“Do, or do not. There is no try.” Master Yoda
Oftentimes, workshops, webinars, training and certification programs are tries disguised as dos.
While I personally am largely skeptical of any workshop that involves “how to be X”, I think they are a great way to sample something you’re interested in. The danger is oversampling.
How many certifications does your mentor have? How about the person you most look up to? If the digital role models I have have any certifications they certainly do not advertise them. When I step back and think about it, my digital role models are practitioners who took the path of the autodidact.
Think about it. Who would you rather have as a business mentor: The entrepreneur who has had 14 failed business attempts and 1 current success, or the guy with an MBA in entrepreneurship who writes articles for HuffingtonPost? The doer or the student-talker? I’m taking the doer 100% of the time.
Jesus never got certified as a savior and man did the Jews hate him for it. But he did offer a way of getting to where you want to go. Just like Buddha.
And with Buddha in mind, it’s important to note that some workshops have our best interests in mind. When we are truly receiving tutelage from a teacher who embraces the role of a ferry, rather than a guru. Buddha, Jesus, and other guides are helping us cross a body of water to the promised land. The land of action.
Author’s note: I will absolutely go to a Tony Robbins immersive event in the future. It’s crack that lasts for weeks!
I’ve taken multiple certification programs for SCUBA diving and life coaching. In life coaching, I’ve met people who are obsessed with workshops: Workshops for happiness, toe reading, dating, dreaming, painting, reading and writing. Workshops are the spice of life. And. don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot that can be gleaned from workshops and they are a great way to get a taste for something.
And having experienced transformational training programs and workshops, I have come to realize the following:
Workshops are crack
Crack, from what I hear and see on the streets of Seattle, gets you high. I mean, high as fuck for a short period of time. Then you crash with nowhere to go but the stoop in front of Seattle Coffee Works where my boy Paul has to prod you or call the Police to get you to move.
Once you’re up the objective is to achieve that high again. Because crack was the producer of the high, the logical thing to do is to seek more crack.
Workshops function in the same way.
The best workshop will have zero returning customers. The best crack keeps customer returning for more.
In workshops you can experience the high of being in a procrastination pod. It’s the fulfilling illusion of completing your goals and dreams in a safe space where all is possible.
When the real world hits your dream and if it’s not backed by a strong purpose and an ability to eat shit through tough times, that dream ends up passed out again in front of Seattle Coffee Works.
Then it goes back to the dealer, em, workshop.
Break the Addiction: Crack vs DMT
Consider a psychedelic, like DMT or psilocybin. The first thing that these incredible drugs do is smash your illusions of bullshit.
Under the right conditions, people experience long term benefits that last a lifetime. Many people experience a knowing and come to terms with who they are.
Alcoholics, gluttons and addicts of many varieties see their addictions eliminated after one session.
Without actually taking a psychedelic, what is the equivalent? Because let’s be real, there are no shortcuts.
It’s doing. Action instantly eliminates analysis paralysis. Through action you eliminate the choices (data) that didn’t matter in the first place.
Acting on that thing that you are procrastinating – writing, reading, swimming, working out, getting fit, tan or laid- is the practical antidote.
There is a training program for every single form of action insecurity that a human has because we are psychologically wired to be a fearful ape.
The only way to break an addiction is to admit you have one, and then act in reverse. Note: I am not saying to pull the trigger on a workshop. I also battled myself this entire day to begin writing this blog piece.
A workshop is where you go when your work stops. No one ever got anywhere by attending a thousand workshops.
Not all are created equally.
Immersive, helpful workshops are out there. I attended Seattle Life Coach training and it was just what I needed at that time. I was able to get coaching around my own blocks for less than the price of hiring a coach for an equivalent amount of time.
On this note, get a strong coach, one that will hold your ass accountable and push you to greater heights and call you on your BS. In coach training we were taught to ask what kind of coach the person needs. I think that a person needs the coach that they are afraid to need.
Once you enter the workshop scene you will meet loopers. The loopers will inevitably introduce you to related workshops that have brought them unlimited success while in the workshops. The workshops they took part in were so transformational, that they decided to sign up for another workshop.
Somehow, they afford thousands of dollars and many weekends of time to take part in transformational workshops that shape their future of more workshops. If you have seen the movie looper, you know the solution to this problem: shotgun yourself out of the loop. Break the pattern. And once you do that –
Spend your money on doing.
Indecision is expensive, and it is a growing market. There are so many choices in life that vast swaths of the population are depressed as a result of the inability to act. Heck, if you’re a doer, this is an opportunity for you to create a paid workshop or training program. The people are hungry!
And if you’re a wantrepreneur, how many workshops and motivational talks does one need to attend before actually doing work? How many episodes of the same podcast do you need to listen to get the point that there is one thing that all the entrepreneurs have in common? They put skin in the game and DO THE WORK. Period.
Trust me, I know that the lure of the safe space of procrastination is too much to bear. It’s not just workshops, and training programs that take this form, it’s also alcohol, club life, sitting around and pontificating about your thoughts on the latest Netflix series, or what the president tweeted. That’s another story.
Listen, this is the most devilish form of procrastination: Thinking that you’re doing, gaining traction toward your goals, by going to workshop after workshop when in reality it is a Red Queen strategy: You’re running faster and faster and not getting anywhere.
It is an illusory evolution masking an unfulfilled soul.
Skip the Procrastination Pow-wow. Get Shit Done
Stop going to workshops. Adding a workshop to your calendar, when you have an idea of what you want to do, is another expensive stop before getting shit done.
Money spent on action is far more valuable as a learning tool and as an instant antidote to analysis paralysis, and anxiety. If you need accountability, hire a coach. Join, or create, a mastermind group. Find an accountability partner. GO, GO, GO.
Steve Pressfield in his book The War of Art said it best:
“Have you ever been to a workshop? These boondoggles are colleges of Resistance. They ought to give out Ph.D.’s in Resistance. What better way of avoiding work than going to a workshop?”
Are you after your PhD in resistance, or are you ready to get your ass up and get to work?
I’d love to know what you think about workshops. Have any been helpful to you?