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Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from Honolulu, Hawai'i 🌺
It is an absolute dream to be back here. It feels unreal that this is actually my life. It has been like coming back to life as a beginner again. I get the privilege of looking at my life again with freshened eyes.
I’m so grateful. A quick recap on my travels:
Now, let’s dive into letter 127 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
❓ Question to think about
What did I love, lack and learn from the month of September?
“Better late than never” is a mantra I have to myself. It allows me to live with patience in my life without acting on a false sense of urgency. I finally got around to processing all the experiences I lived out in September. Two of the weeks were in my childhood home in Michigan and the other two were in New York City.
Here’s what my monthly reflection process looked like before I typed it up:
What did I love?
My social buckets are overflowing
Reconnecting with my key relationships. I had a five-hour drive with my sister on labor day weekend up to Northern Michigan. We laughed and we cried together. After three years, I met up with my past client Ben Bradbury, whose podcast I produced for 9 months. Reconnecting with Amanda McCreight for her 25th birthday (mentioned more below). Feeling seen by my colleague Andy from Hawaii last summer who understands the struggles of island life.
I loved meeting my internet friends in real life (IRL). Some of these include: David Nebinski, Stew Fortier, Dan McGlinn, Brendan Stec, Lani Assaf, Sam Miller, Andrew Lucas, Issac Lien. (I want to create a mood board with pics called neVER MET JEN. )
The serendipity of meetups and thriving at salons with intellectually stimulating conversations
Saying no to drinking without shame or guilt. (An article on sobriety is in the making. Let me know if you want to help me edit it)
Dancing with my mom and dad at weddings on the dance floor. Motown and the jitterbug are one heck of a time.
Catching the bouquet at my high school best friend's wedding and realizing that this symbolizes how I am ready to marry something as a public commitment to the world.
The independent travel I had to Philadelphia and around New York City in Brooklyn.
All the walking I did. It averaged out to about 16,000 steps a day.
Enjoying the patio covered in flowers that my mom grew and nurtured during the summer
Seeing my dad light up at the Detroit Institute of Arts around his love of art.
Witnessing my sister in her zone cooking on her birthday during a class as a family
Reading and listening to books again. Ideas truly enrich my life. Though, I do not regret the spaciousness of halting my consumption to calm my curiosity down. It is beneficial to have periods to starve my curiosity to create space and be more of a spectator in my life.
People watching on the subway, in trains, on the streets, and in parks.
My bravery to go out, meet new people and assert myself.
How I could get by minimally with my denim jacket to stay warm during the more frigid climate in New York City.
Witnessing a glimpse of fall, though I shivered at times.
What I lacked
Routines around exercise, diet, consistent sleep, and stretching
Clarity on not just what I want to commit to but how to do it. I need to make an action plan to project manage my upcoming projects. These include:
designing and presenting a workshop on the HOPA Journal process
publishing a Write of Passage Community Yearbook
migrating my website from Squarespace to Ghost
training for my first triathlon
Zazen meditation. I need and want my brain to calm down. It feels like it's racing with overwhelm by the different plates I have spinning in my life.
Groundedness in my present moment. While traveling, I kept thinking about the future and planning. Will I end up going to Austin? Do I try to meet a new person or spend time alone? I kind of liked planning and having the pieces fall into place, but it took away from the present moment.
What I learned
- How each time I met up with someone new, it was a chance to refine my thinking, do research on how to introduce myself, and an opportunity to share a story
- Talking & Tea: a salon event or series of meetups with the location at a pool or park to converse about meaningful things with intention like stories, dreams, and creative projects. Before the end of the year, I am going to make this happen.
- Watching Hugh Jackman do what he love is infectious. I want to be like him in sparking joy from what I love.
- I attend a Loud Luxury concert at the Brooklyn Mirage. I couldn’t stop dancing. I love dancing though I need to figure out what is wrong with the patella of my left knee
- I sent some outgoing emails. They make me uncomfortable. I need to shoot my shots and go for it without the self-doubt holding me back
- Building A Second Brain is a course I retook this past month. I want to publish content around it. It'd be criminal not to help my friend Spencer and others with the tactics that are taught.
- Many go to stories I share in real life that I haven't written about from the specific angle that I can
- It's validating to set up a plan and actually see it come through like each meetup I had while traveling.
- It's better to ask than regret not asking.
Questions to think about (inspired by who?)
- Which creative project can I ship in 2022? (inspired by Amanda)
- How can I do more of what I love like Hugh Jackman’s love for acting, dancing, and singing each night on Broadway? (inspired by the legend himself)
- What do I want my relationship with work, jobs, and my career to look like? (inspired by Paul Millerd)
- Since deciding I don’t want a master’s degree, how can I showcase my worth in other ways? (Inspired by my mom and dad).
- How do I train for the turkey triathlon without getting injured? (Inspired by my chiropractor)
- How can I simplistically and organically stay in touch with all these relationships that I've made? (inspired my my self doubt)
- James Clear and David Perell are expert marketers but they don't position themselves as such. They can communicate ideas so clearly and succinctly. How can I emulate this? (Inspired by Stew Fortier)
The idea of mindful marketing while in conversation with my friend Josh came about as an idea on Sunday. I’ve always been resistant to thinking of honing this skill. It's an emergent exercise to the top of the funnel of putting a megaphone to an idea like mine at a mega fair showing the swim team and why you should join.
