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Identifying Interest in the CPA idea within faith denominations – a reality check


To contact at least three different faith leaders (by October 31st) to assess their interest and the potential interest of their congregations in joining a CPA planning group.


For me personally, having individuals who focus on this work from a faith in action perspective will be very helpful.  It will give me a sounding board, allow me to see where my own language could be improved, and to have a sense of not being in it alone.  These will be individuals who I respect as well and create a space for me to engage with them on a new and deeper level.


Time is the biggest obstacle.  Finding time to craft my email and follow up if necessary.  Enabling them to find the time to respond and reflect.  In addition, different denominations work differently.  One of the individual works statewide, another is focused only in the metro area.  It will also be important to take time to develop a clear “elevator speech” with enough detail to allow them to consider the possibility.  This will be difficult as one obstacle is the lack of breadth in my understanding of what a community purchasing alliance is and could look like in our context.

Skills and Knowledge:

During this time, I will better understand the workings of CPA and the goals of a CPA.  In addition, I will garner a better knowledge of the internal structures and obstacles in other faith denominations.  I believe I will also have a better sense of my own passion for this work.


In addition to the people with whom I am to speak, I will also enlist a small learning cohort.  The Bishop who opened up doors within the Lutheran Church, an IAF leader, my interfaith learning group, and my coworkers in the office.

Plan of Action:

  • Develop talking points and create initial email by October 15th
  • Send email with potential times to meet and/or talk.
  • Meet with individuals.
  • Write up a summary of key learnings and identify follow up points.


Is there such a thing as writer’s block for goal setting?

In 2016, I defended my doctoral dissertation and earned my PhD. It occurred to me that problems such as the factorial invariance of the bystander attitudes scale wasn’t meaningfully connected to sexual assault survivors I served, at least not beyond the vague notion that knowledge-building and research can support addressing social problems. Yet, the connection felt flimsy. I fell off of a cliff. Not a literal cliff, but an existential one. What the $#*!- was I doing with my life? I have been without a clear vision for my life or the world for what seems like a long time. So, I’m finding The War of Art‘s concept of “Resistance” very helpful as I begin to write this, as I have been grappling with exactly that for what feels like a very long time… Is it possible I have a version of Resistance to even setting goals? Hmm…

Personal Goal: Run the University-sponsored 8K in February

  1. Identify: Train for and complete the 8K on February 15, 2020.
  2. Benefits: Sleep better as a result of the training; feel more fit and healthy; accomplish a specific goal; and spend time with U community members
  3. Obstacles: I hate getting up early and training will require me to do so; I forget to add exercise to my daily to do list so sometimes I won’t even remember to train for that reason; it is sometimes extremely hot and humid, so I’ll need to have an indoor training location option that does not require me to workout in front of my students (e.g. at the U gym)…
  4. Knowledge and skills: download and post the recommended 8K training plan; get advice from friends who are runners on exercises they found helpful on non-run days; figure out if this will require any additional gear
  5. People and Groups: I have tried in the past to get co-workers to train with me. Unsuccessful.
  6. Plan of Action: Email chair of the race, today to see if there is an incentive plan or other recommendation he has for getting fellow Barry colleagues to train/run with me. Print training routine and post plan in my calendar by the end of the week.
  7. Deadline: the race is February 15, 2020 and the training guide I read recommended an 8-week training plan, so I have until December 1 to make sure I can easily run two miles in anticipation of the start of the training plan.

Professional Goal: Get my university (“U”) to sign on as an anchor institution for the emerging Miami-based Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) by June 1, 2020.

