DREAM DAY

The design, creation and execution of Dream Day with The Future Project was an inspirational launching point for what would one day become, the Experience Method. I dare you to watch this video and not be moved. In the weeks following, when you hear that the halls of the Future Schools are echoing with talk of Dream Day, dreams, new projects and awesome Future Coaches…you know they did not sit in an auditorium waiting for their name to be called:) That is not how it went down. It was four hours of you are special, you are awesome, you are loved and YOU are going to be GREAT.

The Future Project (New York, New Haven and DC) featuring Dream Directors: John-Michael Parker, Laura Winnick, Tim Shriver, Kleaver Cruz, Shantae Edwards, Maritza Alracon, Christian Shaboo and Frank Brady.

WITH Future Fellows and Future Coaches meeting for the very first time.

THIS is the Extraordinary Experience from which it all begins…

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LAUNCHING: Experience Method

Your experience on this planet is a privilege and should be intentionally designed

The Experience Method’s mission is to transform the condition of humanity to a state of widespread aliveness, creativity, freedom and joy, through the ubiquity of extraordinary experiences. The experience of being alive no longer something you simply survive, but a magical place where your needs are met and you move through life with ease.

The foundation of Experience Method is creating a conversation around the intentionality of experience; a commitment to chronic aliveness for all human beings and supporting the intrinsic value of the human spirit. Founder, Megan Janel Zimmer, has made it her own personal mission to create positive, transformative intentionality about the way you experience the world. When you are taken care of, when your needs are being met, when you are not worried/trying to figure out/confused you move through life with ease.

These results are achieved through a commitment to Extraordinary Experiences. We live in a world where almost all of our experiences are mediocre to poor. Mediocrity diminishes our aliveness, it tells us subconsciously, exactly how important and valued we are. Yet, it is possible for all experiences to operate on the level of extraordinary to superior. Ultimate life-changing experiences should not be limited to every few months or years, they should happen everyday. We remain unaware that the extraordinary is just within reach.

Experience design is an emerging discipline, so integrated that it can incorporate cognitive and perceptual psychology, linguistics, architecture, product design, theater, fine art, information design, brand strategy, interaction design, service design, and design thinking. This art form has limitless application across industries and lifestyles. What if even a small awareness of this integration was permanently incorporated into our everyday experience? We are living in a time of transformation.

Experience Method is playing a big game, to champion the intentionality of experience throughout the world. With the creation of a consulting firm that will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, a workshop series that will teach experience design, and a corporate initiative to infiltrate the consumer-facing world, we will begin to effect the lives of millions of people in an astonishingly short period of time. It will become standard practice that all experiences are well-thought out designs, with the intention to produce specific feelings and an overall state of aliveness.

The Experience Method’s goal is to create this possibility for all of humanity; experiences are 100% about people. No matter who you are, you can practice experience design in both your personal and professional life. The Experience Project is the possibility of feeling safe, important, special, respected, valued and loved, every moment of your life.

Growth/Defeat – Life/Death [or the day I took the GMAT]

No. This post is not about the horrors of standardized testing. I could write a whole book about that! Studying 4-5 hours a day for 2 months straight, cramming fractions, number properties and algebra into my head after 10 years without it and then being forced todoitallreallyreallyfastunder30minutes withthepressureofyourfuturehanginginthebalance. It is one the great joys in life. But what I really wanted to talk about was how both of these things: The Growth/Defeat and LIFE/DEATH all hit me at exactly the same time. I had a teacher at some test intro tell us to assume that it is going to rain, the train will be late, we will have a stomachache and our boyfriend will break up with us on the day of our test. That way, when only one or two of those things happen…we won’t be thrown off.

Well, I tried everything in my power to control every possible variable. But death, was not one I could get my hands on. My grandfather who had been suffering from Alzheimers for the past two years, started dying a few days before my test. I mention this part, because it turns out that the dying was way worse than than the death. To watch someone die is one of the hardest things I have ever done; the pain, uncertainty and helplessness are all consuming. I should have been taking practice tests and memorizing geometry formulas, but I couldn’t seem to get an emotional grip on the pressure of the test and the only grandfather I’ve ever known slowly slipping away. Honestly, could not tell if my tears were about my test or about him. I think I tried to make them about the test, because that felt more like it was within my control. But really, crying is not my normal reaction to pressure, if anything, it would manifest as anxiety…definitely not tears. I believe it was a combination of how hard I had been pushing myself, trying hard not to break under the self-inflicted pressure and then having something else break the dam wide open.

