Passion. Purpose. Promise. Pursuit. by Leslie Jensen-Inman
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [0:11] OK, so thank you all for having me here today for this.
[Transformers theme plays]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [0:33] It's true. Yeah, a little Transformers old school to get us started this afternoon. So how are you all doing? Good. Have you still got some energy left?
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [0:40] Oh, that's excellent. I see everyone is sort of spread out. It's very cool to see so many layers of geeks.
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [1:11] I like it a lot. So I wanted to start out by telling you a little story. It's about a young girl. When I was four years old, I really, really, really wanted to be a superhero. And I had these things -- and I don' think maybe you had here, but they were called Underoos. Anyone know what I'm talking about? A couple of people. Well, they were these -- they were underwear that looked like your favorite superhero.
[1:28] So here's the thing. I ran around in these all the time. I went to my house, my grandparent's house, the neighbor's house, in the yard and I was just running around in my Wonder Woman Underoos -- remember, I was just four years old. Not doing it so much these days.
[1:55] Unfortunately there are no photos of me doing this, and maybe I should say fortunately for my sake, because then I couldn't leave this slide blank. I have my parents to thank for that because they really didn't believe in taking pictures of their kids running around in their underwear, so "Yay, mom and dad for being awesome!" Except there is no proof that this actually ever happened, you're just going to have to trust me.
[2:02] But luckily there are some people who documented this experience. Like this person's parents.
[Wonder Woman theme plays]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [2:16] I think they must have been so cool because they have crowns and bangles and Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso of Truth -- which is truly awesomeness, right?
[2:45] I was really sad to find out -- I was like crushed to find out -- that there was no superhero school. There was no place I could learn how to go save the world. This was really sad for me. So I was destined to -- like everyone else in the U.S. -- to ride our yellow buses to school and I was destined to learn my ABCs and 123s with the rest of the world.
[3:03] I really wanted to solve crime and save the world, but I guess being able to read and write and do math can help with that. So if I wanted to save the world but there was no school on how to do this, what are you supposed to do?
[3:18] As a child, my mother instilled in me some really important lessons. And she was a really great person and she taught me that every day, that I should wake up knowing that I am going to conduct three good deeds.
[3:28] And so every day from being very young, from as long as I can remember, I think, "OK, today I'm going to wake up and I have..." Like I'd wake up in bed and I go, "OK, what's -- what am I going to do today?"
[3:45] Sometimes you don't know a good deed you might do and sometimes you're like, "That is something I can take care of. There is an email I can send out to make someone happy. I can bring coffee to my colleague who's having a rough day." And you know, it's being good and sharing that.
[4:02] Random acts of kindness actually helped me have a sense of responsibility. I knew that life wasn't just about me and that it was important for me to give back to everyone else around me.
[4:22] There's this really great Liberty Mutual ad. Liberty Mutual is an insurance company, and I don't have stock in them. I don't -- you know, I have nothing to do with them except I really like their ad. So let's take a minute and watch some examples of some random acts of kindness that strangers are doing for one another.
[Liberty Mutual ad plays]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [5:42] That commercial gives me chills. The first time I saw it, I go, "Wow! Finally someone is using advertising to showcase simple acts of random acts of kindness." And they really are simple. Like I said, it could be bringing somebody coffee or tea or sharing an umbrella on a rainy day. Holding the door open when someone has full hands.
[5:53] You know, all of these things are really simple. And they're something we can do every day of our lives to -- without much effort at all -- to help others and to help ourselves.
[6:10] I really believe in doing good and I believe that when you do good, it's not just about your words, because I can stand up here and tell you, "Yeah, go do good." And I could say, "Yeah, I'm doing good." But until you see those actions, the words are kind of hollow.
[6:29] I think it's important to amp it up a bit and intend your goodness. To really not just think of these random acts of kindness, but also to take it to the next level. To be like, "OK, I can intend my goodness. I can live life with some intentionality."
[6:42] Which is really exciting because you can think, "This is what I'm going to do today to make my life better, to make others lives better, to make the world better." Whatever your goals are, you can just take it from random to intentional.