  1. Goal: Get my university to sign on as an anchor institution for the emerging Miami-based Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) by June 1, 2020 with a commitment to collective buying of at least one of the following categories: waste management (trash/recycling/composting); electricity; solar power; copier services; cleaning services; purchasing supplies; or gas.
  2. List the Benefits: I see sustainability as an economic, environmental, and human benefit. If the University has a more eco-friendly campus that employs local businesses to meet our purchasing needs, my students and their families will have more/better jobs while they get a formal education and we will be addressing the threat of climate change through concrete, mission-driven action. In turn, that is likely to make my students better students and better social workers, which will make me very happy!
  3. Obstacles: University has a combination of large corporate vendors and small offices with big tasks, so it will take some time to get a clear picture of this landscape; institution is in transition with a lot of new senior leadership; confusion about who does what/who is on board for making a positive change.
  4. Skills/Knowledge: be able to articulate the benefits of CPA for the U as an anchor institution; understand the marketplace and costs; understand state regulations pertaining to solar; identify stakeholders’ needs and interests and leverage these for full participation; recognize relationships with reps of current vendors and negotiate with these in mind; work with CPA colleagues, especially JF, to identify a pool of local business owners who could become the service providers across domains of interest/need to the U.
  5. People and Groups to work with: JF, an amazing colleague and strategic thinker; look together for community partners who could be business leaders providing services to U.; determine whether U facilities or procurement staff could become advocates for change; understand perspective of current VP of finance.
  6. Plan of Action: Coordinate with JF on next steps and work. Do my homework on university needs. (Does it make sense for me to focus primarily on gathering data internal to U. in the form of conversations with possible allies for the remainder of this semester?) Work on my elevator pitch about CPA benefits to U. Get advice from Felipe and others on how to identify institutional needs without causing unnecessary conflict. Schedule a call w/Felipe and JF about strategy.
  7. Deadlines: schedule a call by the end of October w/Felipe and JF. Gather anecdotal intel from 3 colleagues (LP, DH, CR) over the next 3 weeks re: procurement; waste removal; other unanticipated/burdensome costs for their areas of work within the U.

First, gratitude for your questions! SO helpful!!!

And then, this…

Reflection Script: In a nutshell, I need to keep pushing myself to “land the plane”, as one of my high school English teachers liked to say. Landing the plane is about being as specific and clear as possible about goals and outcomes, while also finding ways to move from my internal processing to seeking external support and connection on the problems I’m trying to solve.

I don’t know if it is necessary to rehash the specifics, but I am adding my full reflection based on the incredible feedback I received…

Professional Goal: Get my university (“U”) to sign on as an anchor institution for the emerging Miami-based Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) by June 1, 2020.

What would be the benefit to you for accomplishing this goal? What’s your motivation for doing this?

When I interviewed at U, I loved the sense of welcome and fun among the social work faculty. I ignored the advice of my PhD program director at Rutgers, who was floored by the low pay of the U, and told me NOT to take the job. I thought, I believe in the U’s stated core commitments to knowledge and truth, inclusive community, social justice and collaborative service. I had been at elite PWI’s (predominantly White institutions) and wanted to work with more first generation, linguistically, culturally, and racially diverse students for whom a college degree could make a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of their families. And, I do not own any assets other than my car, and I am not responsible for caring for children or aging parents yet, so I figured, what’s a little low pay in the face of an opportunity to work with students in a context where the work would make a real difference?

Now that I’m here, I see the U accepts students who are have not been academically prepared for college, but then does not provide adequate transition support, so many students drop out, with only large loans to show for their efforts. I see that faculty and staff have attempted unionization but been thwarted (even by fellow faculty members) and many have not even had cost of living adjustments in a decade or more, depending on how long they have worked for the U. I see that, according to the most recent faculty survey, the morale is extremely low, but people stay because they believe in the mission. People stay because they remember what the institution once was, but are too overwhelmed juggling outside work (for which we need to have written approval) with work demands to take action. The gap between what the institution is and what it preaches is so wide, it has taken me these two years to even write all of this without being overcome by my own cognitive dissonance.

So, my motivation for the co-op is to test whether the institution can live its core commitments through concrete action. There is hope, I am told, because we have a new U president. And I want to know, is hope an obstacle in this situation? Or is it real? Can we live our core commitments or are they just window dressing to draw in “customers” who will ultimately leave saddled with debt and despair?

And underneath it, for me it is, is my leadership/vision welcome? Do the contributions I feel able to make matter to the community that will receive them? Whether it’s the co-op or restorative justice practices or bystander intervention training, when I see what is needed and offer it, is it able to be received or is the resistance so great that I should go elsewhere?

Do you know anyone in a leadership position that can be a thought-partner?

Yes, I can talk with the chair of the Faculty Senate. She is trustworthy and has spent enough time at the U to know the history, both of which make her rare and a valuable institutional thought partner.

Have you considered getting data on the current benefits and pain points the U has?

