Updated: Sep 15, 2019
Oops, one week turned into four but I've finally completed Module 4 of Live Off Your Passion. For a recovering perfectionist, it is really hard to look at my pace for the first three modules (one week each) and then compare it to the month I spent on the most recent one. However, speed is not everything! This month was actually pretty great, outside of that one drawback. Combined with the extra-curricular greatness, I encountered this thing called “Analysis Paralysis,” which caused me to basically hit pause on the course for a couple weeks.
Analysis Paralysis: a catchy way to describe when there are lots if not infinite choices or paths or methods available, and you spend tons of time thinking about which one to choose, which paralyzes you from moving forward on any particular one - maybe because you’re too worried about picking the wrong one!
While I was wrestling with this effect, I still ended up having some great experiences and making mindful, meaningful connections, so it didn’t stop me in my tracks entirely - it just felt that way to me, since I was totally unable to narrow down my business ideas and start creating plans. Time for me to break the cycle right now, share what I’ve learned this month and move on to the next lesson, and Google ways to not get caught by Analysis Paralysis next time!
Favorite Brainstorming Ideas
One of the main directives of Module 4 was to brainstorm ideas, interests, hobbies, etc that could potentially be turned into a business...but without thinking it through too much. I’ve chosen 15 of the most interesting. The prompt: “What are the most ridiculous ideas that have ever come to mind? What have people told you were foolish in the past? What ideas have caused people to laugh at you when told in public? What are some of your most obscure interests and hobbies that you would never in a billion years think would hold merit as a money making endeavor? Now throw it on its head a bit more and try to think of fun things you’d never think had a chance of making money or things you’d never even attempt to make money with.”
Perform concerts in national parks or on mountains that the audience has to hike or kayak to
Blog about: travel, farming, hiking, living on the road, being a digital nomad? Sustainable living and travel and how to do little things to be a steward of the earth? Learning a bunch of skills I would need if I lived in the Middle Ages (archery, a couple more languages, wilderness survival skills)?
Play duo shows with various musical collaborators in different cities
Write a fantasy novel with really strong female characters and complex villains that are hard to distinguish from heroes
Design a flute backpack optimal for travel
Sell sustainable crafts at Renaissance Faires
Put together a band that mixes classical and folk traditions of different cultural groups (like a less fancy Silk Road Ensemble)
Teach classical instrumentalists how to play in indie folk bands (or a resource blog or online course for how to collaborate effectively between these genres)
Blog or podcast that shares experiences of musicians who have paved non-traditional paths with their music after classical music school
Host tours or airbnb experiences for travelers that combine hiking and music; or more involved wilderness and music expeditions
Blog or resource site about organizing in small spaces, travel bags and backpacks
Be on American Ninja Warrior
Flute extended techniques video and notation resource blog (like shakennotstuttered.com but for flute)
Splice together raps like the Harry Potter Rap
It took me forever to write that list because of Analysis Paralysis and the fear of sharing my crazy ideas. I have no idea what I’m going to do with these, but at least I’ve written them down!
Here’s some other stuff that happened this month:
The Putty Tribe
The Putty Tribe is an online community for Renaissance-style learners of multiple pursuits, who dub themselves “Multipotentialites,” or “Multipods.” My mom and I have always fit this description, but I don’t have a lot of other friends who do, so I joined this group, and it’s been really nice to virtually be around people who are similarly all over the place with their interests, who can relate to and support each other. I also registered for the related Everything Conference that will be held in Portland in Fall 2019 - I think this will be a fantastic way to surround myself with people living their multiple passions and crafting businesses from some combination of them. A little composing
One of the many events hosted by the Putty Tribe was a 24-hour creative session called the Puttython. Participating in this helped motivate me do a composition exercise and not worry so much about the outcome. I also got to examine my creative process some more during this time. The composition exercise I undertook was challenging and fun! It was to compose something that uses only two notes (I chose D and A). Here’s the outcome, in two versions: https://soundcloud.com/kenzie-slottow/horn-calls-piano
On the move, learning stuff about food
I was in Seattle and Vashon Island, Washington last week, and it’s good to be near the ocean again, and spend some time on a farm! I got to help out harvesting rhubarb, turnips, nettles, different varieties of mustard greens, lettuce, and spinach. I get a huge kick out of seeing produce in its natural, growing state.
I was able to go on a couple of beautiful hikes on the island, as well as enjoy the scenery of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier as I crossed a few times between Seattle and Vashon Island (photos on my Instagram feed). I also got to spend some quality time with Casey, which helped me get more grounded about the uncertainty of this personal and professional journey.
During my first week of travels, there was one particularly fantastic day of flow from one fortuitous experience to the next. I discovered a couple of ways I might make money in the short-term that are aligned with my values, met a new potential musical collaborator, hung out with my brother and a couple other friends, and experienced a dessert wine with a flavor almost indistinguishable from the orange cake it accompanied! It reminded me of the way fog melts into the sea on the horizon and you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.
While I tried to stick to one source of information (the Live Off Your Passion Course) rather to avoid information overload, I strayed significantly into new resources and communities this month in my fervor to progress toward starting a business. In the bigger picture, though, I love the stuff I’m listening to and learning. In addition to joining the Putty Tribe, I started listening to two new podcasts, Brian Lofrumento’s Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur podcast and the Location Indie podcast (a lifestyle series by the creators of the Paradise Pack).
It’s hard to avoid thinking I’m missing out on something or misstepping. I’ve spent some money on joining online communities and my ticket to the Everything Conference, and I’m feeling the pressure to make sure I make something out of that investment.
My thoughts at the moment about my life trajectory are mostly panicky ones, such as “What am I gonna do with my life?? Where is all this self-discovery going?!” And that’s okay (I say this to reassure myself as much as you). I’ve got a process, I don’t need to try and speed through it, and uncertainty and stops and starts are all part of it. I think that a renewed focus on mindfulness and a trust in the process are my next steps, and I’ll just continue on to Module 5 and see where it takes me.