Posts Tagged ‘FLOW’

News, Visionary Culture | No Comments | March 23rd, 2009

Friend of VisionForce and CEO of FLOW, Michael Strong, has a great new book out called, Be The Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems.

Arnold Kling, libertarian economist, comments:

“The book combines a passion for capitalism, a passion for solving social problems, and some New Age spirituality. Think Ayn Rand meets Stephen Covey.

“I see the book as a manifesto for what I once called civil societarianism. The implicit message to young idealists is to solve problems through entrepreneurial innovation, not through political coercion.

In these times of great change, when so many people have placed their hope in our governments to save us, I say it’s time we each take the initiative to “be the solution.”

I’m currently awaiting my signed copy’s arrival in the mail. I suggest you go grab your copy at Amazon today:

Your support will help Michael Strong to bring this bold message to the world. It’s an idea whose time has come!

Here’s a great presentation about how entrepreneurs and enterprising individuals can be a powerful force for good. It’s Michael Strong, John Mackey and Jeff Klein of FLOW presenting for at Freedom Fest 2007.

I spoke with Michael the other evening, and he’s doing something very cool next week I’m going to invite you to participate in.

News, Visionaries, Visionary Culture | No Comments | September 13th, 2007

I think one of the most beneficial things we can do as visionaries, who are risking so much and working so hard to create a better world, is to get plugged into what other visionaries are up to.

FLOW is an organization that is undertaking some very visionary projects, which, if successful, will change the world in which we live.

I invite you to listen to this interview I recorded earlier this week with Michael Strong, Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW, and allow yourself to explore the depth and scope of the FLOW vision. Michael founded FLOW with Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, right here in Austin. Michael and his team travel the world, sharing their vision and building bridges to a future all of us would be excited to raise our children in.

Closer to the end of the 60-minute audio are suggested actions you can take to get involved in the FLOW community.

MP3 File

Visit the FLOW web site and get involved with this inspiring organization that is hard at work putting structures in place to support all of us who are working hard to make this world a better place!

VisionForce has offered to do something special for those who contribute $50 or more to FLOW’s Peace Through Commerce initiative. Send an email to us at support [at] visionforce [dot] com after contributing and we will email you our Vision Force 101 download with over 14 hours of MP3 audios with live coaching in some of the VisionForce concepts and processes. Those who choose to donate $10,000 or more receive a special invitation from FLOW to participate with FLOW at a higher level. (listen to the audio for more details)

Michael's Journal, News, Visionaries | No Comments | September 5th, 2007

OK, so you’re a visionary in the 21st century. You have a new idea or see a new way to make the world a better place. You see what others don’t see in a way that inspires you to action, and you know that if others could only see what you see, they’d be inspired to new courses of action that would make an incredible difference.

I find myself in this predicament currently, and I’d like to speak to two fundamental challenges that someone in such a position faces. I invite you think about these challenges for your own situation.

2 Challenges for the 21st Century World-Changer:

1) How do you share your idea or vision in a way that has people understanding it, without oversimplifying such that they don’t see it’s novelty and genius? Many people are often all too eager to file your idea away into the category of something they already know.

2) How do you share your new idea or vision in a way that does not offend those who are attached to the way they currently view the world? Many people are often all too eager to erect a wall between you and them, if your idea somehow threatens their current reality–or more specifically, their image. From behind their wall, they cannot see what you are saying.

The first challenge is similar to the prospect of sharing a complex theory with someone who barely understands your language. Sure, you can describe it with very simplistic vocabulary and grammar, so that they think they “get it;” but you know that they don’t. Certainly, they don’t “get it” on a level that would inspire them into heroic action in the service of your vision.

I find this to be a growing challenge in my blogging and newsletter/autoresponder writing. Am I speaking to those who share a deep, rich context, or am I speaking to those who are finding this site for the first time? Sometimes I find myself writing in a very simplistic manner, so as to reach people emotionally. Readers will then have the experience of “getting it” or “getting me;” however what I am sharing can easily sound like it’s nothing new to them, because I am using such familiar language.