Great question! The data I have so far:

  1. Alumni participation rate: 1%
  2. Enrollment: 19% decline from 2012-2018
  3. Need: 69% of our undergraduates are Pell Grant recipients and 38% are first generation students, yet still use a tuition-driven model
  4. Strengths: “personalized attention, values-based education, comprehensive university, diversity, location of campuses”; University-owned parcel of land in Miami Shores that has not been developed…

I am still unclear about the procurement processes, other than that Waste Management is the vendor and their services are not particularly well-received, but their staff do have close relationships with U staff.

Personal Goal: Run the University-sponsored 8K in February

It helped me to find another motivator such as, “if I run in the morning, I can go to happy hour or have dinner with friends after work.” Tracking mileage and time also helped with training. Have you considered adding details regarding your runs such as the number of miles and the number of days a week to your plan of action?

Yes! I love these suggestions! For my clinical social work students, I encourage them to consider the client’s internal motivations for change. I preach what I most need to learn.

Just like with writing, I find that I hate to exercise but I love having exercised. (Resistance?) Being in my early 40’s, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how the time I have in life is not infinite (enter existential crisis). So, the motivation for running is both tied to this deeper sense of mortality / doing the things I can do while I am able to do them so that I have no regrets/ coupled with a desire to thwart the effects of aging, illness, and dysthymia. Yessica’s suggestions are so helpful because they are concrete, specific, and offer daily rewards as well as accountability.

This reminds me, I once had a boyfriend who would gloat about how fit he was. I got tired of hearing him brag so I challenged him to a race, a mid-distance sprint, with 6 weeks to train. He agreed. Panic set in. And then a friend agreed to help me train, running sprints and hills in our Brookline neighborhood in the dead of winter, me cursing while he jogged or ran beside me, shouting directions (“keep breathing!”) or affirmations (“look, we can see the sun rising!”). And then it was time to race. We were on a neighborhood track in a relative’s neighborhood in Montreal. In the beginning, he shot ahead and I wondered if this was all a mistake. But, the training had given me an extra burst of power I didn’t know I had. I won that race, much to the shock of my then 6-foot muscle-bound beau.

This combination of tests of physical endurance and unconditional positive regard make for optimal training conditions. So I will do my best to mimic those conditions (minus the frigid temps) in training for the 8K in February.

How to build CPA in Cleveland; how to build a meaningful career that does not define me

My first goal is by January 31, 2020 to convene representatives of 10-15 faith institutions and nonprofits in Cleveland around the idea of building a CPA-style purchasing cooperative.

My second goal is in the next year to create a plausible, written strategy for how to build a career in a way that complements, rather than crowds the other parts of my life — how to build a meaningful career and make sure that career does not define me.


Goal 1: Convene 


I’m excited for this goal because my church struggles to pay its bills, which are often too high. The windows leak hot air. Small gaps in the roof drip water onto the ceiling at times. The HVAC system needs a full update. For these and other reasons, despite a thriving congregation, we’re paying more than we can afford to keep the church going. A purchasing coop would shift some of the burden of finding contractors off the shoulders of the church caretakers, giving them more time to caulk the doorway to cut down on heating and cooling expenses. It would save us money on our bills through group purchasing. It may even earn the church some money as the coop thrives.

I want to see this happen because I want to see economic power shift in Cleveland away from corporate power towards local, democratic institutions, towards Black and Brown people and institutions, towards low-income people and institutions. That shift in economic power means a shift in political power.

I want to see this happen because it would help me develop new skills as an organizer and coop developer. It would expand my network and allow me to meet new people from across the region. It would broaden the audience for the work I’m doing as one of the few coop developers in Cleveland. Having this meeting would give me more confidence as an organizer – it would feel like a win.



This group will need a lot of trust to have an effective meeting. As the central convener, I will need to do much of that work, in part by having relational meetings with many people from key institutions, and also by selecting strategic relationships to build. I’m not able to do all of it, however; one obstacle is finding key partners who will help drive this forward with me locally.

The bar for building trust in Cleveland is high. Many of the people who manage operations at Cleveland churches are stretched thin. It will take substantial trust for them to dedicate time to a group that doesn’t yet have a track record of success. There is also a deep, well-earned mistrust between segments of the Black and Latinx community, who have survived repeated  economic exploitation by white supremacist policies. In one of the most segregated, high-poverty cities in the country, trust must be earned. As a white person convening a multi-class, multi-racial group of people, I will have to bring the humility and relational preparatory work to earn the trust of people in the room.