[6:58] And so I created this idea of this map for awesomeness because I think it's good to have a map of where you're going to go, and "awesomeness" is just an awesome word. So my map for awesomeness is basically a superhero code of conduct.
[7:20] I'm pretty sure that if I went to superhero school, if there was such a thing and I was wearing a cape instead of the bus that this is what the map would look like. And there are four Ps to this map. The first P is passion, and passion leads to purpose, and purpose leads to promise, and promise leads to a pursuit.
[7:48] Altogether they really create our map for awesomeness. And that is what's really key, and we're going to delve into these steps a bit as we go through this. The first step is passion, and it's really important for us to embrace our passions. Too often, what we do in our daily lives, what we do for work, what we do for careers, can be separated from what we really love about life, what we really love about what we can do.
[8:17] It's really, really important to embrace this. Passion is just pure energy. It's just that feeling that you get, that hunger, and so it's the first P. It is that pure energy, and here's a quote that I really, really, really enjoy about passion. "Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things."
[8:34] Just think about that for a second. So without passion, your soul, it's not elevated. That sounds bad to me. I don't know about you all, but I want my soul to be elevated and filled with passion. And passion, how do you figure out what your passions are?
[8:43] Some people ask me. You know, I don't really know what I'm passionate about. My first response, that I probably don't say all the time, is like, "What do you mean? How do you not know what you are passionate about?"
[8:57] But I think it's because we're taught not necessarily to think about these things. We don't ask these kinds of questions of ourselves all of the time or even some of the time. So sometimes we need to ask ourselves questions.
[9:24] And this is kind of a set of exercises you can do by yourself or with friends or with your family or with your coworkers. It's just basically trying to figure out what's the core passion here. Some of the questions are like, "What makes you the happiest?" When was the last time you asked yourself that? What makes you happy? Not just what makes you happy, but what makes you happiest?
[9:41] And what excites you the most? What do you wake up in the morning going, "God, if I just had some time to myself I could do X?" Not really X, but something. Yeah, that's not exactly what I meant. But if you could do something really great, then what is that really great something?
[9:55] You can also ask yourself, "What do you want to spend your energy doing?" If passion is pure passion, then why not harness it and figure out where are you going to spend your time doing this energy? Where is it going to?
[10:21] Another question is, "What do you dream about doing?" Now, I would guess -- now, if you're sitting next to your boss or colleagues, maybe not answer this out loud or even with physical cues -- but I would imagine that some of us or all of us during our days at some point in our careers has said, "Gosh, this is not what I thought I'd be doing."
[10:38] And you catch yourself daydreaming. And that moment where you're daydreaming, and it goes to something like, "Gosh, I wish I could do -- I wish I could do front end development, but I'm just doing design." Or, "I wish I could design, but you know, I'm writing HTML."
[10:55] It just, kind of figure out where you want to be and what do you catches yourself dreaming about. And actually give your time -- give yourself time to actually dream. You know, daydreaming -- I'm a professor as well, and you know, you kind of admonish students for daydreaming.
Not so much in my class, they get kind of timed to daydream because I think it's a really important part of the creative process. So you do this by yourself or you do this with people that she trusts that the big [indecipherable 0: [11:14] 11:09] if you are going to do this because these kinds of questions can be really tough to answer.
[11:31] But basically, you let it flow. Don't constrict the conversation. Brainstorm and just let all the ideas go, because you might not hear what you think you're going to hear, but what is said is -- it might really be what you need to hear.
[11:44] So there are a couple of keywords. I make keyword lists. This is what I do. Some people might mind map and do that, too. I do that as well, but I usually start with lists and start writing words down.
[11:56] Sometimes keywords that are associated with passion are things like "explore." For some people, they're passionate about security. They want to be secure. They're working with insecure environments.
[12:07] Some people want to have fun. I think this would be a great place to go hang out right now. I'm feeling pretty passionate about it. I probably should try to make that happen sometime soon.
