This past weekend we beta tested a program for young explorers with the aim of helping them navigate the future they desire at an earlier age than we’re able to address in our Studio/E At the Hill experience. Partnering with fellow Studio/E member Jared Hanks, we combined our desires and ended up producing a whole new experience and tool in our arsenal: Studio/E GPS. GPS stands for Grounded Purpose System and, just as you would normally think of a GPS, it helps give you direction toward a future destination.
We often say that the only way to fail at a beta experience is to do everything perfectly. So, we set off with that freeing mindset many months ago. What we ended up with was spending a very full day with 24 amazing younger people. Per our Studio/E practice, the 16- to 22-year-old crowd was very diverse: they came from public and private high schools and colleges; some came from affluent families and others experience homelessness; they spanned many races and the spectrum of sexuality. We thought it important to stay true to our ethos of ensuring that we create a safe place to think freely in an arena of extreme diversity.
Without going into too much detail, we spent the day grounding them in where they’re at right now and where they’d like to be in the future. They articulated their desire statement (yes, the very same sentence that all Studio/E members walk around with) and then we guided them through a thought process that split up their lives into six dimensions of what a balanced life could look like: things like life-long growth and learning, financial lifestyles, health and wellness, relationships, physical environment and fun and recreation. They also came up with strategies as to how to move forward within these dimensions.
The Studio/E GPS participants were blow-away amazing. To say we were impressed would be a massive understatement. The honesty, the wisdom, the openness, the generosity of spirit in the room was tangible. They leaned in heroically as we threw a ton of content at them, and they were helpful in giving us exactly the kind of feedback we needed: What worked for them? Where did we miss the target? What did we do too much of and what would they like to see more of? What did we flat out miss and should consider adding in the future?
Beta days are challenging, for both those producing them and those experiencing them, and GPS was no different. But what a great challenging day we had! We’re going back to the design phase and will be working out some changes based on the direction and learnings the day presented. We plan on launching a fully fleshed out Studio/E GPS for tomorrow’s leaders soon, so stay tuned.
Many thanks to our friend and partner Jared. And thank you to the wonderful souls who came to learn and connect with one another. They were wonderful teachers … just what you need on a beta day.