Skills and knowledge

This is first and foremost an organizing challenge. Building relationships through public narrative that articulate shared values is the most important skill for this project. Effective meeting facilitation, structured opportunities to share control of the process, pacing work in a digestible way, communicating a clear strategy — I must draw on each of these skills.

Business skill is the other essential part of this. Here I’ll rely heavily on the work CPA has done already in analyzing bills, identifying opportunities for purchasing events, constructing the legal backbone for this org, etc. I’ll also draw on my background as a corporate consultant.


Identify the people and groups to work with

I’ve decided not to share this on the blog. Slide into my DMs if you want to learn more about this decision 🙂


Plan of action

  • Create a list of key people and institutions
  • Meet with them, asking for intros to other people at organizations and institutions
  • Learn about what’s keeping them up at night about facilities maintenance, following the prompts Felipe and team have honed
  • Gather data – request and compile bills
  • Develop several hypotheses about opportunities for group purchasing events
  • Sketch out a potential structure for a legal entity owned by member institutions
  • Invite people from institutions to join a kickoff meeting


Goal 2: A meaningful career that does not define me

What’s in it for me

I want to make sure I’m intentional about building a career that is compatible with the rest of my life — the values I care about, the relationships I hold, how I spend my time, how I understand myself to be. This holistic view of who I am and what I care about I believe is essential for a fulfilled, meaningful life.

Specifically, I want to have an identity outside of my career that’s strong enough so I’m comfortable letting go of my career when the time is right. I don’t want to find all my sense of meaning in my professional work.

I think doing so will help me build stronger relationships, lead a more balanced life, and allow me to spend a lifetime showing up for collective social justice work.



An idea of masculinity that’s confined to what one does professionally. An urgent need to make money to stay alive in capitalism. My tendency to anchor my expectations on other people, rather than through my own sense of purpose. External pressure to do just that.

A lack of hobbies, maybe? My ego tied to external validation. A lack of language to talk about this stuff. A sparse community of men I know well who are overtly fighting toxic masculinity.


Skills and knowledge

Writing this helps me put words behind the feeling I’ve had about how I want to integrate my personal and professional lives. Expanding my vocabulary around this is a skill I’ll need to develop. I need to learn more about the ways I’ve absorbed the lessons of patriarchy that makes it hard for men to see themselves as more than money makers.


People and groups to work with

I have a close group of male friends from college. A conversation with one of them helped crystalize this specific challenge. I’d like to keep speaking with my friend about strategies for dealing with this now; I’d also like to broader the group of friends having that conversation. I’m part of the Braden Fellowship through the Catalyst Project; that’s another good network of people thinking about how to defeat patriarchal systems. I’d like to speak with my Dad about this. He’s figuring out what’s on the other side of retirement from a career that’s central to who he is. I have a lot to learn from him in that process. I’d like to have more conversations about this with my girlfriend.


Plan of action

Have conversations with my close male friends and my father. Talk to my girlfriend about this. Find 2-3 books that will help me understand the system of patriarchy I grew up in that have made this process so challenging for me and other people like me. Reflect on all these inputs, and write down a plan to deal with this (e.g., pursue other hobbies, set limits on work hours). I’d like to have that plan in place a year from now.


Reflection script (10/13)

Wow – so much to dig into here on reflection from these thoughtful comments from Ale, Michelle, and Juan Francisco and reading other prompts.

Juan Francisco, I appreciate the nuance you’ve reached for your in your comment. I don’t want what I get paid to do to define me. That’s a fallacy central to toxic masculinity. I want my paid work to be part of who I am, integrated with other parts of how I spend time, so that when it stops, I know who I am outside of it.

That’s true even if my paid work is in something that feels important to me and to the world. Part of what motivates me to ask this question is my Dad, who’s not sure what will happen when he retires. When he brought it up over dinner last week, he seemed worried. He’s not an emotive guy. I felt a little scared seeing him worry about who he is after he retires. He’s spent 45 years as a pastor, doing work he cares deeply about, that he believes makes the world (and heaven!) a better place. Many would agree. That doesn’t make retiring any easier.

I’d like to write my plan for this goal in an way that integrates paid work with other work for justice and other goals focused on a holistic sense of myself (e.g., deepening relationships, building personal practices our exercise and hobbies).

Discerning CPA LA and Doing the Splits

You can’t give an enneagram type 7 such a list-like assignment and not expect her to answer it in list form. So, here we have it. Week one exploring goal setting:

Describe your goal, be specific.