—> My monthly habit: to experiment each day with the intention to try out a marketing tactic or explaining one to someone. I need to create a Notion table to track these.
I quite impulsively spent $200 to watch the Broadway Show Music Man. I had no idea what it’d be about but I knew Hugh Jackman was in it. I’ve been a huge fan of him ever since feeling his sense of humility as a human while being interviewed by Tim Ferriss. I shared my podcast notes on it in letter 35.
Some reflections from the show:
Professor Harold Hill, played by Hugh Jackman, is schmoozing traveling salesman who seems to cast a spell on everyone in a small town in Iowa, except for the mayor. He could entrance anyone, including distracting the sheriffs so he didn’t have to show his credentials
Gary, Indiana is where he supposedly studied to become a music teacher. A whole entire song is committed to how lovely Gary, Indiana is. The French spectator sitting next to me had no idea that Gary is one of the armpits of America. I got a flat tire there once and it was a nightmare. I couldn’t stop giggling. For proof, here’s the song:
Professor Harold Hill ends up having no credentials but he can BS and sell himself so proudly that no one doubts it. it all so well without knowing how to read music.
His tactic is to shower them with presents and excitement and they’ll learn the rest
Hill’s response to Marian delaying their date: “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering.”
The intermission is prime time to reflect on what I watched. I used to hate those but now I cherish them. It’s like a period to journal what I just watched. Also to google who the heck Sutton Foster is. (I’ve been living under a rock).
At the end of the show, the parents exclaim: “My boy is in a BAND!!” They didn’t even care that their children were awful at the music and damaging their eardrums. They got robbed of their money for instruments and costumes, but they showed remorse to allow Professor Harold Hill to be set free
Winthrop was the little brother of the main character Marian. He has a lisp causing him not to openly share at all. Being a part of a band gives him confidence to focus on something else to share and connect with others on.
I could watch Hugh Jackman tap dance for the rest of eternity in that dapper white and gold buttoned band costume with a fluffy hat
✍️ Writing Exercise Letter to my Future Self Exercise
Between now and this weekend (by October 9th), I challenge you to handwrite a letter to yourself that you will open on January 1st 2022. Yes, that means within the next four days. For the best experience, I recommend using a pen and paper away from technology. Take an hour max. Seal it in an envelope and keep it somewhere you can refind it.
I started this exercise in 2019, first shared it in letter 27, then in Letter 80 last year.
In order to put our best foot forward in the new year, capture memories, thoughts, feelings, and learnings from 2022 to support your future self. Plus, it will be a nice gift to yourself at the start of 2023 (gulp I cannot believe that is so soon).
This exercise is a way to pause before fall and winter fly by. Without a doubt 2022 has been a memorable one so far. But, our memory atrophies and it’s easy to forget why.
You don't know what to write about? The audience is for yourself so write whatever your future self would find valuable. Here are some questions to kickstart the process for you:
- What do you want to remember about 2022 thus far? Where do you hope to be this time in 2023?
- Who have you met and how have they impacted you?
- How have your values, priorities, beliefs or worldview changed?
- What struggles have you overcome and learned from them? How have you felt overall?
- What hobbies do you want to move up in your "To learn" list?
- What do you wish were different?
- What wins have you accomplished on your projects, at work, and in community?
I'll follow up in the new year and remind you to open these letters. I cannot wait! 😊
🔎 Word to define
Jovial: cheerful and friendly
Etymology: From the late 16th century. From late Latin jovialis ‘of Jupiter’ (see Jove), with reference to the supposed influence of the planet Jupiter on those born under it.
🌟 Quote to inspire
"It's not how hard you hit, it's how hard you can 'get hit' and keep moving forward - that's how winning is done." -Sylvester Stallone
📷 Photos of the Week
I pushed my flight home 24 hours to venture over to Long Island for Amanda's birthday brunch. It was such a memorable gathering full of love, stories and creative energy. I would love to facilitate more gatherings like that. There was such a unique collection of people there from her childhood, her family, and friends ranging from months ago to years ago, like myself.
The vibe of the gathering? Taking up space, feeling bold, and not becoming small for the sake of others.
I'm so excited for what she has in store for her 25th year of life. She is one of the people I met while interviewing entrepreneurs back in 2019 for the book that I never published called "Be a Learn-it-all", which is where the name of this newsletter originated from.
While I was out on the east coast, I squeezed in a day trip to Philadelphia.
In Letter 51, I mention first meeting Brendan and Dan. (Sidenote: I was living in Florida for the month to test out a different lifestyle alone in the tropics.) We started an ad-hoc writing group to zoom out and talk more about our newsletters. It was such a hoot. If you ever need a restaurant rec while in Philly, Brendan is your go-to guy.
- To Brendan Stec for recently switching his newsletter Thoughts from a Bench to Substack
- To Dan McGlinn for being one of the first Internet friends I met two years ago back in 2020 in letter 33
- Shoutout to Experience Institute for originally inspiring me to share this exercise back in 2020. (This exercise was inspired by Victor Saad from the Experience Institute. )
- To Amanda McCreight for inviting me to such a special gathering. Check out her creative project Aytuhzee :)
- To Isaac Lien for inspiring me to go to a Broadway show
- To all the lovely friends I will be seeing in Write of Passage Cohort 9. I am so excited!
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you forgot who I am, I welcome you to my online home.
Never stop learning 😁
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On the perspective of problems:
On taking the pressure off:
On marketing and influence:
On the bridges across NYC: