The Tools to Act

The Intentional Academy is a community of people committed to changing the way we look at our Time, Money, and Careers. We believe in hard work, but not overwork. We know that our finances reflect our quality of life, not the other way around. Our goal at work is to add incredible value, making ourselves indispensible. Overarching all of this, we know that the fastest way to succeed is to serve people by meeting their needs.

The community we’re building will support each other in this pursuit. But we need resources if we’re to succeed. What kind of resources? I’ll start with my own journey.

When I realized I needed to change,

I went straight to the books (shocking move for an academic). Next, I realized I needed daily support and so I started listening to podcasts. Finally, I attended some webinars.

I’m about to list some ideas I have. Hopefully you’ve gotten to know me well enough to see my heart behind the ideas: I want to help, by creating content that is actually helpful in a format that you actually want to digest.

Here’s where you come in.

What are you looking for? Here’s a list of ideas, and I’d love your feedback:

  • A 6-week online course covering the basics of time, money, and career (I’m actually wrapping up the first round of this and the members are loving it!)
  • A book based on the content of the 6-week course
  • 2 hour workshops diving into specific topics. For example, a course about regaining control in the middle of the semester, or about how to hunt for a job.
  • An exclusive group that gives you a small daily task that will move you forward
  • A membership site with access to all of the above, plus seminars by me and other guests (clearly the content would grow over time)

So what do you think? The most important part remains the community. That’s where the action is. That’s where lives are changing. Come join us for free using the form on this page.

Also PLEASE leave a comment, right here, telling me what you think about my ideas. Which would you like first?

My Goal in Life is to Be Average. Here’s Why.

The most important answer to the question, “What is the Intentional Academy?” is COMMUNITY. Why? Let’s ask Jim Rohn:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Like it or not, you are part of a community. Not just any community, but one centered around you. Think of it as a Venn Diagram. What you may not realize is how much that community affects you.

Let me ask a question to prove my point. If you have an idea, who do you run it by? Can you think of a time in which you had a creative, hare-brained idea, but the people around you called it crazy? A recent study showed that first-generation college students have HALF the graduation rate of students who had at least one parent with a college degree. Why? Because when someone whose parent(s) graduated struggles, the message in the back of their head is, “get to work!” Meanwhile, first-generation students hear “maybe this isn’t for you.”

The people you listen to determine what you accept as truth (at least what you most easily accept as truth).

So who are you surrounded with? Are your loser friends certain that “the little guy can’t get ahead”? Or that you’ll be paying student loans for the rest of your life? Or that your dream job is out of reach? Do the people in your life buy your excuses?

Or are you surrounded by winners? When I look around me, my greatest hope is that I can become the average of the people in my life – they’re excellent.

That’s the core of the Intentional Academy: a community of people to surround yourself with – people who will raise the bar on your average and support you as you grow.

It’s free to join using the form on this page, and we can’t wait to have you!

What is the Intentional Academy? Overview

Last week I set out to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”. The tricky part about answering these is that it takes deep reflection – I’ve had an idea in my head for a while. It’s been so hard to put words to it.

Here’s the recap on my progress: I managed to answer the “WHO” question by writing a manifesto. I started to answer the “WHAT” question by painting a picture of the destination. This week, I’ll be hashing out what the vehicle needs to look like to get you there. That vehicle is The Intentional Academy.

Any vehicle is made up of key components – none of them will get you there on their own. But when used together? Well, you know. What are the key components?

  • A Mission – not The Intentional Academy’s mission, YOUR mission to reach your destination
  • A Community – of those who have gone before and those who are coming behind
  • A Collection of Resources – that will enable to you complete your mission

This week I’ll tell you all about the Community and the Resources we’re putting together for you.

I will say this: we’re in the very beginning stages of building the Intentional Academy. Signing up now requires a bit of faith on your part. We want to thank you for your trust: if you join now, you’re automatically an Intentional Academy Founding Member. You’ll have special access, free for life. Sign up now with the form on this page.

Where are we going? (Part 3: Career)

This week, my goal is to answer two important questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

When it comes to your career, this is where The Intentional Academy is headed:

Career: The Intentional Academy is going to take you to a place where you truly love your work. You’re going to find the intersection of your passion and ability. You’ll stand out from the crowd as a leader, a change-maker – laughing when someone suggests you “apply online,” because you’ll bypass the system altogether. Most importantly, you’re going to learn to add so much value that you’ll become indispensable.

Would you like to be there? Then join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign up today at using the form on this page.

Where are we going? (Part 2: Money)

This week, my goal is to answer two important questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

When it comes to money, this is where The Intentional Academy is going:

Money: The Intentional Academy is going to take you to a place where you know what to do with your money to enjoy life now, while setting yourself up for prosperity in the future. You’ll know the difference between “broke” and “poor.” You’ll understand how debt can take over your life, and how to break free. Most importantly, you’ll know how to control your money so that it doesn’t control you.

Would you like to be there? Then join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign up today using the form on this page.

Where are we going? (Part 1: Time)

This week, my goal is to answer two important questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

I answered the “Who” question Monday and Tuesday, go take a look. I suppose if you’re still here, then the final answer to the “Who” question is YOU. The Intentional Academy is for you.

I’d like to take the next few days to describe where we are headed. Ultimately, The Intentional Academy will be the vehicle to take you there.

These outcomes can’t be empty promises or unreachable goals. This isn’t some televangelism show trying to sell you a magic cure. But I was a student once. The words to come describe my life, and the lives of some of the people I’ve had the honor of mentoring.