I. (CPA-related). Gain clarity aboutthe opportunity and appetite for CPA in LA by the December holidays.

II. (Personal) To be able to do a split by 2020.

 List the benefits

I. Gaining clarity around CPA byDecember

  1. Building relationships with leadersin LA who are interested in the CPA model is beneficial to building myprofessional network, to giving me a sense of belonging to the city and county,and providing me with a deeper sense of purpose, meaning, and hope.
  2. Gaining clarity about theopportunity for CPA and in what my role could be in the coming year will helpme prioritize my time, commitments, and projections for the future.
  3. Gaining practice writing aneffective pitch is a transferable skill to many scenarios and will bebeneficial to me overall.

II. Splits

  1. Increases your flexibility.
  2. It’s an impressive party trick.
  3. If I achieve this goal by Decembermy sister will buy me a beer.
  4. The practice required to get thereteaches you patience, perseverance, and intentionality.

List the obstacles to overcome

I. Gaining clarity around CPA byDecember

  1. Time: Since I am embarking on this work while being employed full time, having a leadership position in my local congregation, and holding a deep commitment to safeguarding time for my personal and private life and relationships I will need to be intentional about how I work towards my goals.
  2. Sequencing: Some conversations may be more fruitful if they are timed after previous conversations. Unfortunately that can be hard to know. I will have to balance being discerning with not getting stuck or forsaking the good for the best.

II. Splits

  1. Consistency: I decided on this goal in early September but then given my recent move and the associated transition and hectic schedule I was not actually able to maintain consistent practice.
  2. Talking myself out of it: I’m deeply pragmatic and it’s easy to simply decide it isn’t a real goal because it isn’t as “important” or “worthwhile” as my more substantive career, relational or even physical goals. It’s “fluff” and therefore easy to dispense with, even though I decided I wanted to commit to it.

List the skills and knowledge required

I. Gaining clarity around CPA byDecember

  1. I need to know the California/LosAngeles market better, particularly what types of services are most promisingfor collective purchasing agreements.
  2. I need to know what I can reasonablycommit myself, Felipe, CPA staff, and potential future partners to in terms oftime and funding. Some of this I can clarify through personal discernment andhonest conversation, but some of it will be emergent.

II. Splits

1.  I need to know which stretches are most effective if getting to be flexible enough to do the splits. (Research done).

2. I need to know whether my body is actually physically capable of doing a split. Some aren’t. I won’t actually know until I’ve given it a good faith attempt.

Who will you work with?

I. Gaining clarity around CPA by December.

  1. Felipe, my CPA incubator small group
  2. Local leaders in LA I have gotten to know over the past year

II. Splits

  1. My partner, Justin and my roommate, Alyssa have both said they would try to encourage me by sometimes joining my daily stretches.
  2. I follow an instagram account dedicated to those attempting to do the splits.
  3. Now the CPA incubator #TeamTuesday know and can ask me at some point whether I’m doing it!

Develop a plan of action:

I. Gain clarity about theopportunity and appetite for CPA in LA by the December holidays.

  1. Write down a pitch to begin speakingwith faith and other institutional leaders who are potential partners forlaunching CPA in LA by the end of October.
    1. Get as much detailed informationabout CPA parameters from Felipe/Amy/Justin as possible this week.
      1. Email request them by Wednesday, set up “office hours” toFelipe
    1. Read through materials and create adraft pitch next week.
    1. Practice this pitch with Felipe inthree weeks and get feedback.
  2. Test this pitch with at least threeknown leaders before the end of the incubator.
    1. Receive feedback from pitch andmodify as needed
    1. Ask for leaders’ list of individualsthey recommend I speak with who are either already invested in this type ofendeavor, have important context I need if I am to move forward, or may beinterested in the model.
  3. Find at least 2-3 individuals whoare willing to put time into exploring the potential for CPA or something likeCPA LA with me in 2020 by the end of the year.

II. Splits

  1. Do each of the 5 key stretches to achieve a split everyday from 9:50pm-10pm.
  2. Set an alarm on my phone reminding me to do these Write down the 5 exercises and keep them visible in my bedroom
  3. Every time I come back from a run, make sure to do each of the 5 stretches for at least 30 seconds each.

