Teaching at Wright State University

It has been a while since my last online post, in part due to the publishing of my very first book (Before the Doors Opened).  But alas, my passion for writing remains within and thus I bring my latest thoughts to you today here in the blogosphere…

As you may be aware, Scene75 and I work hand in hand with the business school at Wright State University on a number of projects, including the annual Professional Business Institute.  Earlier this week, however, a different program drew me to campus — I had the pleasure of teaching two classes to nearly 150 freshmen who expressed an interest in business education.  I shared thoughts on entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, passion, focus and more, drawing on experiences from my prior career in consulting and investment banking, my present entrepreneurial career with Scene75, and teachings from my undergraduate and graduate studies.  Among my many thoughts for the day I included a discussion of flow (extended video by professor Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi available here), which one may best equate to being so involved in a task that all else seems to fade away — time, humanly needs such as hunger and thirst, and all outside distractions.  I imagine at one time or another you all have experienced such a state, but I had this feeling of flow, or being “in the zone”, on a nearly continual basis during the early stages of Scene75.  Ironically, I found myself returning to this flow-like status while teaching the students, on a topic, nonetheless, of flow.  It wasn’t particularly the material that drew me to this mindset, but rather that I was sharing my own learnings with them — learnings that have had a profound impact on my life to date and learnings that I hope will have a meaningful impact on theirs.  You see, from my perspective, the goal of life is to learn how to enjoy it, while making a meaningful impact to the world in which we live.  And we, from the teachings of Professor Mihaly, are happiest when we find ourselves in flow.  The question then becomes, how do we achieve flow like status?  Mihaly explains that we achieve it when feedback is present, when goals are clear, and when the task itself is challenging yet is a task that we, as individuals, have a perceived skill set to accomplish.  There is no doubt that creating Scene75 was a challenge.  And while I did not necessarily have the skill sets readily apparent to make it happen, I engrossed myself in the learning of these skills to make a certain vision come to life.  I firmly believed that with the guidance of others, if I put my mind to the project (and matched that mindset with an equally ginormous helping of work ethic), I could develop the perceived skills to make the dream of Scene75 a reality.  Granted, a number of other pieces had to fall into place (including the financial backing of folks who believed), but alas, Scene75 became something very, very, real: Scene75 attracts nearly 400,000 guests per year, many of whom, for which I’m so grateful, join us for some of the most important celebrations of their lives — including birthday parties, graduation parties, corporate team building events, family reunions, and even weddings — events that our team never take for granted.  And unequivocally, everything started with a fusion of passion and flow.

So, as I encouraged the 150 or so students to do, discover your inner passions, learn to identify when you achieve this flow-like status, and then pursue a path that somehow combines the two — whether it be as a hobby, a career, a side-business, or something altogether different.

Given that writing is one activity that sets me in flow, you will hear from me again soon.  Until then, I hope to further my understanding of myself — as I certainly still have a long way to go!

Jonah, Scene75 CEO