Friday, July 7, 2023. It's time for the July Groundhog Day Resolutions Monthly Report. We're halfway through the year, so the first order of business is to evaluate progress by comparing it to the parameters I started with back in February. These were:
- Get better at Software Development and Selling my Products Online as a path to creative independence, the ability to sustain myself financially through my own creative endeavors.
- Build a community of like-minded peopleDescribed by me over the years as "positive-minded, self-empowered, curious, conscientious, competent, generous, and kind people". See entry: The Tribe.
- Increase personal productivity through continued observation of what works/doesn't work for me, and building better habits accordingly.
In more recent months I've found that community building that should come first. Having meaningful dialogue about my work with engaged beneficiaries of my efforts is the strongest motivator I have. Plus, my autism-related traits make it hard to find the type of intense conversations that I best relate to. So it's up to me to find/build those communities. That's my priority. The other tasks naturally get my attention reactively as they come up, so I don't have to waste the very limited personal executive energy on that. Instead, I can reserve it for the Big Hard Problems like "building a community".
The Emphasis on Community Building
Currently, I have four major initiatives:
Writing a Call to Action for a Neurodivergent Transgender Group - This is to fulfill a personal need to connect with people who have similar experiences and ways of interpreting the world. There isn't a local transgender support group presently, but what I'd like to establish is a place where we can "just be goofy-social" and share experiences and stories. I'm making "neurodivergent" part of the criteria in recognition of my communication style. I'm still only in the drafting stage of the flyer and am consulting with my gender therapist about it. I would consider it a success if there werewas 2 or 3 people.
Neurodivergent Adults Group at my local library - This is a bonus group that my therapist discovered, brand new and comprised of people who seem to share many aspects of my world view. There is a kind of intensity, directness, and honesty that I like in people which that I've found is highly-correlated with people on the spectrum. I'd like to get to know more of them. More people to talk to about my Colony idea!
Designing The Colony - This is an organization that I'd like to develop as an extension of my various ideals regarding The Tribe and the context in which it exists. The general idea is that it's a Public Square, a Bazaar, an Expedition/Adventurer Hall where The Tribe can work together, governed by a policy that sets the tone and culture of our space. See The Colony for current notes.
Becoming an Envoy of The Colony - As there is no one else in The Colony yet, I'm the one who has to articulate the vision. I have also found that I needed a way to cope with the stress of talking to strangers and feeling that I am weird and unrelatable and becoming frustrated and resentful when misunderstood. The idea of being an "Envoy" implies that I am "not from here"---I'm a neurodivergent alien---but still calls on me to have a diplomatic and generous spirit when interacting with other cultures for the purposes of mutually-beneficial exchange. I find this image appealing.
To keep motivated on these initiatives, I have recurring discussions several times a week with people about them, which ensures that the ideas continue to develop. My executive goal, of course, is to identify and reach milestonesThe model I'm using to define and reach milestones is not a traditional productivity workflow. I have instead designated Strategic Horizons that represent desirable directions to move toward, opportunistically plotting and rerouting toward promising destinations that shimmer and shift until I find a milestone, which will be recognizeable when I reach it. This is not the same as reaching a predetermined milestone that was set during a planning phase. In either case, the milestone becomes an anchor point from which to deploy the next leg of the expedition. in the development of each initiative. In my mind, this is like being a protagonist in a story that I am living through, which is another appealing image.
Making Progress without Hard Planning
A major insight this past month was that itemizing the completed and ongoing "milestones" could be a good substitute for traditional planning, where you set an intention and then follow steps in a disciplined manner as you execute to completion. What is not described in this approach is how much of that discipline is persevering through poorly-designed process with ill-conceived toolsThis is extremely aggravating for a neurodivergent person like myself who is unusually sensitive to deviations from dilligence in correctness, caring detail, and thoughtful consideration. My tendency is to work around bullshit as much as possible, which makes following a general plan difficult.. Instead, a more adaptive approach is required for a brain like mine, which I've been calling Strategic Horizons.
In hindsight, I can see I got maybe 10-12 of these things going as so-called Expeditions"Expedition thinking" helps me overcome my combination ADHD+ASD resistance to starting projects, as they inject novelty, curiosity, anticipation, and positive emotions into the project. Every one of theseis also huge dopamine booster which is exactly what my ADHD-patterned brain craves. In practice they work only when there is another person involved, or if the expedition is extremely short and can be accomplished in an immediately-gratifying way.). Here's the ones that I have seen:
- New personal website system published!
- Basement items from 15 years of accumulation consolidated!
- Basement turned into workable studio space!
- Living room office moved downstairs for more space!
- Living room is now a social space for entertaining people!
- Developing a comprehensive system theory of my neurodivergent traits!
- Making the kitchen more usable for entertaining, cooking!
- Accepting my gender transition and refining my personal style and fashion tastes!
- Replace Amazon Marketplace/FBA with Shopify!
- Establish The Colony and reaching out to People!
- Creating new products to diversify income!
These are all pretty big tasks, but I don't think they have to be encumbered with detailed planning with a discovery-based approach. I have decided to trust that I can make progress so long as I just start the task. However, I have to also ensure that there's a feeling of closure every day so unfinished tasks don't loom over my headThis is perhaps related to my time blindness..
Reminder: The End Game is to Create Joyful Experience
There is something I keep forgetting throughout my productivity adventures: The point is to create something interesting that brings joy and delight. It could be a cozy coworking space where people feel seen and heart, comfortable to show their true selves. It could be a great piece of software or an insightful piece of writing. A beautiful piece of art. All these experiences are ideally shared with others, and I want to very much have this.
Community and Creative Independence are the means by which we can reach the true end game: living in a self-sustaining creative shared bliss, built to nurture our culture for years to come.
This is the master directive! I have to make sure that this vision is imbued in all my writing about this direction.
Next Steps for August
I feel I have a pretty good conceptual system for now with the identified Horizons and Expeditions. There are always MORE of them, but I am not tracking them for GHDR. They just happen, and often support each other. The things I am considering here I've labeled as the hard ones that require my limited executive energy so I can consciously choose to apply it while my attention is fresh. At the same time, I do need to inject some novelty into my next steps, which is reflected in this list.
- Drafting a mission statement and strategy that encapsulates the points discussed in the post.
- Creating reminder cards and considering writing articles and hosting design streams.
- Exploring the option of live-streaming the process to generate interest and improve in-person communication skills.
That's what I got for July! Thanks for reading!