My name is Kevin Votaw and I’m just a regular guy on a mission in 2018 to live a life north of happy through the Flow Genome Project’s Hedonic Calendaring framework. In other words, I am after my Metier: a life that I love and that loves me back.
This is a very special post for both myself and my dearest friend, mentor, and co-founder of Metier, Jordan Herman. Today we collaborated on a project that realizes the words of Drucker above: we filled out job applications for the jobs we created.
You see, if you haven’t heard already, Jordan and I are on a mission to open-source flow in education through our program Metier, a grades 5–8 experiential learning program that teaches students to be the truest, happiest, and greatest versions of themselves in a career field that makes them come alive.
Though we have a long ways to go, we have been blessed with the opportunity to apply for and eventually interview and accept positions at the amazing National Joint Powers Alliance as full-time Metier Education Consultants.
Three years after reading The Rise of Superman and dreaming of what flow in education would look like; three years of writing Morning Pages forcing the ideas and the solutions to come; and three years of failing forward, failing better, and failing fast has changed everything for Jordan and me (and our families).
While my typical Hedonic Calendar adventures are active and outdoors, for February Microadventure, a monthly moment that gets you into flow, Jordan and I did what we’ve done time after time: we put our brains together on a shared goal, capitalized on our strengths, and dreamed bigger.
Microadventure #2 Sherlock Recipe:
1.Pre-Performance Priming — the four horseman of ecstatic experiences done immediately prior to an activity.
- Breathe — 5 rounds of Box Breathing (3 counts)
- Fuel — 8oz. coffee with cinammon, Stevia, & creamer
- Movement — N/A
- Music — 2000s Hip Hop on Pandora
2. Kotler (Kaizen, Task, Release) — the easy win, the activity, and the release when the struggle comes into play.
- Kaizen — outlined note cards with Jordan for each section
- Task — fill out the written portions of our Metier positions
- Release — see the “flow” and “Stoke” sections.
3. Flow (profile/loci/topical/triggers) — the knobs and levers, or preconditions that must be present in order for flow to show up.
- Profiles = Deep Thinker macro & Hard Charger micro
- Loci = self
- Topical = mental
- Triggers (10)= novelty, unpredictability (environmental); serious concentration, shared clear goals, good communication, familiarity, equal participation and skill level, close listening, & always say yes (social); creative (creative)
4. Post-Performance Positioning (Pv3) — the reflection, the score, and the adjustments on the Hedonic Calendar event (see below).
Three Awesome Things — three amazing things that happened during our Microadventure
- Watched our kids play together in the basement (Emma, Cooper, Carter, & Brady).
- Brainstormed, problem-solved, and executed our applications.
- Discussed our celebratory get-together once our positions are made official.
Adolescent Emoji Flow Scale-II
For flow, I scored a 10/10. Whenever Jordan and I get together, we are literally a machine of social flow triggers. We take full advantage of each one, use the whiteboard effect, and always seem to produce magic whatever it is. As soon as we get moving, time flies by and we get what we need to done. I cannot say enough about the man that has changed my life. It is truly a privilege to be on this journey together.
For fun, I would score our Metier Education Consultant brainstorming and writing session a 9/10. Though it might seem masochistic, I love the creative constraints of seemingly “boring” writing challenges such as grants, cover letters, and applications. Coming up with crafty phrases was and is something that brings me joy and based on Jordan’s feedback, was aplenty today.
For feeling, I only got a 3/10. Having gone on multiple Artist Dates now and tweaking my Hedonic Calendar with the flow triggers, I didn’t get the same rush as I have on any of the moments I’ve had thus far. Perhaps it was far too much stimuli with four kids running around and the vast difference in working conditions, but I didn’t feel energized at the end, just glad to be done. That is in no way a negative reflection on our kids or on Jordan, just is what it is.
Derek Sivers’ Stoplight Directional Test
Adding up my scores, where do I fall on the Derek Sivers’ Stoplight Directional Test?
- A “21–30” means “Go!” you’re in the green: This experience made me come alive! It gave me a TON of flow, fun, and feeling!
- A “11–20” means “Whoa!” you’re in the yellow: This experience wasn’t bad and a little fun, but it didn’t make me come alive.
- A “0–10” means “No!” you’re in the red: This experience didn’t make me come alive at all: little to no focus, fun, or feeling.
Overall, I scored a 22/30, a green score on the Sivers’ Stoplight Test, but I believe my lowest score to date. The lack of energy/feeling at the tale end of the Adolescent Emoji Flow Scale-II was the biggest drainer and one I’ll examine next.
Just like stoking a fire, the Stoke portion within the Post-Performance Positioning (Pv3) are the flow trigger adjustments you make based on what went well and what you’d change the next time you’re out.
All right a chance to really dig in on what I change for next time.
First, what went well during this Microadventure? Obviously spending time with Jordan working on a shared, clear goal that has some strong emotion tied to it as this job position symbolizes three years of work and will be a major leap of faith as we aim to feed our young families on the program we created. Our familiarity and communication are a boon to any day as well.
What would I do differently on this or a future Microadventure? Looking at it, I would isolate and have some sense of closure. Though I invited him and knew we’d have all four kids in my basement, I would reduce our “team” down and then be sure to finish our goal (we didn’t actually submit our applications). Next time we’ll celebrate somehow. That would boost my feeling score exponentially.
Conclusion (List what’s next)
Next up is the month of March! Hard to believe. With over 10 more inches of snow in Brainerd, Minnesota, and “mild” temperatures in the 30s, I’ll see if I can sneak in one or two more snowshoe rucks, my anchor activity for the 13-week winter season before the snow melts.
I am grateful to my family, particularly my wife Shae for putting up with all my ideas; my kids for inspiring me to create the systems so that they can find their Metiers; my parents for their love and encouragement; Jordan of course and his wife for sharing him with me; my beloved mentor and principal Mr. Scott Doss, the experience architect of The Cube School Jim Stephens, Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal, Don Wettrick, Tim Ferriss, Brett McKay, of course the great folks at NJPA for the opportunity, and everyone else for making this kid from Coon Rapids dream a reality.
P.S. — If you would like to plan your own Hedonic Calendar using the Sherlock recipe, check out the infographic I put together.