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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance
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Book Discussions > Uncertainty - December 2012

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Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments This is the official thread for our discussion of "Uncertainty" by Jonathan Fields. Access more info about the book and other bonus materials on our member site, www.12booksgroup.com


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Caballero | 64 comments Love the line on the very first page - "to create his career and his life from that moment forward by leaning into what made him come alive." What makes you come alive? I suspect a lot of us would say just what I would say - "making a difference". I like to look back at the end of a week and savor the ways I have "made a difference". Part of leaning forward for me is remembering and savoring the little things along the way.


message 3: by Jay (last edited Dec 03, 2012 07:36AM) (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments I haven't read the book, but I am looking forward to having another good discussion since it is a very interesting subject. I have seen Jonathan Fields on TED Talk talking about uncertainty, about how he did not let 9/11 tragedy derail his dream of starting a yoga class and move on with his life and teach others so they can learn from his lesson. Good talk.

Hope he can actively participate.

I came across a very funny quote from Jan Fields, an executive who was fired from McDonalds and thought more that led me to write a blog on this since it speaks to uncertainty in life.

Here is the quote:

“Everyone has a date stamped on their ass and they're the only one who can't see it."


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments Hi all,

Great to be sharing in the conversation with you all, and honored to have Uncertainty chosen as the book this month. I'll do my best to keep an eye on the conversation and jump in as it evolves!

With gratitude,

Jonathan


message 5: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Caballero | 64 comments Love this line "Stand up and make a conscious choice to wade back in to uncertain waters." That is where we find our edge, where the very challenge makes a difference.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Barbara wrote: "Love this line "Stand up and make a conscious choice to wade back in to uncertain waters." That is where we find our edge, where the very challenge makes a difference."

Its actually funny how many awesome quotes there are in the book. Sometimes I feel like some books (while great) are not very quotable. This book is different.

So far I'm enjoying such a practical approach to something that at first glance seems so intangible. It has me thinking about everything from my personal writing to my entrepreneurial ventures. So widely applicable.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Caballero | 64 comments I agree about all the awesome quotes. It seems to me that "willingness to embrace the unknown is what the open mindset and the intrinsic motivation are all about - being challenged by the excitement of tackling the stretch activities.


message 8: by Ken (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ken Montville (mdsuburbs) I've gotten through the Introduction and first chapter. Just reading it makes me a little nervous. :-)


Ariana | 17 comments I watched the TEDx Talk and just got my book in the mail today!

From the talk - I love the recommendation to write down the things you are afraid will happen and to also include what you'll do to overcome or recover from that "failure." The act of writing these kinds of fears out and creating the story of your perseverance really is powerful (I can say from personal experience). And the questions provide insightful direction - what if I fail? What if I do nothing? What if I succeed? Great guidance for personal-reflection exercises like journaling.

I have to wonder, Jonathan do you journal?

Maybe I'll find that out as I read the book, I've only made it thru the intro so far but am excited to dig in more!


message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Caballero | 64 comments Ariana you did not ask me, but yes I journal and find it is a great help.I do a lot of writing out that distills things I did not even know where there. Great tool.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?


Ariana | 17 comments Barbara wrote: "Ariana you did not ask me, but yes I journal and find it is a great help.I do a lot of writing out that distills things I did not even know where there. Great tool."

Thanks Barbara! I agree, I've been journaling for years - it was something I started doing because it made me feel better to process thru things. I never thought it was a big deal, just my way of dealing but lately I've been hearing from a lot of people how valuable a habit journaling is!! I'm curious to learn more about other people's practices, why they started? what their practice looks like? etc.


Ariana | 17 comments Jacob wrote: "A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?"

