I am on an incredibly steep learning curve during the process of bringing the vision of the Community House Network into reality. There are many pieces and moving parts. All of these serve our goal of helping people become empowered to share their gifts, be self-determined, and live their best life.
I have often spoken about the Shop-Co-op as a shining point in the project, and yet it has also been the part where I have encountered the most false starts. I have hired two professional carpenters, but neither of them could devote the time necessary. If I were to hire them for their typical fee, it would be prohibitive. We have made do, and it worked well for a bit, but now we are on an entirely volunteer staff, and I am just not equipped to handle the demands of working with power tools.
So, things need to change. Is this change of direction the right move? Am I losing focus of our mission? Bottom line, is this a pivot responsive to the needs of our community, or is it mission creep, taking the easy way out? What is the difference between a pivot and mission creep?
In our first conversation for entrepreneurs in the lecture series "If I Knew Then" I talked with my brother, Jim Larrison, founder of Dynamic Signal about how you start a business and his tip for entrepreneurs. He talked a little about pivoting in his plans as new information was made available. If you cannot adapt you will die.
In an interview with Manny Rodriguez who directs the start-up Revolution Workshop, he talks about Mission Creep, where we get away from the mission because of other opportunities that crop up and in fact we head off in a completely different direction without even wanting to do so.
In fact there has been mission creep going on for the past few months. Right now, the garage has been filled up with donations of clothing since our failed rummage sale. We didn't want to get rid of everything so we decided to use the lure of free stuff to try to build our connections in the neighborhood. It didn't work. Now the space is just cluttered and useless. Clearly, the giving away of clothes is also not aligned with our mission of empowering people be direct their own lives.
Then the idea came to turn it into a little stage space. There were several ideas that led to this.
First, over the past two years, I have been dabbling in song writing, and this past month I started a Free Music Collaborative as a way of sharing songs I had written and creating a space for other musicians and song writers to also share their work. The details are still being fleshed out. But, the idea of performing and sharing them with an audience, and also encouraging others to share their works is living in me. A stage space would be amazing to do this, and since the garage is not being used...you get the idea.
Then, for those who have been following our monthly theme here, it is all about writing. Two weeks ago, Marissa led us using a prompt and that stimulated a long lost interest in creative writing, instead of just academic or non-fiction. From this I started working on a play, a musical in fact.
When I let Chevy know we had to go to an all volunteer staff he took it well, and immediately started helping in the garage. Then the kids came by and they started enacting some scenes from a story they were developing. They had characters, and started writing a rap. None of them have shown as much interest in doing carpentry as they have shown in doing some sort of performance.
So I had to ask myself, is this in alignment with our mission? The answer is yes. More on this later.
It has been several months since I last posted in our journal. Due to our lack of fundraising success, we have had to move to an all volunteer staff. This is probably how I should have started in the beginning, but I was excited to have a staff at all. We now have several people who have been regular participants in our programming who are willing to do more.
Marissa Fandel has been an incredible help, providing both hands-on support, as well as networking. She has also helped with bringing more clarity towards our vision. We have asked her to become a member of our board of directors, and so I am excited to have her bring her genius to the table.
We also have long time participants in our programming. One such member is DJuana Lucas, who has seen clearly how to create supports for our recovery community through developing resource pages. She has also joined our board and so be prepared to see more information for those who want to join us on this amazing path of recovery.
Progress doesn't look like what I thought it would, and yet, it feels good to be at this point in our development. Stay tuned for more news from the frontlines.
An Idealist-Realist. Striving to Bring those Idealistic Dreams into Reality.