Last Thursday was our last Krypton meeting. Not forever, just for the summer. And I have to say, I’m really going to miss seeing everyone. It’s been such a great experience; I had no idea how much I would love it. But summer is too crazy to keep meeting, so we’ll start up again in the fall, and it will be interesting to see where Krypton takes us next year. Krypton started in October as an experiment. I was nervous about organizing it, but I thought what the heck, it’s just a four week class. Little did I know what it would become. “Kyrpton Community College” was conceived by Seth Godin (read more here) with the idea that we learn better when we learn together, and the first course offered was Go: How to Overcome Fear, Pick Yourself, & Start a Project that Matters. It was a course I thought so many people (especially me) really needed.
Our first Krypton class started off a little shaky. I was nervous and we all didn’t know each other very well, but each time we met we got more comfortable with each-other, everyone embraced the material, and pretty quickly we had a nice cohesive group vibe going on. When we got to the fourth week and completed the course material, we all agreed that we weren’t done. We each hadn’t fully presented our project ideas, or “Ship-It Journals” as Seth calls them, and some people still didn’t even think they had a project. So we decided to continue.
For the past nine months we’ve been meeting every other week at noon, for two hours, presenting, developing, and discussing our projects. Over time every single member of the group has presented a project, and every single member of the group has been invaluable in contributing their feedback and knowledge to each project. Each time we meet we also give updates on our projects, which really keeps the momentum of our projects going. And each time our meeting is over, I feel exhilarated. Happy because it’s fun, satisfied because I’ve learned so much, and excited to keep working on my project.
It’s hard to explain, but watching how each person brings their own personality, approach, and expertise to the group is amazing. Everyone seems to be truly overcoming their fears not just for getting a project started, but for expressing themselves in a completely genuine way. I love it. There are ten of us in Krypton and we have business backgrounds, technical backgrounds, creative, financial, etc. We have parents and non-parents. We have people who work full-time, part-time, and not at all. And it’s amazing when you pair an expert with a non-expert. It reminds me of a quote from the TEDx conference I went to: “Believe in the creativity of non-experts.“ It’s so different than the meetings I had at work, because people seem to be speaking up from a truly authentic place. No one is being political or saying things just to be heard or saying what they think someone wants to hear. We all truly want to help each other and see each other succeed.
My Ship-It Journal project is to craft and sell pillows, as a way to explore textile design. My bigger project (and the whole reason I’m writing this blog) is to figure out how to do work I love, make money, and be a mom who is available to her kids after school and in the summer. Todd’s project is on improving efficiencies with his business and embracing technology, tools, and processes that might help him with that. So for the past several weeks he’s been going to a Quickbooks + Accounting class (that he doesn’t love) so that he can get better at the accounting aspects of his business. I don’t feel right sharing the other group member’s projects on my blog, but let’s just say that every Krytpon member has an excellent project that I feel so excited to see unfold.
After we had all taken our turns presenting our Ship-It journals, we decided to continue with the coursework offered by Krypton, and so we started the second class entitled: Milton Gladwell and the Sociology of Success. The material was interesting, but quite different than the first class, and much more theoretical than the first course on overcoming fear. At our first meeting to discuss the material one of the members of the group said, “This is all really interesting, but what am I supposed to do with this information?” I hadn’t considered that and I didn’t have an answer. But we still had a very lively discussion about whether or not parents matter, going to an ivy league school versus just getting into one, what impact the neighborhood you live in has on your future, and the role luck plays in what privileges you receive. Since most of us have kids we talked a lot about how the material relates to parenting. But what we really wanted was to keep moving forward with our projects, and it wasn’t clear that this material was going to help with that. So we only went half-way with the coursework and decided to finish the coursework on our own, take a break for the summer, and start up in the fall with the next course offered by Krypton which is based on Gretchin Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” which I think will be excellent.
We also decided that instead of me organizing and leading each meeting, we’d take turns, which I’m really excited about. Not because I want to unload the job, but because I want everyone to get a chance to lead the class in their own way. And if we aren’t doing the coursework, each person can bring to the table something they would like to teach, share, or learn. We may even bring in guest experts. We also want to help each other out not just by talking about stuff, but by physically helping each other – like building a work-space, cleaning out a garage, or setting up a display for a craft-fair.
So that was our last meeting and a great way to end for the summer. Our homework for the summer is to to read “The Happiness Project” and get started on the coursework so we can jump right in in the fall. We also are going to bring a project to the group that we would like help with. Ironically, a couple of days after the meeting, I received an blog post in my inbox from Seth Godin/Krtypon Community College, entitled: Looking Back on the Krytpon Project explaining that they would not be continuing with new course material, and that we should create our own. Which is pretty much our plan. He ends the post by saying: “Go learn something,” is a good thing to say during graduation season. Even better, “go teach something!” We intend to continue doing both.
I had breakfast with a friend from our Krypton group yesterday, and she said that she’s continued with the Milton Gladwell material, and that it is helping her with a problem she is having with her daughter. I asked her how the two were related, and she said they weren’t, but that Milton Gladwell’s ideas are making her think about things in a new way. That she is learning to release her old patterns and opening up to new ways of approaching her life. And so while our Krypton group may not have been able to find practical applications for Gladwell’s material, I think it is equally important to be exposed new ideas that make us think differently about how we approach our work, our lives, and our happiness.
I have continued with Gladwell’s material as well, and I asked everyone in our Krytpon group to, at the very least, watch this video included in the homework for week three of the class, about the man who wore a sanitary napkin. Check it out:
Even though the temperature is only in the 60s these days (Seattle’s “June gloom” I’ve heard it called), the kids get out of school today and the first day of summer is on Saturday. This is a crazy time of year, with all of the end-of-school activities, plus I’m wrapping up two web-sites that I’ve been working on, and consequently I have been neglecting my pillow-making project. And while we have camping trips and vacations planned, my goal for the summer is to start selling some pillows. So hopefully when we start Krytpon up in the fall, I’ll have some progress to report. I also want to spend some time this summer thinking of ways to spread the magic of Krypton. It seems like every day I talk to someone who wants to embark on something new. It seems like so many people out there could benefit from a group like ours. We should all have a Krypton group to help each other out, to get over our fears, and to think in new ways. We should all be teachers and we should all be students and we should all be learning together.
I’ve been maintaining a web-site to track some of stuff that has been brought up in our meeting which you can check out here if you’re interested: http://seattlekryptonites.weebly.com/