You can make change happen from anywhere

I hope by now you’ve had the chance to take at least one of the amazing +Acumen courses we have developed.

If so, you’re one of more than 250,000 people in more than 170 countries who has seen the power of these courses, and how their structure – group-based learning focused on real-world action – creates a powerful sense of learning and of community.

The course offering keeps growing, and one of our most bang-for-your-buck courses (where “buck” = your effort, since the course is free) is our Storytelling for Change course, which starts on June 21st.  We also have an amazing and growing lineup of on demand Master Classes, and I can promise that spending 2-3 hours of your time hearing the distilled wisdom of folks like Seth Godin, Elizabeth Gilbert, or Krista Tippet will help you move your important work forward.

I also wanted to let you know about a unique opportunity that will only be available for the next two weeks.

The +Acumen team is recruiting for a limited number of spots in the +Acumen Corps. This a special community for the most dedicated +Acumen students and change-makers – individuals who are committed to growing and using their skills to tackle problems of poverty and social justice. This is a place for learners and doers to keep on learning and doing, and to help others on their journey.

Members of the +Acumen Corps will have access to custom online workshops, to thought leaders from the Acumen community, to exclusive job openings and volunteering opportunities, and to chances to highlight your projects and receive support.

This is an amazing opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a network that is going to do important things in the world.

You can learn more here. And you or someone you know can apply here.

I hope you’ll join us. And please spread the word.

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A touch of genius

By all reports, one of the most celebrated talks at this year’s TED conference was by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  Elizabeth starts with a compelling question she gets asked a lot lately, “Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to be able to top that?  Aren’t you afraid you’re going keep writing for your whole life and you’re never again going to create a book that anyone in the world cares about…at all….ever again?!”

Her answer is at times whimsical, at times profound, and I won’t try to do it justice except to summarize that she goes back to ancient Greece to revive the idea of daemons, external manifestations of genius or creativity that are outside and separate from us, who grab or touch us at some times and for some unknowable reasons.

Elizabeth Gilbert says that this construct gives her  some solace.  She (and we) can toil away all we want, but we don’t actually control when genius will visit us or our work.

This takes some of the pressure off, but implicit in what she’s saying is that you absolutely have to do the toiling.  That part isn’t optional, it’s necessary.  It just happens not to be sufficient.

More important still, it seems to me, you have to toil at the right things.  The daemon (genius) of a great book – or a great performance, a great presentation, a great pitch, a great product – by definition will only visit the person who is toiling away and putting their heart and soul into what they are creating.

With so much upheaval in the world right now, and so many tools at your disposal, now’s a good time to ask yourself: if I keep toiling at this and everything goes great, where will I be in 5 or 10 years time?

Enjoy the talk.

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