When you bring together a group of people who are asked to make themselves vulnerable in front of others—to talk about their endeavors, risks, or processes of creation, experimentation or discovery—a lot of inspiration, encouragement and curiosity rise to the surface.
That’s just what happened last night at the Link.
We hosted Arcata’s first Icarus Session in January 2013. We got wind of an internationally promoted effort by Seth Godin, author of the Icarus Deception and a bevy of other books. His suggestion: host an event to bring people together to share in their experiences of making, doing, creating….and call it an Icarus Session. The only real criteria was that presentations should be only 140 seconds long.
It was a small group, but an engaged one. And, as expected, a diversity of topics came out in the conversation.
What did people talk about?
- Reinventing the marketing strategy of business process software
- Founding and coordinating the first-ever TEDxEureka event
- Establishing a local creative reuse initiative and connecting it to a national organization
- Experimentations in gardening and uncharted territory
- How to recognize balance in the mind and body
- Strengthening zero-waste efforts in Arcata
- Finding entrepreneurial determination in learning circus skills
But what about Icarus…what does he have to do with anything?
According to Godin, the concept relates to conformity, risk, failure, and arrogance.
The message of Icarus’s tale is that if you don’t follow instructions, and you take chances because you think the risks (or the rules) don’t apply to you, then you fail. End of story.
The “deception” is that the story doesn’t need to end with the failure. The lesson to learn is in the failure itself, and the learning and moving forward from it.
People at our Icarus Session shared all kinds of vulnerabilities – personal and social. They talked of chances taken, not out of greedy pride, but out of curiosity, determination, and intention. And we all recognized that to make anything happen on our own, takes a degree of bravery in embarking into the unknown.