I'm not sure I understand your questions completely Jacob. By value do you mean receiving a benefit like a level of ownership or a special opportunity? Or more a demonstration of appreciation? Maybe there isn't much of a difference here. But I think genuine appreciation for what others give, share and contribute is very powerful.

i.e. Last month I did a simple, heartfelt, client appreciation gift - it was affordable yet very personable (and took time and energy for me to put together). The response I got was mind blowing. I could have spent a lot more money on baskets of fruit and wine and not have gotten the same response guaranteed.

My point being, tie in with the values and the story of the group and give value that aligns and contributes to the unique story. Make it personable and thoughtful because that shows value :)


message 14: by Vivien (new)

Vivien | 1 comments I just ran across this group, and it looks wonderful! How do I join?


message 15: by Jay (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments Jacob wrote: "A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?"

Value is often based on whether the entrepreneur shares the value the group holds. The group wants to be part of the process of value creation since they view themselves as a part of a movement that the entrepreneur has created.

This is akin to how we all get behind a new rock band on the rise when they are accessible and tend to appreciate our support. Later when they get big and corporate, they lose touch with the people that made them popular and stops being relevant. The band that did not lose this touch was Grateful Dead. (I guess that's why their fans were called the "Dead Heads.")

Today, it is easier to stay in touch with a group due to social technology. This makes it incumbent for not only entrepreneurs but established companies to understand social economy and develop a strategy. I don't think having a Twitter account or Facebook page is good enough today.


message 16: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments Barbara wrote: "I agree about all the awesome quotes. It seems to me that "willingness to embrace the unknown is what the open mindset and the intrinsic motivation are all about - being challenged by the excitemen..."

Funny you mention the book being very quotable. At one point, I'd pulled out about 100 lines and we were going to set them up as "tweetables," but it didn't feel quite right. Still the idea was to try to craft certain nuggets of language into easily memorable lines that embodied concepts.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments Ariana wrote: "I watched the TEDx Talk and just got my book in the mail today!

From the talk - I love the recommendation to write down the things you are afraid will happen and to also include what you'll do t..."


Ariana - Great question. I've never journaled consistently, but I feel like I keep getting called to do it, so I'm about to commit to daily journaling and see both how it feels and what any outcomes might be.


message 18: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments Jacob wrote: "A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?"

great question, Jacob - For my private Creation Tribe of about 1,000 people who gave feedback during the later marketing part of the book, I created a series of conference calls where I shared behind the scenes insights and gave direct feedback on publishing, writing and book marketing. Idea is to get creative and, for many, some kind of increased access to whatever your "gifts" are can form the basis.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Vivien wrote: "I just ran across this group, and it looks wonderful! How do I join?"

Vivien, you are already in the right place to take part in the discussion. To ensure you get all the email notifications and to get access to member materials and bonuses you also need to join at www.12booksgroup.com


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) Just finished the intro and Chapter 1. I particularly liked where Jonathan transitioned the discussion from "tolerance for ambiguity" to "willingness to embrace the unknown." I see the biggest challenges as creating something that already has not been done and working through the crux points. I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.


message 21: by Ken (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ken Montville (mdsuburbs) I'm up to "Train Your Brain" after having read the very long chapter on socialization of the creation process.

There is certainly food for thought throughout the book, thus far, and interesting approaches to creating. I normally think of creating in the terms Jonathan talks about most - bringing absolutely brand new products to market - as opposed to being successful with tasks that are more routine and mundane. The needed tasks for most of society to make it work.

The technologist and artist are certainly creators. CEO types certainly like to think of themselves as creators although the completed "created" product may be devastating to the larger community.

I guess I'm having a hard time with the general language and tone. Or, maybe, my brain is resisting the ideas. Have these ideas been widely adopted? I don't see a lot of it or hear a lot about it. Is this true innovation or fad?

Obviously, I'm not finished with the book (it's a bit slow going for me) so maybe all will be revealed later.

I'm rambling....and a bit tired.


Joseph | 1 comments I've got 2 questions for Jonathan:

(1) on Ellsberg paradox/ Trautmann's work on social judgement, do you think there is anything we can learn from children on their willingness (or naivety) to embrace uncertainty? Or any studies pointing to that? Just a thought.