I am lucky enough to have extremely perceptive and ambitious friends and family. In that, I did not receive the typical platitudes on how to deal with this situation. In a nutshell, I was told that I needed to view this as a test and an opportunity to grow. Obviously, this difficult and intimidating test and subsequent MBA applications were not enough, so the universe added on. Of course, in my phone call emotional state this all seemed ridiculous. In feeling so helpless, it seemed inconceivable that I could just decide not to let this beat me. But the next day, a family member reassured me, after a frustrating practice test; ‘that my brilliance and intelligence do not lie in the quantifiable, I am an exceptional critical thinker despite what this test may say and I analyze down to the last logical detail. I am a creative person, I do it intuitively.’ Light bulb. Who knows what got through to me in that moment, but I could see that that was true. I could not have explained my brain’s process to anyone else, but to have someone on the outside do it, brought everything into focus. It is true. I solve problems with an innate logical creativity that can’t be quantified in any standard system of measurement. I can barely explain it to myself. Insight. Awesome. So no more trying to conform to the test, we’re just going to do our best and though it is only a fractional measure of my capability and potential, it is still something I have to do. I’ll do the rest…my way.

When my grandfather passed away in sleep, and I was now home at my parent’s, my father came downstairs at 6:30am to tell me the news. This was also a moment of peace. The strain and struggle were over, the worry and anguish were gone. We simply had to deal with the empty space. He died at home, with his family around him, never taken to the hospital or hooked up to machines, just fell asleep and didn’t wake up again. It is kind of the way I think we would all like to go, at 87 surrounded by family, very little pain and simply drift away in sleep. We all hope that we do not have to go before our time, but I think we all knew that this was his.

I still had to block out a lot of this in order to finish studying and prepare for test day. I certainly did not put in the effort that I had planned…which in hindsight was probably overkill anyway. So on a rainy Tuesday I spent the day at a test center and on that windy Thursday I went to a funeral. This is definitely not how I expected December to go, but I was forced to make a choice. I had to decide to grow. In any situation where you are tested, the choices come down to defeat or growth.

I choose to grow.

Your Misfit,

Megan

Henry Ford to Steve Jobs

Lately, I have found myself gravitating towards these two men and their profound influence. I also just happen to be reading their autobiography and biography simultaneously. On purpose. The reasoning behind this came from a recent discovery that a quote/idea that I had been crediting to Steve Jobs, was originally said by Henry Ford! This blew my mind. I came to find through a perusal of internet facts that most modern day business ideas and standards of innovation are all a throw back to Henry Ford. Pardon if this knowledge is widely common and I have simply been in the dark…but WOW. The amazing thing is, I really don’t think that most people realize what they are doing; they may never have even read about Henry Ford, but are paraphrasing and re-quoting him nonetheless. I believe that my error is also common, as Henry Ford did not have the internet, YouTube or Twitter. All of his ideas are preserved in only a few literary tomes; and as wonderful as books are, unless they are on the New York Times Bestseller List, they do not have an expansive reach. (and even then)

I am only on the very first chapters of both biographies, Steve Jobs and My Life and Work (free on your Kindle btw!) But I am excited to read about them both. At this moment, of course, I am more familiar with the life and work of Steve Jobs, as he is a modern and wide-spread phenomenon. In terms of the book, from what I have digested so far, I can tell you with certainty that I identify with Steve Jobs, he is an inspiration to me, in the way in which someone who speaks your language and repeats your thoughts can underscore and enhance your belief and ability to pull them forward. He was far from a perfect man, manager or product developer; but he had a vision, a really kick ass vision and a vision the he himself didn’t even fully understand the magnitude of. He screwed it up, a bunch of times; made the wrong choices, said the wrong things…but he was a passionate, unique and brilliant human being who constantly saw beyond the status quo. People call him a genius, they do not call him a saint. I dream that someday, the world will say even a minor offshoot of that, about me (though his genius and mine do not begin to compare).