[12:24] Then other people, or maybe even the same people, really believe in diversity. Not only maybe they want diverse clients or diverse co-workers, but a diversity in their day. Sometimes that roller coaster ride, those ups and downs in the day, can be really exciting.
[12:37] Then a lot of us want freedom. We want areas, opportunities for us to grow, and to travel, and to explore. Freedom is a great thing to have as part of your passion.
[12:56] What you do is you take that keyword list, and you put it aside for a minute. Because we're going to go on to the second P, which is purpose. I find purpose to be really important. All four steps are important, but I love figuring out my purpose and working with other people to find theirs.
[13:10] Purpose really helps us to define and shape our energy. If passion is all this energy, purpose gives it some focus, brings it in. What are we going to take this energy and put it towards?
[13:18] Passion is really important, but passion plus purpose is really powerful.
[13:54] So what is purpose? Purpose is a reason that something exists, right? It's why something is done. It's why something has meaning. Purpose is really intention. You're working and going through life with intention. You're taking your passion and putting it in a way and focusing it in a way which is intentional. A quote about purpose is, "Great minds have purposes. Others have wishes."
[14:13] We daydream all the time. Unless we start putting some purpose into that, they're just thoughts. They're just wishes. Which are great to have, but at some point, it's really wonderful to start putting it through this map for awesomeness and get to our last P, which we'll talk about in a few minutes.
[14:38] While we're on purpose, there are purpose questions that you can ask. Either with yourself, or with your friends, or family, or team. Whomever you're doing this with. They are questions like, "What are your priorities?" What really matters to you in life? What do you value most? Who do you want to spend your time with?
[14:54] We all make choices every day. We choose to put ourselves around certain people. If those people are helping you to hone in your passion, and to find your purpose, and to follow it, those are the kind of people you really want to be around.
[15:07] Then, again, back to the dreaming. Who do you dream about being? When I was four, I was dreaming about Wonder Woman. That didn't happen. That's OK. I still got to run around in my underwear all over the neighborhood, and that was fun.
[15:19] You're just asking yourself who do you dream about being? Again, you brainstorm, and you let it flow. No right or wrong answers. Everything just goes.
[15:27] Some of the purpose keywords are some examples from where I find my purpose.
[15:47] Learning. That's me when I was a teeny little baby. They called me Spock because my ears were so pointy. I learned at a very young age about Star Trek. That's probably why I love it so much today. Learning from a very young age with letter blocks. Learning is something that's always stayed with me.
[16:07] Community. Yes, I was a Girl Scout. Yes, I am a lifetime member. Yes, that's probably why I'm not cursing on stage. But that's me being able to connect with students that are way younger, and forming a community, and knowing that I have a responsibility to give back as much as I take. That's part of being within a community.
[16:23] Family. Even when your dad wears crazy hats. Looks at that. Man. And what on earth? This red-on-red jacket. I recently realized that he still has this coat today. And this is me. He might have had that jacket for a while.
[16:38] But family is really important to me. They keep me grounded, and they also keep me crazy. That makes for a really fun and interesting life. It reminds me of what's really important. So family, your people.
[16:55] Education. Education has always been really important to me. I really wish that my parents, maybe, had educated themselves better on a better haircut. Look at this. Holy-moley! But education's always been important.
[17:18] Citizenship is really important, as well. Yeah, that's my grand-dad, and there's me with that haircut again. Sheesh, this was bad time. I grew up in New Jersey, so these are the better photos. When I get a little bit older, the photos, my hair is huge. I don't know if you're getting any of those New Jersey TV shows over here, but it's like the higher the hair, the closer to God kind of thing.
[17:40] Citizenship is really important. It's not just about being a good national citizen. It has to be a community, again. It's also having generational citizenship. Sharing those stories from generation to generation really helps develop, for me, my purpose.
[18:05] Again, put the list aside. We don't need to think about it anymore. At least, for a little bit. Because we're going to move on to the third P. The third P is promise. You need to really foster this. It's so key to make sure that you're creating a promise that you can keep.