At other times, I start writing on a more intellectual level, only to realize that a lot of groundwork needs to be laid in my article or blog post, before people would grasp what I was intending to communicate. I begin laying the groundwork in the blog or article, and then before I know it, I am out of time. The article, blog or email does not get produced that day, and it sits awaiting a future completion date.

While there may be many simple approaches to resolve this dilemma, what I’d like to point out is how this problem lies in the domain of BUSINESS. What is business? A business is a system that comes into existence by virtue of solving problems–or of creating value for people. Business, can then be said to be the range of activities that a person or organization (the “business”) engages in for the purpose of ongoingly providing more and more value to others. A business, at least in a free environment, only exists to the extent that it provides greater value by virtue of it’s existence. Marketing is the realm of activities through which the system communicates with it’s environment, such that value exchanges take place.

Thus, my dilemma in communicating my vision with the world is a marketing problem. As I find solutions to this problem, our organization can more easily and ongoingly (profitably) solve more and more of the world’s problems. I invite you, if you self-identify as a world-changer, to self-identify also as an entrepreneur–if you haven’t already. Whether you are up to creating a better marriage, family, life, community, organization, country, ecosystem, world, etc.–you are an entrepreneur. You are an entrepreneur, and the range of activities you engage in to bring about change are your BUSINESS. So, from a business perspective, how well are you succeeding in bringing about the positive change you seek?

Most of us, who self-identify as “world-changers,” have hobbies at best.

Volunteering some of our time, donating to causes we care about, signing petitions, writing our political leaders and voting on election day are mostly the failing busy-ness priorities of YESTERDAY’s “world-changers.” Those who want to bring about great positive change in today’s world, yet who are engaging in the largely impotent strategies of yesterday’s world-changers are becoming less and less relevant.

Those of us who want to bring about serious change in today’s world, will embrace entrepreneurship as not just a vehicle for great and lasting change, but as a paradigm to operate from. You want to own your power to change the world? Look around you at the world out there… your laptop computer screen, your blackberry, the coffee shop you’re sitting in, the buildings outside and the cars traveling down the street… where did they come from? The power of big government, big religion or big business? NO. They came from the new ideas and visions of individuals such as yourself–from entrepreneurs who owned their entrepreneurial power.

More and more so, the power to bring about change in today’s world is in the hands of the individual. More and more technology only means more and more freedom and power for YOU to change the world.

Political Force? Military Force? Measure these against the natural force of your own vision. Vision is the power of the creator, the one who creates what did not exist before. Own your power to change the world around you. Own your Vision Force. Claim the title of entrepreneur.

Stay at home mother of six? Starving artist? Student activist? Employee? OWN that your power to change the world lies in *your* systems for keeping your vision alive, for sharing it with others, for inspiring the world to stand with you, for marketing your ideas, for implementing your solutions, for creating the better world you envision!

Own that whatever your current methods of thinking, communicating, creating and resolving conflicts are–they are generating the results you see in your life and organizations now. The world around you is a result of your business.

That’s where VisionForce comes in.

Only to the extent that you fully own your current and potential freedom, power and responsibility to create a better world will you see cause to invest in next-level methods for manifesting the world you envision. If you’re ready to learn new methods for bringing about the world you envision, check out our Boot Camps for visionaries here.

It’s not training to follow someone else’s vision… just the opposite. Consider it Navy Seal training to follow your own vision to the ends of the earth, standing for a better world in the face of all the inner and outer obstacles that arise in such an “impossible” yet worthwhile journey!

News, Visionaries | No Comments | May 23rd, 2007

Visionaries and entrepreneurs are often fiercely independent, very self-reliant and uncompromising in their thinking and their lives. A major characteristic of the VisionForce work is how it powerfully restores and builds more of our natural autonomy in thought and action—a great value in a world that still conditions us to follow and conform in so many ways. Thought leaders such as Ayn Rand, individualist extraordinaire, were instrumental in restoring my own sense of power in my 20s, and my faith in our potential to live as visionary creators.

While the VisionForce work is so powerful for relationships, having been started largely from working to bring my own family back together, in many ways I have been a life-long loner and individualist. That mentality has in many ways suited me well in the research and development of this work, I suppose, but it has been a huge liability in my thinking since starting the VisionForce business.

