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Song Suggestion: Sweet Dreams (are Made of This), Eurythmics Drink Suggestion: Cognac spritzer (cognac, crème de raspberry, sparkling grape juice)

I am back from a 1 hour siesta and ready to finish my last blog entry for 2012. A thirty minute refresher usually does the trick, but a bit of extra time on the pillow was helpful after today’s lunch, a 4 hour affair at Restaurant La Grange aux Oies near my brother’s home in the Charente region of central France. I’ll spare you the full inventory of our fixed menu, but after kicking things of with cognac cocktails (this being the heart of Cognac country), we nibbled our ways through mousses of this and purees of that, poached eggs balanced on crab meat, escargots and chanterelles, calf’s head with vegetables in a delicious ravigote sauce, beautifully presented variations on rabbit and pig, a wonderfully odorous tray of varied cow, goat, and sheep cheeses, rich desserts of chocolate this and ice cream bowls of that, and a closing round of rich espressos. Our plates were paired with selections of local white wine and a red from the Rhone valley. A long stroll around the beautiful Chateau de Nieul grounds afterward on this unseasonably warm and sunny December day was much needed, … and then of course the pillow.

I’ve been developing a workshop around intérpreneurship this year and beta version 0.1 was offered earlier this month at a university in Aix-en-Provence. I first wrote about the concept of intérpreneurship here, in a 2011 postcard titled Start You Up, and the seminar presented a great opportunity to test drive the model. Entrepreneurship is the art of building compelling businesses that flourish and sustain, with an outward focus on external markets. The enterprise is your business. Intérpreneurship, conversely, is the art of creating exciting life ambitions that inspire and endure, with an inward focus on personal achievement and self-realization. The intérprize is your life’s Grand Vision.

For 2 ½ days we explored the students’ natural strengths and acquired talents (their intérlectual property); talked about passion plans and additional skills for development; shared the what, where and with whom of an engaged and “perfect” life; and laid out vision maps and key milestones for execution on their plans.

Life/work/health balance was also a key element of the workshop, with various sessions on developing manna for the soul and body. The importance of optimism was key, and I held twice daily Happy Hours to introduce techniques for instilling more happiness and contentment, including the power of rituals, gratitude, flow and mindfulness, and taking longcuts in our daily routines.

My friend Jaci Girardin gives a lively class at the Aix Yoga Centre and directs retreats on meditation in the local area. I invited her to lead a workshop session on sustainability and she quickly had us in warrior poses and deep lunges, then meditation with breathing exercises over lit candles (I was waiting for fire alarms to blow). The students kept an open mind, even if some questioned the value of these activities in the greater goal of pursuing one’s grand ambition.

The fact is, these activities are critically important when investing our all in a project. The pursuit of our passion plans – our intérprize – demands most of our time and all of our energy. Without respect for the complete trinity of mind, body, and soul, we quickly lose our balance and bearings. Imagine that your intérprize is a grand sailing journey. The ship is your body, the map is your mind, and the wind is your soul (or spirit if you prefer). If any of these are missing, the journey will fail. Consider that:

  1. You have a sturdy ship and good map, but no wind: you’re pointed in the right direction and fit for travel, but with little enthusiasm.

  2. You have a good map and strong wind, but leaky ship: you’re going someplace fast, but not for long before breakdown.

  3. You have a strong wind and sturdy ship, but no map: you’re full of zeal and fit for the voyage, but to where?

The Intérprize(TM) Workshop weaves all 3 elements into a balanced model for a sustainable adventure, that pursuit of your life vision.

We launched 28 remarkable life visions at the workshop this month and I am excited for all of the students and their grand ambitions. Next year I’ll be offering more Intérprize Workshops as well as a week-long retreat in Italy with colleagues in June. Don’t hesitate to contact me if curious to know more.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday break and the best of luck with your plans for 2013 and beyond.

Bill Magill Aix-en-Provence

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