Time: The Intentional Academy is going to take you to a place where you realize that success comes from hard work, but not overwork. You’re going to be hyper aware of the value of each responsibility you allow to enter your life. You’re going to work on the right things, make progress, and have plenty of time left for everything else that you value.

Want to go to that place? Join us, it’s free. Just fill out the form on this page.

Who Is the Intentional Academy For?

Yesterday I shared that we’re in a special time at the Intentional Academy. We’re on a quest to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

There’s an educational principle called backward design. As common sense as it sounds, the principle isn’t applied very often. The basic idea is that we start with the intended outcome, and then work backwards to design experiences that cause a learner to grow and achieve it.

That principle applies here: before I can answer WHAT the Intentional Academy is, I need to determine the outcomes it is trying to create. I’ll also need to define WHO I’m guiding towards these outcomes. Then I’ll build the Intentional Academy to serve those people, and get them where they’re headed.

Today let’s answer the WHO question:

Go read The Intentional Learner’s Manifesto (yesterday’s post). After reading it, were you:

  • Tempted to argue? Did you rail against the ideas, talking about how the world “should” be? Did words like “fairness” come into your mind? Did you want to find other people who agree with you and start throwing rocks? Then the Intentional Academy isn’t for you. Not yet anyway.
  • Slightly angry, but mostly hopeful? Did you have trouble sitting down, feel an uncontrollable urge to DO SOMETHING. Did you want to be the person that the words describe? Did you start to believe that you COULD be that person? Did you want to connect to other people on the same journey so you could help each other grow? Then the sign up form is on this page and we can’t wait to meet you!

Brainstorming an Intentional Learner’s Manifesto

I am an Intentional Learner.

I see a gap between what I learn in school and what I need to succeed. I don’t wait for the system to fix itself, I leverage its strengths and overcome its weaknesses.

I believe that my life is my fault. I may have started from a different point than everyone else. My path may be easier or harder than everyone else’s. But I will not let my past dictate my future. I have the power to act and succeed, or to do nothing and fail.

I own my time and my money. I realize that both are finite and I decide how I spend them. I do not allow either to limit my future.

I learn to add incredible value, not to make grades. I add value by meeting people’s needs. My grades are a reflection of my performance, not the reason for it.

I affirm that my ability to breathe does not entitle me to an income. My ability to create something that changes a person’s life leads to payment proportional to the impact. I am not paid by the hour, I am paid by the result.

I may not know my dream yet, but I know where my current path leads. I am not burying my head in the sand, hoping that if I follow the herd good things will happen. I embrace the future I see for myself, but I hold it loosely. I am in the business of opening doors.

I know that I will perform as I practice, so I practice well. I am not waiting for certification. My results are my certification.

This is my time. This is my money. This is my career. I am an Intentional Learner.

Want to be a part of a community of people like this? Join the Intentional Academy using the form on the this page. It’s free!

The easy way make people do what you want

Systems engineering is interested in the way that seemingly simple components interact to create complex behaviors. A car driving down the street is fairly simple. Put a bunch of them near each other and complex behaviors arise.

I’m about to pick at the system called college. Don’t mistake these observations for an evil plot. I’m talking about the unintended consequences of attempting to systematize learning. These outcomes are the “traffic jams” of education.

If I wanted to create graduates who merely follow instructions, what would I do?

Step 1. Lock down information by convincing the crowd which information is important and which isn’t. In other words, “teaching to the test.”

Step 2. Make people who fail to comply very uncomfortable. We call this “classroom behavior management.”

Step 3: Use fear as a motivator. In other words, “grading” and “transcripts.”

Step 4: Create an enemy your followers can blame for their shortcomings. Maybe “the economy” or “the job market.”

We can’t teach it all. We need some semblance of order. We need to measure progress. We need encouragement. As an educator, my job is to try and update the system to avoid the unintended consequences of addressing reality.

But YOU don’t want to become a sheep. So keep your eyes open. And deal with this:

Step 1: If you’re asking “is this on the test?” then you’re on your way to the pasture.

Step 2: Be a rebel: not a rabble-rouser who throws rocks of negativity, but a leader who strives for positive change.

Step 3: Realize that you’re more than your transcript.

Step 4: If you’re already blaming your circumstances for limiting your future, learn to say this word: “baaahh”

Want more? Come on over to the Intentional Academy and you’ll find encouragement and practical tools to grow as a leader and independent thinker. It’s free, sign up using the form on this page.

Don’t fear fear

Fear is used, often unintentionally, to motivate and control people far too often.

  1. Do you study because you love to learn and can’t wait to add something new to your world, or do you study because you’re afraid of failing an exam?
  2. Do you go to work to meet someone’s need and thrive off of the energy that gives you, or do you work because you’re afraid of not having money?

Sure. We need good grades and we need money. But both are measurement tools, not goals in and of themselves. We use rulers to measure how long something is. We use grades to measure how much someone has learned. We use money to measure how much someone has contributed.

That last one may be controversial. To paraphrase Rabbi Daniel Lapan: when you meet someone’s need through a product or service, they give you certificates of appreciation printed on green paper with presidents’ faces on them. If you don’t like your current income, figure out how to serve more people.

I’ve been talking about fear this week. Sadly, many people in your life have scared you into doing what they wanted by threatening your grades or your money. The result is that you feel the need to chase these things directly instead of pursuing what they measure: learning and contribution.

Learn. Contribute. The grades and money will take care of themselves.

Want more? Join the Intentional Academy, a free online community that helps people get control of their time, money, and careers so they can make their best contribution. It’s free. Sign up today using the form at the top of this page!