Here are a few nuggets that have already caught my eye:

“Almost any one can think up an idea. The thing that counts is developing it into a practical product.”—Guess who?….Henry Ford

Why I love the guy:

“As things are now organized, I could, were I thinking only selfishly, ask for no change. If I merely want money the present system is alright; it gives money in plenty to me. But I am thinking of service. The present system does not permit of the best service because it encourages every kind of waste–it keeps many men from getting the full return from service. And it is going nowwhere. It is all a matter of better planning and adjustment.” -Henry Ford

“Some mistakes will be made along the way, but that’s good, because at least some decisions are being made.” -Steve Jobs

I say, let’s all try a little bit harder to embrace our inner crazy, misfit, rebel and reject the status quo. Because…

“Those people crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”               –  Apple II/Think Different

Your Rebel,

Megan

Let’s Try and Be Everything Shall We?

I used to be one of those people you envy. One of those people who was so certain of what they were going to do with their life that there were no questions. Most people start to try and figure out this kind of thing in high school, in preparation for declaring a college major. I knew when I was 10 years old. Could have told you exactly what I was going to do, who I was going to be and even where I was going to go to school (NYU! TISCH!). What is hyper-strange about me, is that as time progressed, I became less and less sure. I feel like this is the opposite of the way it usually works. No kid knows for sure what they want to do at 10, but they figure it out along the way and there you go.

At 17, when first applying to NYU, Tisch School of the Arts I realized that I didn’t want to be a performer. I had loved it since I first learned to talk, but it wasn’t the right career for me. I needed to DO to CONTROL and to DECIDE, three things that are not inherently up to you as an actor/singer etc. Existential crisis. While in crisis and trying to find out what was the right fit for me, I discovered directing. It is hard for me to believe looking back on it that this had not occurred to me before. I applied to NYU as a theater director and in my first semester, also discovered art history. And…now I’m a double major.

This will turn into a full length essay if I detail everything I’ve done since then. But suffice it to say, I have never had a linear career path. More like the trajectory of a ping pong ball. This however, is not for lack of focus. That I have always had. Passion is also something never lacking. So why can’t I just be like the normal people and pick one thing to do for the rest of my life? Well, I will tell you.

Recently, I was sitting at Dogpatch Labs and someone waiting to meet with another DP resident started up a conversation and in the process asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” I think I gave a slightly obscure answer at the time, but the question made me think. Do you know what my greatest fear is? DOING THE SAME THING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I can’t commit the next 10 years to anything, I do not care how cool, awesome or ridiculously high paying you are. Does this make me interesting and awesome? Or just a girl with commitment issues?

I recently reached a point of deciding what exactly I want to do next. I have about four or five options that I can think of, and those options have options. At the encouragement of a friend, I end up making myself a career-oriented bucket list. What are all the end points that I would desire (not the end-end, but stopping points). At this juncture I am sure that you will not be surprised by the fact that…I needed a second sheet of paper. After my “Oy, holy crap” moment, I relay this news to the same friend who replied with “Awesome.” (love that some people in my life are as crazy as me). When I replied with my concern about what it all meant…he wisely countered with “If it were easy more people would do it.”

I want to be and do everything. Not everything, everything (no desire be the a doctor OR a lawyer) but enough everything to justify the hyperbole. However, my everythings fall under the following themes:  art, theater, education, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, entertainment and changing the world.  If you would like to be involved in (see About) or hire me for (girl’s gotta eat) the next thing that I will be or do, let’s talk. Your timing is perfect.

“If it’s not at least a little bit impossible, I’m bored” – Me

M

My First Crazy Idea

I have had many crazy ideas in my lifetime. Starting around the time I learned to crawl, with a steady progression as the motor skills developed. Some of them good and a lot of them terrible. But even the terrible ones still turned out okay (no deaths or injuries to speak of), because what I learned was that ‘that doesn’t work’. At lot of the time, my crazy ideas and dreams came from wishing to make the world work, the way that I thought it should, that makes the most sense to me. This usually blew up in my face, of course; because as a child and adolescent I didn’t really have the power to make people listen (especially in Catholic school, cause they don’t change for nothing), and also just didn’t understand why they didn’t understand me.

