Monday, June 06, 2005

Unconventionalists Unite!

What does unconventional mean to you? Is it something you think you shouldn't be? It might be one of those words, like the word "unreasonable," that sounds "bad" until you really examine what it means.

I used to believe that being unreasonable meant I was stubborn or pigheaded or closed-minded. Since that was the context I had put around that word, it was difficult for me to see anything but that. Then I realized that by being reasonable, I'd put all kinds of reasons out there for why I was staying right where I was in my life. It was easier to avoid responsibility because I had so many reasons for not making any changes. I lived in a little town, therefore I couldn't be involved in national organizations. My grandma had fat thighs so therefore I was destined to have fat thighs, too. There was nothing I could do about it. It would be unreasonable even to try.

Conventional is another of those words. We have conventional wisdom which tells us what we should and shouldn't do. Unconventional wisdom may seem like something that's really "out there" and our past experience of lives of convention may come crashing down on us, even though we're attracted to more unconventional ways of thinking.

My friend Gail and I have created a really fun event called The Unconvention in which people gather to create dialogue around what it means to be unconventional. Gail came up with the concept when she went on an "untour" in Europe. The group traveled together, but when they got to their destinations, everyone created their own tours within the cities or locations, gathering again at the end.

The Unconvention is like that. We gather at the airport conference room to leave on our journey, but each of the participants has a hand in creating the experience for the 3 hours we have gathered together. We have a very loose agenda, but the experience is unique each time we get together because it goes where the dialogue takes it. Together, the participants (all of whom are somehow attracted to the unconventionality of the event) are creating a roadmap which will help guide them through their more conventional work lives. Our hope is that we can provide support to other unconventionalists so they know they're not alone, and so they can practice some of their more creative and unique conversations and share their ideas with a supportive audience.

So far we've had two events and are planning for the third. Gail and I have no expectations, so we are never disappointed with the event. It has proven to us that we are correct in our belief that there are more unconventionalists out there who share our interest in unique points of view.

As Gail's mission statement for her company Blue Moon Training states: "my desire is to inspire!"

Anyone game to participate?


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