[18:27] That's really, really important, right? A promise is really not only a commitment to ourselves, but a commitment to others, and to the whole entire world. When you make a promise and you say those words out loud, it's kind of serious. It's a commitment. You're walking into it.
[18:53] One of the reasons my name is hyphenated is because I remember being four years old and sitting on my dad's lap talking with him. He had all girls. No boys. I said, "I'll keep the last name, dad." I remember it so much that I kept my last name and hyphenated it when I got married. Because at four years old, I understood that a promise is a commitment. Of course, I like my last name, too. So it worked out. Thank God.
[19:21] Here's a quote about promise. "Happiness is the state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievements of one's values." Again, aligning what you value and the achievements together really helps to create a promise that you can keep. When a promise is really meaningful, it's when you keep the promise.
[19:51] Combined, by our powers of passion, and purpose, we create our core values. People talk about core values a lot, so let's distill the ideas of core values a bit. This is where you take out those lists of keyword. You put them down in front of you, or you put them up on a big screen. But if any of you have this big a screen anywhere, that's pretty amazing. Your values would be really huge.
[20:03] These core values, when you take all the first three steps and you put them together, that's what we're getting at.
[20:23] The next quote is from a 1997 presentation where Steve Jobs stated Apple's core values in a very simple way. He said, "We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."
[20:46] It seems kind of fitting that this is in here today because many of us probably believe that about Steve Jobs, who said this. He did take the world and harness his passion and made it better in some ways. Some people say many ways, and some people won't. But in some way, he really worked hard to make life better.
[21:05] It can be this simple. Your core values can be stated this simply. Or they can go into something more in-depth. So Zappos, the shoe/clothing line. It's an online store. Their core values are in ten steps.
[21:40] They deliver wow through service. They embrace and drive change. They create fun and a little weirdness. They say, "Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded." Pursue growth and learning. Build open and honest relationships with communication. Build a positive team and family spirit. Do more with less. Be passionate and determined, and be humble.
[22:07] If you go to their website and you watch the little movie about their core values, you can actually hear the workers, the people that are at Zappos, talking about their favorite core values. It's kind of fun and funny. You can tell that they definitely... What's the one with the weirdness? They definitely create a little fun and a little weirdness. I encourage you to check it out.
[22:23] Your core values can be stated really simply like we saw that Steve Jobs did, or it can be more complex like this. What happens is when you're creating these core values, your promise starts to become your mantra.
[22:37] It's something you wake up every single morning, and you say it to yourself. You go to bed at night, and you say it to yourself. During the day, you say it to yourself. When you're having a hard day, you really say it to yourself. It's something that keeps you going and keeps you motivated.
[22:56] Again, what's really important about a promise is that you make it, and then you keep it. Really key. Part of keeping it is actually putting your promise into action. You really need to engage with the commitment that you've made.
[23:15] It's really, really interesting to see people. They'll get to the third part, but then they don't take that step to pursue their passion, and their purpose, and the promise that they've made. Don't be one of those. Go to the fourth step. That's where a lot of fun happens.
[23:30] You've done all this hard work. You've figured out who you are, what you want to do in life, everything. Now you get to have some fun with it. Action is how you will take your passion and your purpose and your promise, and you're going to really put it to work.
[24:07] Leslie's lasso of truth up here, yeah I'm totally wearing mine today. This is the closest I can get to Wonder Woman on stage with it being videotaped. My lasso of truth, if I were to tell you, "Put my map for awesomeness into action," it would look something like this. I am really passionate about the future of education. I am specifically really passionate about web and design education. It's something that I really believe, it's important. I think it goes back to that education and the learning and the citizenship from my youth.
[24:27] What I've really, really, really think my purpose has been is to connect people. More specifically, I connect community with academia and industry. I do this in a lot of ways, but I'm just going to show you a couple as we go through this.
[24:46] This was actually a keyword list. I was working with a group of people, and we were trying to figure out, "What are our core values?" We had one of those word lists first, and then I thought it was really funny how the word awesomeness came to be. That wasn't on the word list, but that was what we were going to be about. That was part of our core values.