(2) on chapter 8 see the forest (when should you bail, adapt or lean in), need further clarification on your position. You mentioned that the question "You cannot not do it" is the acid test to either hold or fold, from which we'll know it's either (a) a calling or (b) an 'interesting project'/serve a market need. Meaning to say both (a) and (b) are OK. I thought something that 'you cannot not do' is always a calling only?

Thanks. Joseph


Ariana | 17 comments Ariana wrote: "Jacob wrote: "A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?"

I'm not sure I understand you..."


I just read the chapter - "Socializing Creation" and now have a better understanding of what you mean by value. I'm also very intrigued to learn more about these co-creation communities.

Some questions for the group/Jonathan:
- How does one become involved in a co-creation community as someone that provides feedback and insight?
- What are the best ways to build a co-creation community around your own project?
- How do you handle the sharing of sensitive information in these co-creation communities?


message 24: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments Joseph wrote: "I've got 2 questions for Jonathan:

(1) on Ellsberg paradox/ Trautmann's work on social judgement, do you think there is anything we can learn from children on their willingness (or naivety) to emb..."


Absolutely. Kids tend to be far more immunized from judgment, until they hit a certain age and they become more socially confined. Look at any 3 year old and they finger paint for nobody but them.

Re your second question - If something is felt as a calling and also happens to intersect with a need + a willingness to exchange value, I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, these are the ventures that often end up growing rapidly and creative widespread impact.


message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen Cockerill (Wallsy) | 2 comments I haven't read the book on this list but can recommend M Wheatley's Walk Out Walk On for ideas on co creation communities. The books tells of various projects around the world that work on this basis. You can then login to the Art of Hosting (website) to find out more on the process of hosting World Cafe's. if you join one of the groups you will then hear about other projects and what they are 'harvesting'


message 26: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Fields | 6 comments - How does one become involved in a co-creation community as someone that provides feedback and insight?
- What are the best ways to build a co-creation community around your own project?
- How do you handle the sharing of sensitive information in these co-creation communities?


1 - If you only provide and don't also open yourself to the vulnerable, yet vital role of receiving feedback, that kills the dynamic I explore in the book. It's about participating, instead of advising. To find these groups, look online as a starting point. Look in local papers, forums, ask around and if you can't one, create it yourself (which tends to be my approach, because I prefer to set the intention and culture the way I want it to be)

2 - Establish a very clear set of expectations and ethics (you can start with the ones in the book), then look for a small number of people who are drawn to a community built around them. Be very selective and listen to your intuition.

3 - Establish your guidelines around that as part of the binding agreement made between all members. That may also mean be very selective (detecting a them here?). In one group that I started, we have a very strict confidentiality agreement. Nothing gets beyond the cone of silence.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments I'm about 2/3 done with the book and I'm thinking about co-creation. In the entrepreneurial sense how does all this work when working with one or more creation partners. Another example could be with family, church, or neighborhoods. When a group of people want to work together to create a business, product, culture, tradition, or environment does all of the same principles apply? Any other nuances?


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Ken wrote: "I'm up to "Train Your Brain" after having read the very long chapter on socialization of the creation process.

There is certainly food for thought throughout the book, thus far, and interesting ap..."


Ken, I've thought a lot about the vocab as well. Its growing on me. I like the idea of thinking of creation in terms of starting a business, working in a committee to solve a problem, or launching a new website. Creation is a word that suggests value. I think that the concepts here apply to the creation of value for others. Since dollars follow value in most respects I think you could run with this in any direction.


message 29: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Caballero | 64 comments Karen wrote: "I haven't read the book on this list but can recommend M Wheatley's Walk Out Walk On for ideas on co creation communities. The books tells of various projects around the world that work on this bas..."

Thanks Karen. I will look into it.


