabbatical, or I didn't know that you wanted to whatever those things were. We've had a couple of you share, we had one of you come up. Let's just do, from the audience, let me see if I can get two of you. I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about that So That exercise. Who would be willing to share this time around? I've got one over here and two. How was that exercise? It was very interesting. I've never done an exercise like that before and I felt like it helped me to slow down because I feel like I'm always ahead, always looking at what's next, what's next, but this really helped to look at this is why we're doing it and these are the necessary steps that will get us there. I thought it was super helpful. Tell me this, as you were writing those lines or those sentences, and I'm going to kind of look at the audience to see what the peripheral says, when you wrote a sentence, and this is a leading question so let me know if I'm off here, did you have people's name come to mind as you were writ-? Okay. Totally, totally. That, to me, there's magic there. When I write something down and I am overwhelmed by someone, either their face as a picture in my mind, or their name that's ringing in my ears, that's my cue to reach out to them. It's amazing to me, and I know that there's several of you who fit this, it's amazing to me, we love mentoring people. We love it. Especially people who are lifelong learners like you. We love getting that email, phone call, text message, hey, will you help me with this? Simultaneously, we are so worried about how long it's going to take, if it's going to be worth it, are they going to do the advice that we give them? Am I off base here, is this right? Like, I love getting asked to mentor someone but I'm always wondering are they really going to do anything with what I? What you just did is you dialed in mentor to content. Now you can run down that list and if it were me, or I were you, or if we were working together, I'd have you put initials on the side. Through that exercise, by the way, how many so thats did you get to? I got to four. Four. Down that left-hand, right-hand side, if I've got four initials, first of all, you're going to have one or two doubled up. Second of all, now you have a reason for raising the flag and inviting three or four people to coffee next week. Then when you sit down, make sure they've ordered, because there's something American where if we order we have to stay, even if we don't like it. Anybody else ever had that? It's like, oh, we should leave, we've ordered, we have to stay. Order, stay, and then pop the question. Hey gang, this is what I'm working on, these are my so thats, this guy Jason had me go through this exercise. They always say, well, who's Jason? Big guy, he's mean. That way you kind of blame the coach on this process and then go deep in there. Thank you, thank you for sharing. Thank you. Awesome. Hi. Do you want me to read what I wrote or shall I? I think. Is that what we're doing here? I always just kind of go with what I'm given so let's take it from the top. Okay. I chose job. I wrote down creating event for brand awareness. I want to create an event for brand awareness so that the consumer's familiar with the product, so that they will continue to shop, and so that we can achieve our monthly target. It's a rough draft but there you have it. What's neat about that is now when you sit down with your director, or with your manager, or with the CEO of the organization, you now are singing off the same song sheet but you also give yourself that ability to milestone these things. When Jodi and I wrote our book called Get Momentum, we got momentum down to five questions. I mean, the good news is there are not 150 things that you have to ask yourself to get momentum. The bad news is that there's more than one and that third question, and we'll go through this in the course, in a subsequent course, the third question is what are three sub-projects we can complete to continue the momentum? I think I heard three sub-projects and so now each one of those, in my head I just saw a mind map. Let's mind map the product, let's mind map the consumer, let's mind map goals. I would put those up as three different sheets in the office. Thank you. Cool. Absolutely. Now I'm tempted to ask are there any questions about that process before I go on? I just had to laugh because I feel like my process of figuring out, like yours was so granular, it went sort of like big picture to very specific. I don't know, I just had to laugh because mine are so, I want to learn to delegate so I can have more time to myself. I want more time to myself so I can be a better artist. I want to be a better artist because. Then it sort of like going into really sort of big questions of what I want to do. I don't know. It was very interesting because I felt like yours was very goal-oriented and mine was very who am I? It can kind of go either way with it. It's interesting, I think CreativeLive attracts that. I think people who are tuning in to the in studio and those of you online, I think we're in that spectrum. I'm tempted now to go down the route of personality assessments. I know I've got people who have studied psychology in this room but boy, I am all for a great personality assessment. A Myer's-Briggs, a Winslow assessment, a Johnson O'Connor, a DISC profile, I want to know what animal I am and what color I am so that way, I'm a yellow dolphin, by the way. I want to know all those things so that I know how to ask for and get the help that I know I need. It's always amazing to me how people will argue about the same thing because they're using different words. Who are my to-do list makers, let me just finish this one. Who are my to-do list makers? Cool. Who has every re-written a to-do on a different piece of paper because it didn't get done? Awesome. Then who's ever not written a to-do and then later on after they finished the day they wrote down the to-do that they already did so they could put a check mark next to it? (audience chuckling) Awesome. There are so many things that we do to try to keep up with ourselves. Here's a little bit of background on that. We tend to rewrite nouns and big verbs. We tend to check off small verbs. What the heck does that mean? The moment that I get in something on the granular, to use that word, on the granular, I'm going to start to make a to-do list of small verbs. Small verbs about the product, small verbs about a consumer, small verbs about reaching those goals. On your side, I might make a to-do list or a draft list that's more noun-natured. Time, freedom, creativity. Then I sit down with my opposite. I'm going to sit down with the real list, the verb, the action-oriented person. Naturally, I'm the visionary, the big picture thinker, I'm the one that's already thought this was done in my head. Left to my own devices, I'll just build another website in my mind. I want to compare that and combine that with somebody who can help me get there. Awesome. Let me turn to the live audience. Do we have a question that I can, one question. I want to complete the illustrations for my third children's book, so that I can close the chapter on this book series, as three makes a series, so that I can wake up and work on medical illustration and fine art projects. So that. What I'll encourage you to do is go for that magic seven. Jason, why seven? It's more than six, I always say. But what I love about this process is that it just gets deeper and deeper and as we found a moment ago, it lets me connect people to the so thats. I'll close this loop and we'll head into the next piece of the program here. When Jodi and I got the book proposal accepted for Get Momentum, I wrote 100 so thats. By the middle and end, there was stuff that showed up that I don't know where that came from. Then when I doubled it up with the process of writing people's names down, now I had a reason to call. Now we had some really cool coffee chat conversations. We had some amazing lunches. We did host a couple of dinners where we passed people and we sat around the table and I just went through those 100 and I said you're 74, you're 68, you're 37, and you're 12, will you help us? My favorite time management tip that I teach around the world, ask for help sooner. That's my favorite.

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Ratings and Reviews


Fantastic class! Highly recommend- Jason has such positive energy and enthusiasm, all his courses have been fun to watch and very informative.

Tetyana Borshch

A lot of inspirational exercises in a short time! Enjoyed it a lot and got few interesting insights.

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