[25:15] That day, and some more thinking afterwards, I decided to make this promise. I decided to make awesomeness and do good. Yeah, and I know it's totally vague, and I left it that way so I can have a life filled with multiple interests, and have variation. Part of what "Make awesomeness and do good" is to me is to pursue things like CreateAthon on Campus.
[25:46] CreateAthon on Campus is this really neat thing, and it was 24 hour creative blitz. You all might have done, anyone do like a Hack Day, like a 12 hour thing? OK, if you haven't done it, because you're either shy or you just haven't done them, get together with people, and look up what a CreateAthon is. Look up what a Hack Day is, put one together because they are so much fun. I think they become a lot of fun because nobody sleeps for over 24 hours and you're in a state of like... It's really crazy.
[26:22] These are my students, and there are also a lot of professionals around this table. We took over the entire art department within my university. It has two floors, many, many rooms. We had 34... UTCS, the school I teach at, the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga. We had 34 students, and we had 45 professionals come and volunteer their time. For over 24 hours straight, these 45 professionals worked with the students. It was pretty amazing. There was more than like a one to one ratio, which is... I mean, how cooler...
[26:49] I don't know, if I was a student, I would think, "This is like the best opportunity in the world, right? I get to work up one on one with you, or one on one with you for 24 hours? That's so cool." We were doing this in service to one of our local middle schools, and our middle schools are students about 11-14 years old, and that's where we are at the middle school in the U.S. There was 320 Dalewood Middle School students. You could see them there, they're all wearing the same shirts, and they say, "I Can".
[27:16] My students created this shirt, and the whole idea of an "I Can" campaign. There's actually a fill-in-the-blank kind of a space where each student started writing what they can do. This was really important, because literacy was really, really down at the school. We're talking fourteen year olds are reading at six and seven year old level. That's pretty much the majority of the students.
[27:29] This is a crisis. This is why I think I'm so passionate about education, because we have so much we can do pretty much universally to get things better. Also, school spirit and self pride was down.
[28:06] We started interjecting these wonderful ideas, like "You can do this!" instead of you, it's like "What can I do?" This idea really spilled over, after we were there for the 24 hours, we did a pep rally, we did all kinds of things. We were there for a couple of site visits and everything. The students afterwards, the Dalewood Middle School students, they went up to their teachers and said, "Hey, these UTC students are helping us out. Why aren't we helping ourselves?" Since then, they've actually gone in and started repainting some of the rooms themselves, and big murals, and all kinds of things.
[28:37] What's really interesting is there's 95 percent are free or reduced lunch, and what that basically means is that the government, for 95 percent of those students is actually supplementing their food because the parents and their guardians just can't afford it. Sometimes the students, their lunch is the only that they'll eat during the entire day. This is only just a few minutes away from where I teach as well, and it's just interesting to see the difference of poverty level.
[29:05] Fifty percent of these students are in foster care, which means 50 percent of them don't have a full, grounded household. That means no stability. It's kind of hard to imagine having a school and having a learning environment where 50 percent of your students don't even get the basic kind of home instructions in the basics. There's all kinds of supplemental plans, even things like dental hygiene and stuff.
[29:23] Eighty percent of these middle school students, 80 percent of those 320 students, they won't graduate high school, which is a problem in the U.S. Right now it almost takes a bachelor's degree to work at a fast food chain, that's just where we are with things.
[29:55] I looked at these students' faces, and I wondered "How is she smiling? Where is the hope?" Then I realized that superheroes, the ones that I thought I wanted to be when I was four, I realized that they're kind of everywhere. There's a video documentary, I don't know if any of you would have seen it, it was called "Waiting for Superman," anyone see it? At least one person, whoo!
[30:10] It is a really great video, it's a great documentary, if you have a chance, check it out. I think it might be on... No wait, you don't get Netflix, never mind, I won't say it. If you have a chance, check it out. It's kind of a tearjerker though, so do it with a box of tissues. Watch it.
[30:33] We had the opportunity to watch it in class. We watched a couple of different documentaries about the state of education. Jeffery Canada is one of the people in the U.S. who's doing some amazing things for schools, like in places like Harlem. It's just really incredible. This is what he had to say about hope.
Jeffery Canada video: [31:03] One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me Superman did not exist. I was a comic book reader. I read comic books, and I just love them, because even in the depths of the ghetto, you've just thought, "He's coming, I just don't know when, because he always shows up and he saves all of the good people, and they never end up..." I was reading, I don't know, maybe I was in the fourth grade, my mother, I was like, "You know Ma, do you think Superman's..." "Superman is not real."
[31:05] I was like, "He's not? What do you mean he's not?" "No, he's not real."
[31:14] She thought I was crying because it's like, "Santa Claus is not real." I was crying because there was no one coming with enough power to save us.
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [31:48] That's kind of a really powerful thought. As a kid, he wanted someone to save him. He wanted someone to save his own area. What he did is he worked really hard, and now he is saving the same kind of areas that he grew up in, which reminded me that superheroes are really everywhere. I imagine there's a whole bunch of superheroes in this room. You all do your part, or can do your part to make life a little bit better.
[32:10] What I learned through the CreateAthon on Campus event is that superheroes are principals. Principals who will take time in the middle of a pep rally to talk to the student who wanted to ask him a question. Superheroes are the teachers who, when asked what they can do, they respond that they see your light. It's because they really can.
[32:31] Superheroes are the college students that don't sleep for 24 or 36 hours because they know that they want to make a difference that they want to be a part of positive change. Then as they take their naps standing, that's actually standing up on one of the boards, I think around three or four o'clock in the morning.
[33:03] Our superheroes, they're professionals, right? You all can be superheroes. If education's something that you're passionate about, you can mostly very easily get involved. All you need to do is ask a teacher, ask a professor to engage with the students. I'll tell you, most of us will say yes in a heartbeat, because it's very overwhelming to keep up with topics that move so quickly. We also know the value of having our students meet with other professionals.
[33:17] I think students are a lot like having kids. They listen to other people more than they do their own parents. They'll listen to professionals and other professionals more than they do their actual teacher sometimes, so it's really important.
[33:43] Superheroes are also community members. They're people that come to pep rallies in the middle day, and that are like Volkswagen lawyers, but they're there to support the students. They're there to help provide money and funding, and also moral support to help get our communities back on track with important topics like education.
[33:59] I also learned that superheroes are middle school students. Now these students, they come from rough backgrounds, but they are ready to take a stand and make a difference. Like I said, they want to know what they can do, and they've put that into action already.
[34:19] Here's a video, a little bit of a pep rally. If you haven't been to a good old American pep rally, you have to see what it's little bit about. Just to let you know, in the South, we do a lot of this call and response thing. If I say, "How are you doing today?" Then you would respond...
Audience: [weak response] [34:21]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [34:23] OK, I'm going to try it again. How are you doing today?
Audience: [responds] [34:24]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [34:25] Whoo! Are you having fun today?
Audience: [34:26] Whoo!
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [34:28] Do you think you can make a positive change in the world?
Audience: [responds] [34:30]
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [34:58] OK, thank you. Thanks for not saying no. Let's take a look at Wayden, who's a Volkswagen lawyer. Volkswagen, their only U.S. plant now, manufacturing plant is in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That's a little teeny, not-known fact. We also have the fastest WiFi in the entire U.S. right now. Woohoo, Chattanooga! Here it is.
Wayden: [35:00] I am!
Audience: [35:01] I am!
Wayden: [35:02] Empowered!
Audience: [35:03] Empowered!
Wayden: [35:04] I commit!
Crowd: [35:05] I commit...
Wayden: [35:06] To giving my all.
Crowd: [35:07] To giving my all.
Wayden: [35:08] I commit...
Crowd: [35:09] I commit...
Wayden: [35:11] To listening to others.
Crowd: [35:12] To listening to others.
Wayden: [35:13] I commit...
Crowd: [35:14] I commit...
Wayden: [35:15] To sharing my ideas.
Crowd: [35:16] To sharing my ideas.
Wayden: [35:18] I commit...
Crowd: [35:19] I commit...
Wayden: [35:20] To being my best.
Crowd: [35:21] To being my best.
Wayden: [35:22] If you believe that and you agree, clap your hands.
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [35:40] So it was a great... some great moments. A lot of chill bumps through the entire process, which did last more than 24 hours, but was still on the Map for Awesomeness.
[36:02] So that's one way that I have really taken what I call the Map for Awesomeness, you know, my Superhero Code of Conduct, and put it into action. That's the stage four. That's the pursuit. That's making passion and purpose and promise come together. And it's really fulfilling.
[36:09] And now, I know you may be thinking, oh, but we're not talking about the web. I will tell you, we do websites for the school and everything else as well, and we have lots of web professionals.
[36:28] Actually, I think we might have had more. We had... we had all kinds of crazy stuff, but I just don't have final stills to show because some of it's still in the works. But we had a way for the principal to like put in the names of the students and have a whole literacy... I don't know, it was crazy, I didn't even understand all of it.
[36:39] We've got some like super programming geeks on-board, and they worked for 24 hours with my students to teach them all kinds of things that my students would actually not learn in our curriculum. It was really, really neat.
[37:16] Another way that I've taken my passion for the future of education and web and design education and taking my purpose of wanting to connect academia, community, and industry, and having my promise to myself, to others, to the world of making awesomeness and doing good. I decided to go ahead and make a company called Make Awesomeness, because well, if I'm going to talk the talk, I'd better walk the walk, and I'd better get onto this and really bring some action to the first three steps.
[37:44] I actually worked with a whole bunch of students... well, a couple... and they interned to create these wonderful books. It's just an idea I've always had. I've wanted to have books that had transparent layers that I didn't have to see the graph paper, because sometimes I get really ticked off at graph paper and I'm not always around a photocopier to make it go away. And then I wanted to sketch like how I design in Photoshop and in Illustrator, I wanted to do it in layers.
[37:56] I had this idea, and I worked with students to kind of work it out, and they worked on the website and content and all kinds of things. They learned stuff that we just don't have time to cover in class.
[38:14] It's about bringing together those different things. Obviously, this is paper design as well as just print stuff, but it's filled with web things, because they had to make the website actually work. They also learned how to do things like photo shoot and being a hand model. That was kind of fun as well.
[38:34] It's all about making awesomeness and doing good. You know, that's what I've just focused in. And I don't expect all of you to take away today and say, "Yeah, I'm going to make awesomeness and do good," but if you do, I totally don't mind you borrowing my mantra, my promise. Go ahead and do it, because it's a really fun one, because you can basically do anything with it.
[39:06] And the reason I'm telling you this is because comic books, right, our superheroes, we're sharing stories there, and I think it's really important that we all share stories together. These are a couple of my stories. And what I would really ask of you for the next... this evening, at the after party, and tomorrow, and then beyond this conference, because we have lives that go beyond, and you know, see each other next year, you guys might see each other next week, but I might not, so I'll see you on the Internet.
[39:34] But we should still share our stories with each other, because that's where like the humanity of it all kind of comes together. And so I would ask yourself, what have you been doing lately to do good? Is there anything... is there anything you really want to do and you just haven't had the chance to do? Maybe somebody here has the skill set you're missing to make an opportunity come to life that has to do with doing good and/or making awesomeness, hopefully and.
[39:48] You know, get together, share your stories, because from every time you share, you know, you're starting to create connections and movement within your spaces and with the lives of the other people that you're talking with and listening to.
[39:59] And remember, when people share stories, it is really important to listen and to respond and let them know that you're supportive of them making awesomeness and doing good.