Week 1 RS

I thank everyone who sent me questions for their agitation, mentorship and curiosity. Jonathan’s question struck me most deeply, asking about what about CPA I hoped would bring meaning and hope. I offer my answer to him as my overall reflection back on these questions, cognizant it doesn’t summarize the entirety of my synthesized wrestling with the questions I was brought, but wanting to share this vulnerable inner-work:

In terms of the sense of meaning and hope that CPA might be a vehicle for bringing and what resonates…
There’s some deeper context to that need (for hope and meaning) which I think is still within the spirit of this incubator to talk about (Sorry this is so dang long):

I started attending church (mostly) regularly for the first time this year after a five year hiatus. I grew up fairly evangelical (albeit with a French philosophical/social-justice-y bent) and at 18 had my first major crisis of faith after unsuccessfully trying to convert a formerly-orthodox-turned-secular-and-unbeknownst-to-me-settler Jewish teacher of mine in high school. I went to Eastern Mennonite University promising God I wouldn’t date anyone so as to remain focused on my central goal which was determining whether God was real and I ought to remain a Christian and to learn how to live justly in the world. (So you see, growing up has taught me, perhaps to my disservice, to make “SMART” goals) My time at EMU was many things, but I mostly stayed true to those two goals and by the end of my time had decided not only to stay within the Christian faith but to dig more deeply into it and try to live it out more holistically, but with a more anabaptist/liberation/eco/feminist theology bent that aligned with my vision of the world. Then I spent two years working closely with Mennonite churches and nondenominational churches in Colombia which were extremely evangelical, while most of my friend group came out as queer, and my distaste for the brand of Christianity grew exponentially. I was also deeply frustrated that much of the important organizing work I wanted to do wasn’t at the core of the self-interest and identity of the partners I was tasked with working with. Joining the IAF, I felt liberated in the ability to work only with those congregations and partners who had an appetite and willingness to show up for the work. And I spent so much of my time in congregations, and found such spiritual meaning and belonging in the community of leaders and the ceremony of political action rooted in values that a church service felt a little hollow in comparison, and needlessly narrow. So I stopped attending church then, and then traveled the world and interviewed change-agents in conflict and post-conflict contexts for 7 months, and then attended graduate school, during which time I again found community in students organizing for change. So why go back to church at all? And how is any of this related to CPA?

The truth is over the past several years, and to some degree even while organizing for the IAF — where the work was authentic and meaningful, but the scale of our impact so seemingly local and limited — I started to feel my sense of hope and courage erode and give way to both “cold anger” (a la IAF) as well as actual rage, and a twinge of nihilism with edges of hedonism. Going back to church was a pretty crude attempt at tapping back into the sense of community, the transcendence (at best) of worship, and the opportunity to take action based on values that I could find. But I’m again feeling like my one congregation is too limited a sphere and worldview in which to cultivate relationships and opportunities for action, and that to grow in hope and to practice courage means, at least for me, seeking opportunities to bridge and create new relationships and collaborations across groups. I’ve noticed I still don’t actually get much spiritually from Sunday services. But my small group, and the core team I’m helping build and get involved in faith-based organizing, those do. So in terms of meaning and hope, I think I’m hoping building CPA is a vehicle for participating in that work of bridging and imagining and creating together across groups that otherwise don’t have as much opportunity to engage. And it gives me a reason and way to be in relationship to people of faith whose values I connect with but whose ceremonies/cultures/natural meeting spaces I have a hard time feeling a sense of belonging to.

Prompt 1: Set Goals

A fundamental objective of this workshop is to make change happen.

You can change the way you produce things
change the market
change the people you work with
change your bank account
change yourself

Before you can make a change happen, though, you need to determine which change you’d like to create. Sure, you might stumble on something, but you’re far more likely to find something if you know what you’re looking for.

The goal setting we’re going to do in this project isn’t forever. It’s a temporary placeholder. The pressure is off, because the list of long-term goals you come up with will only be your list for the next two weeks, and then you can create a new list.

First hurdle: Writing down a goal doesn’t make it less likely to occur. (Just like buying life insurance doesn’t make it more likely you will die).

Second hurdle: Writing down a goal doesn’t make it hurt more when you don’t reach it.

Third hurdle: Sharing a goal with a trusted circle isn’t humiliating.

Cultivating & growing in our self awareness through our own writing & shipping. Practice fighting the Resistance. (See the first 20 pages of Pressfield for that reference.)

