Fear.less, SXSW and Inc.com

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It’s been an incredible whirlwind of a week.

I’m deep into the final edits on my next book (hoping to be able to reveal the name and cover at some point soon). Busy plotting and scheming a few new and re-envisioned ventures and recently returned from Austin, Texas, where the internet was on spring break.

And, I wanted to share a few cool things with you.

1. Fear.less Magazine.

Last year, my friend and creative genius, Ishita Gupta, started a very cool online magazine called fear.less. It’s about staring fear in the face, owning up to it, then reaching out and grabbing what you want even if your knees are shaking (what, I’m the only one with shaky knees?). Each monthly issue is interview driven and often chock full of beautiful images.

Past issues have featured luminaries like Steve Pressfield, Pema Chodron, Po Bronson, Jen Louden, Jacqueline Novogratz, Susan Piver, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tim O’Reilly and others.

And here’s where it gets nutty, I’m guessing Ishita must have temporarily lost her mind, because the just-out March issue features, um, er, uh…me!

In a giant interview and on the cover even. As you guys already know, (a) I’m not that pretty, and (b) I’m still very much on the journey to figuring out which way is up. Still, I’m so honored to be featured in this wonderful publication and resource for those on a quest to lean more deeply into life.

You can download the entire issue here. Doesn’t cost a dime.

2. SXSW a/k/a Spring Break for the Internets.

Every year, the city of Austin, Texas is overrun with geeks (me, being one of them).

What started out as a legendary music festival, South By Southwest or SXSW has now grown into a massive music, film and interactive festival and conference. And for the second year in a row, interactive has been the largest of the three. Numbers I heard kicking around were 20,000 people for interactive alone.

I’ve had the honor of speaking there two years ago and was again invited to speak this year with my good friend and co-presenter, Chris Guillebeau, the author of The Art of Nonconformity.

Our topic was Fear and the Art of Creation. The session was supposed to be a core conversation, which means we make an opening statement, then essentially guide a conversation. The large room was set up with chairs in a circle and extra rows at the back and around the sides for overflow, with room for us to walk around in the middle.

Chris and I sensed there might be a lot of people, though, so we snuck in early and did a minor bit of re-arranging to create more of a “front” in the room. Glad we did. The crowd blew both of us away. What started as standing room only quickly turned into people seated (criss-cross apple sauce) rows deep on the floor on every side of the room.

The energy was amazing. Chris and I segmented the one-hour presentation, handing the mic off, telling stories, sharing some thoughts and asking a few questions. It’s always a bit of a dance when you co-present in more of a free-flowing format like that. I think we were both pretty nervous beforehand, especially once we saw the size of the crowd (okay, just speaking for myself here). I often get reasonably terrified before I speak, though once I settle in after the first few minutes, I love LOVE it.

SXSW had two cameras on us the whole time. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the footage. But, they also designated our session to be “live-illustrated” through the Ogilvy Notes program. If you’ve ever seen live note-taking illustration before, it’s amazing to watch. An artist creates a graphic representation of your talk in real-time. Chris and I were both looking for the illustrator with a giant board, but turns out, she was sitting toward the back and did the entire thing by iPad. And it came out looking very cool.

You can check out the session illustration here.

And, if you’ve never heard Chris speak, you must. He’s one of the most genuine guys I know, really cares about people and it shows. And he’s also a wonderful storyteller with a lot of experience to share.

We were both incredibly grateful to those who came to support us.

3. Inc.com Live Chat

Last week, before heading down to the Lone Star state, I did a one-hour live-chat over at Inc.com. For those new to the format, it’s a live stream where I spend an entire hour answering questions from viewers from all around the world. It was an amazing experience. I started with a brief intro, shared the topics I thought might be interesting, then we were off to the races.

The conversation touched on everything from career change to entrepreneurship, handling fear and balancing interests. And it was great to see some familiar faces in the chat, like Adam Baker from ManvsDebt.com (who also happens to be touring the country in an RV for the next 6 months with his wife and daughter).

Questions started flying into the chat section, then the great team at Inc.com would curate and feed to me to answer. Felt kind of like a freight train rolling. I blinked and the hour was up, even though the question continued to fly in.

Anyway, the entire thing was recorded and you can watch it here.

In fact, it was so much fun, I’m considering doing something like that here on maybe a monthly basis.

Feel free to chime in in the comments if that’s something that’d interest you.

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15 responses

15 responses to “Fear.less, SXSW and Inc.com”

  1. “In fact, it was so much fun, I’m considering doing something like that here on maybe a monthly basis.”

    Yes, please. 🙂

  2. Nick Hurd says:

    The link to the illustration didn’t work. The session sounded amazing.

  3. Thanks for sharing all this great content, Jonathan. Can’t wait to dive in and devour.
    Happy Friday!

  4. Love love love this Jonathan. I printed that fantastic illustration out to tuck into my ” Back Room Plans” notebook as a touchstone. I was thinking how fearless we can be in some big ways, and how in little ways we can hit a speed bump of fear. Sometimes it is just a small tweak, or a reminder..like a lovely illustration from two fear.less and wonderful guys. Bet the room was electric. Well done. Congrats. xo

  5. I love the illustration and have set it as the background for my computer screen. I always like to have some kind of inspirational message there to keep me on track. Sounds like it was a fun time! Cheers!

  6. Andrea Vahl says:

    You are a busy man! Great things happening here and it was so nice to meet you this week at SXSW!

  7. Hiro Boga says:

    Jonathan, thanks so much for this treasure of conversation and information — riches to savor over the weekend.

    I love the session illustration — a creative treasure map!

    And I look forward to watching/listening to the live chat. (Waving an enthusiastic vote for a monthly chat here on your blog!)

  8. Ben says:

    When did you die your hair blue? It’s a good look on you 🙂

  9. Stirling says:

    Jonathan thank you for the intro to fear.less. What a brilliant idea. Cant wait to read it and spread the word. Enjoy the weekend!

  10. Jonathan,

    Many thanks for the value-packed update. Sounds like plenty of exciting, invigorating projects afoot in your life. Keep that dynamic energy going!



  11. Susan says:

    Interesting, I haven’t heard of Fear.Less and am excited to check it out. I’m a fan of any type of creative genius.

    Ha! I always imagine Chris as slightly shy, though I’ve seen some of his speeches and he certainly powers through that. I’ve yet to hear anyone saying anything bad about him.

    Think I’ll attend sxsw next year, it sounds like a good opportunity to connect and just gain momentum and energy. What would you say one of the greatest benefits of going? Is it meeting people? Networking? The talks? Or something else entirely?

  12. Congratulations on all of your success! I’m excited to dive into Fear.less magazine – thank you for introducing us to this wonderful resource 🙂

  13. Marie davis says:

    I will check out the magazine, sounds interesting. Yes, I think a monthly phone seminar will be wonderful.

  14. Jonathan,
    I love your story and your inspirational thinking. I’m also a huge Chris Guillibeau fan so putting the two of you together must have been amazing. I’m also about to cut the ties with corporate life in exchange for something more entrepreneurial. I’m creating my own “push out the nest” with a three year RTW road trip my husband and I are taking that will make us digital nomads. Its scary but i know its the right thing to do. Your words give me confidence – thanks!