[40:31] I was... I've been thinking, you know, I woke up this morning, and like RL, I said oh my God, my Twitter account's filled up with, you know, messages of Steve Jobs' passing. And it kind of... it really hit me. And I was thinking about a commencement speech he gave, I believe it was 2005 at Stanford, and I thought these words are so profound and so meaningful that I just wanted to share them with you just in case you haven't had a chance to see that specific video.
[41:12] He says, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking." He goes on to say, "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice." And he said, "And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
[41:37] And with that, I would say, you know, do some good. Listen to your own voice and ask yourselves, what can I do to be true to who I am, but still make a positive contribution to the world? And what can I do to make some awesomeness? Because doing good is great, but having fun and having a good time while doing it's even better.
[41:57] And like RL said this morning, he said the web is awesome because it is simple and magical and you share it with the world. It was super-cool, right? When he said this, I was like, "That's neat!" Yeah, and then I found the commons, Creative Commons. Thanks for using Creative Commons.
[42:07] And it's just so cool that we're in a space together in a time where we not only connect with people that live near us or family members, but we're reaching out way beyond.
[42:25] And so doing good and making awesomeness actually has grown exponentially. You know, when we all combine our efforts and work towards a common goal, we've seen the power that we all have as a community. We've seen people raise money for charities for like clean water in Africa.
[42:45] We've seen all kinds of things happen, but it all happens because we're all willing to give together, to communicate with each other, to share our stories, to make some awesomeness, and to enjoy the magical time that we live in. I think we forget to take the moment to just enjoy it. It's really special.
[43:10] I would ask yourselves when you're talking and you're talking tonight and tomorrow about your four Ps and the Map for Awesomeness, what are your passions? What are your purpose? What is your promise to the world? What's your promise to yourself, what's your promise to others? And what are you willing to put your time and energy to to pursue this? What are you going to act upon?
[43:22] I'd say write it down. I believe that words are very powerful. I believe spoken words have a sense of power and weight to them, but writing something down, it just sends a message to universe saying, "Hey, I'm ready to do this."
[43:38] And every time I've ever taken the time, and I do this quite a lot because this is the way my brain works, to write down a goal and to write down kind of a wish or a dream, I realize that it starts happening. It's probably because I've made a commitment, I've put it on paper, I've made it real.
[44:10] And then because I start sharing this commitment with other people, because sometimes it's really scary to do something new, to take on a new challenge, like oh my God, I might fail. Guess what? I've failed a lot, and it's OK, like I'm better for it. Failing's just part of growth. I don't even know if it's failing, it's just what we call it. It's just the icky word. Maybe we should just call it "growth moments" or something, "learning moments", and that way feel better, but it does feel a little Sunday morning TV, so maybe not.
[44:28] I want to share with you a quote from "Wonder Woman". It was actually from this issue of "Wonder Woman," which is "An Era Ends for Wonder Woman." It's issue number 62 if any of you are going to look this up.
[44:50] But in that issue, it says, "A new journey to be started. A new promise to be fulfilled. A new page to be written. Go forth this waiting world with pen in hand you young scribes. The open book awaits."
[45:36] So be creative, be adventurous, be original, and really know that you all are writing your own stories. You're creating the books in your life in which you live in. And that can be terrifying, but it's so exciting as well, because that means you have the opportunity to fill your blank pages of your book with anything you want to fill them in. And that's really cool, you know, it puts you back as the writer. You are the scribe. You're the person creating your own reality. What I would say is go forth and make awesomeness. So thank you.
Leslie Jensen-Inman: [46:07] Did I spell everything right, or did I spell something wrong? I did? Oh my gosh, that's less than awesomeness. OK, see that? See, but I paid attention, OK? In the last slide, add an extra S to awesomeness and pretend this moment never happened.
[46:18] So are there any questions that you all would like to ask, or anybody want to share a story about their making awesomeness? Anything?
[46:38] I guess not. Well, I hope you all are making awesomeness, and I hope you are doing good, and I hope that the lack of questions is just because everybody wants to go and get on with the party and the bitter balls. But thank you all for being a great audience. I look forward to talking to you later on in this conference.