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) I am currently reading Uncertainty and The Power of Habit at the same time. I have found the correlation between the two books interesting as I work my way through both. As an example, in Chapter 4 of Uncertainty the author refers to certainty anchors which in essence are habits discussed in the first part of The Power of Habits. The golden rule of habit change outline in Chapter 3 in the Power of Habit can be useful in developing the weaker of the two phases of creation expounded in Chpater 4 of Uncertainty.


message 31: by Ken (last edited Dec 16, 2012 06:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ken Montville (mdsuburbs) Just about done. One last chapter and then the review. I have to admit it grew on me after awhile. I saw a lot of familiar themes presented with different language. All in all, very encouraging for people embarking upon the unknown.

One structural thing that is not unique to this book but kinda sticks in my craw. The book can end on the last page of the last chapter. Yet, it goes on with sections for discussion ideas, resources and acknowledgements. These all add to the page count of the book. I'm not sure why this bothers me but it does. Perhaps it's more a publisher thing vs an author thing.


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) Just finished Chapter 5 on Build your Hive. It was interesting, but I most enjoyed the discussion about Mentors, Heroes and Champions. In reflecting back on my career I can easily recall individuals that fell into each of these categories in assisting me to develop myself and my ideas. While they are important whether or not you have a corporate or self made hive, they are extremely important to those who are not in the corporate world and are going it alone (for the most part).


message 33: by Phil (new)

Phil Simon (philsimon) | 10 comments Jonathan wrote: "Barbara wrote: "I agree about all the awesome quotes. It seems to me that "willingness to embrace the unknown is what the open mindset and the intrinsic motivation are all about - being challenged ..."

Good. I understand the need to be short, but big-idea books don't lend themselves to 140 characters.


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) In regards to Chapter 6 I recommend that those who are interested pick up a copy of the Eric Reis book "The Lean Startup" as it gives an indepth treatment to several of the concepts that Jonathan addresses in the chapter. I read it early in the year and found it very informative. It is also a quick read. Jonathan also expounds on a couple of other points that I have seen repeatedly in books (Pressfield's "Do the Work and Godin's Poke the Box) and blog posts ( Seth Godin and Chris Brogan)over the past year. The first is to not give up the leadership role in when going through the process and to be sure and provide some type of appropriate recognition for those who make valuable contributions to the project.


Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Casey wrote: "In regards to Chapter 6 I recommend that those who are interested pick up a copy of the Eric Reis book "The Lean Startup" as it gives an indepth treatment to several of the concepts that Jonathan a..."

Good advice. Thanks Casey


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) Chapter 7 was interesting from a personal perspective (more on that in a minute), but I found a couple of statements on page 132 somewhat confusing. Of course, it could be the way that I am interpreting them, but the two groups (visualization and the steps needed) both were credited with being more likely to complete/finish than the other two groups of which they were one. Did anyone else find the statements conflicting/confusing?

On the personal level, I've never participated in any AT training but I have regularly taken time out during the day (ususally between by 60-90 minute work bursts) to relax in several different ways. While working I normally listen to soothing backgroun music (Windham Hall, Liquid Mind, John Serrie).I also am a treadmill at home person, but I reward myself by watching a movie/documentary. I break up the workouts based on the length of the tape/dvd. This has worked effectively for me over the past few years. It also correlates to The Power of Habit in the cue, task, reward cycle.


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) I found Chapter 5 in the Power of Habit on Starbucks and the Habit of Success a nice tie in to the basic principles of Reviving Work Ethic. The success Starbucks has with their employees is instilling habits through the defining clarity, assessing and mentoring. I like how the October, November and December book choices can actually be integrated with each other.


Ariana | 17 comments Casey wrote: "I am currently reading Uncertainty and The Power of Habit at the same time. I have found the correlation between the two books interesting as I work my way through both. As an example, in Chapter 4..."