To me the world is a place of infinite change and that there is always a better way to do something than the way you are doing it now. I tried to solve everything from school parking to social interactions to the awful stage direction in the Spring Musical; it didn’t matter what it was, if I saw a better, more efficient, more logical solution…I would become passionate about it, which usually lead to frustration because the nuns wouldn’t listen, the principal (aka musical director) took great offense to my suggestions and because changing the way people interacted socially in High School…is not something you are ever gonna change; teenagers are teenagers!  Crazy me.

I am not sure if it has been this way my entire life or if it was something that became a well-refined philosophy in directing school, but I firmly believe that every problem has a solution…we just haven’t thought of it yet. Just because you don’t know how to do it now…doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Most people don’t see the world this way and I may have just gotten used to/numb to the feeling of disappointment or frustration. Or it is simply the fact that these feelings no longer matter; I have something bigger in mind.

There are a couple of projects and plans (aka crazy ideas)  currently in the “Megan Janel Zimmer pipeline”, some of which are just problems, without solutions (yet). See the ABOUT page for details. So this is a place where I will likely try and work these problems out and throw in a random observation or two. I will also be attempting to teach myself Ruby on Rails and re-teach myself Algebra (it’s been 10 years). Let’s see where it goes. If there is a universe stumping question that you’d like to see me address…send it my way. Even so far as, “Who is John Galt?”

Thanks for stopping by!

Megan

 

P.S. Posts previous to this one were written on another blog (but by me!), as my favorites, I decided to move them over here. :)

Holding a Mirror Up to Nature

ARCHIVED June 6, 2011

Going to the theater is nothing like going to the movies, but other than the obvious, it is often difficult to explain why. Today, I might try. On Sunday afternoon I went to see a Poetic Theater Productions piece called GOLIATH, which is being presented as part of the Planet Connections Festival. The reason I went was to offer mutual support to the show’s director, Alex Mallory, who is one of the first early adopters of Theater Connects. I had never met Alex in person, nor seen any of her work, so I was interested and excited to see what this would become.

Sunday was a theatrical experience; one I am not likely to forget anytime soon. My experience of GOLIATH reminded me in full force the power of theater in certain circumstances and the range of experiences had by each individual audience member. Now, sometimes theater (and art in general) is just bad and the whole audience is bored and in pain; nothing is perfect, it happens. To be fair, I was a little bit afraid of what would happen here, poetry has a slightly more exponential ability to be dull when it is bad. Just like listening to actors read Shakespeare who also have no idea what they are actually talking about, which leaves you confused, and yes bored.

But Sunday was not one of those days, because for me, Megan Janel Zimmer, GOLIATH was a magical transcending powerful experience. If I must admit, I was actually in tears about 10 minutes into the play, all the while thinking to myself….”seriously Megan? It just started? And your already a basket case? What?!?” It was true. [So lucky for all of you there are still 4 more performances].

Now back on topic, the reason that this show affected me so much was that it held a very harsh, accurate and well-acted mirror up to the experiences of my own life and lives of those closest to me. I saw my mother, I saw my brother, I saw my father and I even saw me. The power of the theater is that you are not voyeuristically watching someone in another world experience a story (like in the movies), but you are GOING through that experience with that other human being who standing anywhere from 12 inches to 50 ft in front of you and unless you are made of stone it affects you the same way everything that happens to you or the people around you does on a daily basis. I cannot expect that every audience member had the same experience that I did, how could they? But the fact that a mirror was held up to nature, a mere 6 ft from my chair, had me praying I did not look like a raccoon when the lights came up.

I do not write reviews, but suffice it to say, GOLIATH was beautiful. The characters were real, while speaking in a poetic ensemble that made everything they said, more powerful. The set is also made of 3 milk crates and some paper. In the discussion period afterward, I had my turn to speak and the first thing that I said was “All I keep thinking is ‘I wish I could bring my family to see this.’ Because the words spoken by “the mother”, were quite close to verbatim the words my mother also said when her son was shipped off to war and the words that weren’t, were even more powerful because I knew in my heart that those were the things she was thinking.” (I believe this is the first time I cried) My father never spoke the way this “father” did, but he certainly expected my brother to grow up, man up and shed all weakness, insanely proud of him when he enlisted. Anyway, I could go on and on, but don’t have the space, nor do I want to give away the story.

Theater holds a mirror up to nature. When it does so for you, it is one of the most powerful things you can ever hope to experience. We are not all the same, but a mirror reflecting back at one, is a portal for the other.

Go see GOLIATH