Many of our Boot Camp graduates have been encouraging us to focus locally in Austin, rather than focus globally through the internet, as we have primarily been doing. Only recently and gradually have I been heeding that advice. Earlier this year, I was stunned to learn of two visionary organizations that are building amazing communities for entrepreneurs right here in Austin (FLOW and Bootstrap).

It was at a FLOW meeting that I met a visionary Austin woman named Brandi Clark. Brandi, head of the Austin Eco-Network. Brandi attended our last Boot Camp, and could not believe that most people in Austin did not know about us, or that we were not an integral part of the other communities and organizations here. She has since joined our staff, committed help us take our business to the next level locally over the next 4 months.

Through Brandi, I’ve finally begun to get to know this great town. I’ve lived in Austin 15 years now, and always considered it a special place, but only recently have I considered Austin “my community.”

Over the last few weeks, I had the fortune of learning about three other local Austin organizations that are doing great things for Austin entrepreneurs: Big Austin, the Austin Independent Business Alliance and American YouthWorks.

Austin seems to be emerging as a perfect breeding ground for entrepreneurs and visionaries. There’s nowhere we’d rather be.

A model for world-changing is emerging…

1- We’ve witnessed the success of our project in Uganda with young visionary, Clovis Ategeka, who has been changing the world, largely due to his ability to access the internet, and thus Vision Force, Zaadz, etc.

2 – The school we visited in Ngong Kenya has no internet access, and it has been difficult to follow up with the students there, who were so inspired by the Vision Force work, and wanted to continue to develop themselves as visionaries and entrepreneurs. The plan they created when we were there was to start an internet cafe there on campus, and since then they’ve received several new computers… but still have no internet access.

3 – Morris Thuku, a Kenyan visionary, who started an institute of technology for street kids in a small village outside of Nairobe has a vision to raise youth and communities throughout Africa from poverty by training them in computer repair, maintenance, etc. Most all African homes do not have computers yet, so his students are positioning themselves for wealth… but Morris lacks the kind of funding that has come so easily to Clovis through his access to a global community.

Clovis has a vision of spreading Vision Cafes throughout Africa, as a way of connecting people to the global community and all of the resources and opportunities that come with it. The internet creates opportunities to raise funding, make money, save money, get educated, find business partners, collaborate with a global community, etc. But the beauty of this vision doesn’t stop with the advantages of internet access. Clovis sees these cafes as a way to educate and train people to be visionaries, leaders and entrepreneurs. Both the tribal and colonial culture contexts are very authoritarian and lacking in entrepreneurial and visionary concepts and conversations.

Clovis sees his Vision Cafes bringing everything the internet has to offer, as well as everything the west has to offer regarding entrepreneurship and advanced ways of thinking as a conscious being and visionary.

The bottleneck is internet access. In East Africa it’s outrageously expensive, and so at first glance it does not seem feasible to spread these Vision Cafes throughout Africa. But there is a bigger vision here, that once seen could easily inspire many organizations and individuals to invest their time and resources in the cause. Clovis, through his Vision Cafe in Kampala, is not merely providing jobs and adding value to the community. He is in essence, “creating creators.” It is one thing to fish, it’s another to teach someone how to fish–and quite another thing to teach someone how to be a visionary entrepreneur and create a business… or better yet, teach someone how to be a visionary entrepreneur who teaches others how to do the same. That’s what Clovis is up to. He wants to train others to train others, and thus open up all of Africa to unimaginable opportunity.

Democracy and capitalism are very new in many parts of Africa, and still only a dream in others. In Kenya, when I visited last year, I could feel an energy in the air… people were actively engaged in politics, not resigned and cynical as so many of us seem to be in the West. Kenya only gained freedom from Britain about 40 years ago through a violent revolution. Everything is still new, everything is possible. And the youth… so many told me they were going to be president one day. Yet, the colonial and tribal cultures there silence the youth in many respects. There seemed to be a consensus among Kenyans 40 and under that they’d never be listened to until they were at least 45 years old. This, even though so many Kenyans are known for their oratory skills (so many we met spoke like Senator Obama, whose father was Kenyan–or even more eloquently). The youth we met were incredibly bright, incredibly spirited, well-spoken and authentic. The only things that seemed to be missing for these young leaders to have the power to bring their visions into reality was 1) lack of access to technology, and 2) lack of entrepreneurial/visionary contexts.