I agree Casey. The Power of Habit and Uncertainty do compliment each other nicely. I've been one of those creative types that used to think I had to let my creativity direct me free-form.

In short, I believed that structure and organization would diminish my creativity. In the last year I've been learning that the opposite is true. And while I intellectually know this now it is still a struggle to get organized, systematize, ritualized and routineized....that's where the Power of Habit and particularly the section about Key-Stone habits has been helpful for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a work-in-progress, but I feel more empowered to explore, learn and grow in this new direction!


Ariana | 17 comments Jonathan wrote: "- How does one become involved in a co-creation community as someone that provides feedback and insight?
- What are the best ways to build a co-creation community around your own project?
- How do ..."


Thanks Jonathan.

I completely understand the need to be open to give and receive feedback - on board with you there.

I'm just curious to learn more about these co-creation communities in general. I'm down with starting my own - and I have somethings in the works. Just this month I joined a co-working community and I've been networking with colleagues in town to identify potential fits for me to work with in this capacity. I think there are elements of this I've been doing all along.

What I'm less clear on is the online (or virtual) community for co-creation. I'd rather not re-invent the wheel there, which is why I'd like to find an online opportunity where I'm not the organizer but a contributor (and of course receiver since that's how these kinds of opportunities work best).

I realize that many of us seem interested in the idea of a co-creation community and I'd love to hear what you've all learned, tried, done as well.


Casey Wheeler (CaseyWheeler) Ariana wrote: "Ariana wrote: "Jacob wrote: "A question for Jonathan and/or the group. How can an Entrepreneur create value for a group of people who contribute and give feedback for the creation?"

I'm not sure I..."


You may want to take a look at Google+ is you have not joined yet. It allows you to set up hangouts and invite certain people or create a circle for ongoing discussions. I participate in a few and it is quite useful.


Ariana | 17 comments I was wondering if anyone's found a good contract template for collaborative co-creation projects?


message 42: by Terri (new)

Terri Griffith | 18 comments Ariana wrote: "I was wondering if anyone's found a good contract template for collaborative co-creation projects?"

I'm going to tweet this question to @nilofer attention. Her books are good companions to Jonathan's and while I don't remember a template, she may have a pointer. I'd be guessing that it's not so much a contract as a commitment to a shared vision.


message 43: by Jay (new)

Jay Oza | 137 comments Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I will add my 2 cents.

I would start with an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) first. This you can draft based on what you are trying to co-create with others.

(I used to do this with even major SI partners when I worked as an Alliance Manager for several SW companies. This was based on my experience that most partnerships failed to meet business objectives.)

You want to keep it very simple but at the same time want to make sure that IP is protected. Since you have to err on transparency, it goes without saying, don't work with people you can't trust.

Also you may want to have an NDA if you want to protect the disclosure of what you are co-creating to the limited few who are willing to sign it. Personally, I find NDAs useless and not enforceable, but they do help people know that you are serious about what you are sharing.

I would move to contracts phase once there is some revenue that is being generated or something has been produced that could be used for generating revenue. I would put that in the MOU.

I am not sure if this needs to be that complicated.

Keep the lawyers away as long as you can otherwise you will end up spending more time with that and not develop and ship anything. And lawyers are not cheap.

This is how I would do it.

Good Luck!


Ariana | 17 comments Jay wrote: "Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I will add my 2 cents.

I would start with an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) first. This you can draft based on what you are trying to co-cre..."


Jay, your insight is greatly appreciated and definitely resonates with me! I've used MOU's before for other collaborative projects but it is funny how we forget things when there's a slight shift in the situation until someone else points them out :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Ariana


Ariana | 17 comments Terri wrote: "Ariana wrote: "I was wondering if anyone's found a good contract template for collaborative co-creation projects?"

I'm going to tweet this question to @nilofer attention. Her books are good compan..."


Thanks Terri, I look forward to hearing you she says! Please keep me posted.

Ariana


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