Personal transformation, and habituating our daily struggle against the Resistance, is how we start transforming the world — by developing the habit of showing up to do our most creative work: our art.

Here are a few of the core principles from adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy. If you haven’t gotten to read the book yet, here’s one summary / review).

  • Small is good, small is all (The large is a reflection of the small)
  • Trust the People (If you trust the people, they become trustworthy)
  • There is always enough time for the right work. There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.

The Zigler 7 steps to goal setting offer a succinct and effective way to delineate your goals.

Some critics prefer a less rigorous goal approach. And in the long run, they may be correct—overdoing the process can be as debilitating as not doing the process at all. But before you can scale back, incorporating a goal-mindset into your daily life, it helps to see it in full splendor. It helps you know.

Your format of the goals for this project should match the format of these 7 steps.

Because this is a direct and clear process, you’ll be challenged to find goals that you actually believe in, that are worth the effort and focus you (or your organization) are going to put into them. Careful what you wish for, you might get it.

The most common initial approach is to pick goals that are:




These are all variations on hiding. If a goal feels safely small or safely ridiculous, it’s mostly safe and not much of a goal at all.


  1. On your own take a first crack at your written personal goals. Use the Ziglar Seven Steps of Goal Setting process to break your goals into specifics, and describe the when and the what and the who. Try to do this before your group meets. These are personal goals, goals that aren’t designed to be shared with everyone. But, like all useful goals, the goals that are worth your time and effort, are important, they’re specific and they have a specific timeframe associated with them. If the goals don’t make you a little uncomfortable, they’re probably not important enough to you.
  2. With those personal ones identified, use the same process to create goals you’d feel comfortable sharing in a public-facing project: Select one or two goals for your organization, your career, and/or your work project. Share them with your group. Are the goals worthy of your best work? Are they unrealistic, designed to give you a place to hide?
  3. After discussing with you group, go ahead and post one or two goals for your organization, your career, and/or your work project. As you do so, tell us about why you selected this goal, and how you decided this was the right goal for you. What’s it feel like to pick this goal and share it publicly? What edge is this goal creating for you?


After you publish your project Wednesday at midnight EST, your fellow workshop participants will post their feedback to your project by Thursday at 10pm Eastern Time / 8pm MT. This is one of the most important elements of the program. Please plan to provide feedback on at least five other participant’s work each Thursday.

Every project should have a title that is unique, that invites the reader in. It’s not homework, it’s a project. “Three things I know about getting things done,” is great, “Project 1: Goal setting” is not. You don’t need to restate the question, you need to establish early on in your post what you’re here to say.

Every project should, after getting feedback, end with a ‘reflective script’ (RS) that
highlights what you’ve learned since you published it. If you were going to write the post
again, what would you do differently?

After reviewing the feedback, post an RS to your project (leaving the original post as is) by
Saturday at 10pm ET / 8pm MT. This ‘reflective script’ should have your take on what you learned from the comments. The RS itself should be written at the bottom of your original post — not as a comment. You can read more about the purpose of the RS in the participant guide.


Projects Due: Wednesday, October 9, 11:59pm EST

Comments Due: Thursday, October 10, 10pm ET / 8pm MT / 7pm PT

RS Due: Saturday, October 12, 10pm ET / 8pm MT / 7pm PT

Welcome to the CPA Incubator!

Hi all – Welcome. I’m deeply appreciative that we’re here, right now, ready to grow together over the next few weeks

My aim is through the Incubator to share what we’ve learned about building Community Purchasing Alliance in D.C. these past several years. One of the things I’m just learning now is that a successful co-op as much about the process, the culture, and the people as anything else.

We’re hoping we can all learn from each other by creating a space where we show up with care and generosity to deepen our own self-awareness and look deeper into ourselves for that defining question: the quest that unleashes that deeper power and purpose for our lives.

My goal with the Incubator is to share an experience of the core leadership frameworks that have helped CPA get where we are, and that we believe will help CPA live into this next phase of growth and implementation.

In the Incubator we want you to synthesize all that you know about what’s wrong with our economy and our community institutions. These are the truths we know in and through our bodies, the traumas we’ve endured and those of close friends and family. When we combine that knowledge with a more holistic process, we unlock the transformative potential of your local work and the federated work of this broader collective you are joining. We want the deep wisdom and genius that’s inside of you to be unleashed.

– Felipe