Enter Clovis and his Vision Cafes, where he not only connects the youth to the world wibe web, but he liberates them from the conditioning which keeps them silent. The Vision Force concepts and work are incredibly powerful in this regard. Vision Force technology was not created from within the context of existing structures, and thus does not teach people how to be successful within the system. No, it encourages and empowers independent, creative thought, entrepreneurial thought. It’s most powerful for those willing to step outside the existing structures and create something new. It’s very liberating and refreshing for many who’ve grown up inside the heavily authoritarian cultural contexts in Africa. Perhaps this is why some come from 6 hours away to attend Clovis’ Vision Force workshops. Clovis is not just bringing hope, he’s bringing vision and everything that comes with it.

Kampala is ready. Kenya is ready. Could these Vision Cafes be an idea whose time has come?

How will we find the funds and resources to bring these internet learning centers into existence? Well, just ask Clovis, who through investing himself in the Vision Force 101 program, has been able to articulate his stand and his vision in such a way that he’s inspiring people from around the world to collaborate with him. One man, Michael Blomsterberg, and fellow Zaadzster (member of the Zaadz community), was so inspired that he has organized a trip for 12 to Kampala this summer, and plans to bring 10-20 computers for Clovis’ Vision Cafe. Other Zaadzsters and friends of Michael’s have joined in, and are doing what they can to support Clovis and his vision.

We at Vision Force along with generous Zaadz members have just recently raised $3,400 to get Clovis’ Vision Cafe wired with high-speed internet access. Some 80+ people from around the world were inspired to contribute. Others have purchased and sent Visionary Mind packages to Clovis. And the story goes on…

Vision Cafes throughout the 3rd world… supporting One Million Visionaries just like Clovis… can we really change the world? Do we even have a glimpse of how quickly we could create a world that really works for everyone? Organizations and individuals alike are already stepping forward to join forces in manifesting this vision. It’s not a Vision Force thing. It’s much bigger than that. It’s simply time.

We wish to acknowledge and thank every single person and organization that has chosen to stand with and for Clovis and all our African visionary friends. This is just the beginning! Together we really can create a future where all people are honored as creative, conscious beings… a world where we’re free inside and outside to live powerfully, and where it’s just natural to do so… a world where our best efforts go to collaborate creating a world that works for all, rather than fighting to enforce our individual views on others…

News, Visionaries, Visionary Mind | 1 Comment | February 7th, 2007

All too often we find ourselves taking positions about the things we care about, concluding which strategy is right and which is wrong. Who doesn’t want peace and progress for example? While so many of us stand for such values, we become divided on how to attain them. One subject that divides so many of us is the issue of government’s role in binging about a better future.

I find Michael Strong’s writings at FLOW are always inspiring. As I see it, Michael is helping to debunk what I see are longstanding myths, such as it is governments that possess the most power to bring about positive change in the world.

We see it so often. Someone becomes impassioned about a cause, and immediately they turn to the government in hopes that a new law or regulation will enforce the positive change they seek. Eventually, such change agents tend to become resigned and cynical, as they witness goverments, especially democratic governments, operate via compromise. Still, political battles are exciting and a source of energy for many change agents, who although they see little forward progress from their government, enjoy the stimulataion of the competitive, political arena.

While we do need visionaries in politics, who can revolutionize our systems in a way that really works, the sad reality is that many brilliant, passionate change agents and would-be visionaries become bogged down in the political quagmire, and gradually devolve into positionary thinking. Postionary thinking makes them less and less compassionate, courageous and able to think in a visionary way, and they gradually become more a part of the problem than a part of the solution. FLOW is calling such change agents to step forward and “criticize by creating.” For we can bring about the positive change we seek in the world, and we have more power to do this outside of the political arena than we realize.

I recommend that individuals who notice their spirit and vision being sucked into the downward spiral of positionary thinking, 1) enroll in the Visionary Mind Shifts course (free), and 2) start reading Michael Strong’s writings at FLOW.

Those wishing to discuss FLOW ideas, should join their community at Zaadz.