Our world is seriously crazy. (And getting worse every day.)

In just the last month, nearly 100 people have been shot dead in the U.S. (see Gun Violence).

Every time you turn around, someone else is (rightly) up in arms about sexual harassment and gender violence (see #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen).

And let’s not forget there are fellow humans literally dying from poverty. From the effects of climate change-induced natural disasters. From corporate greed and outright political fuckery.

You don’t even need to watch the news anymore to be heartbroken and overwhelmed with fear.

Just open Facebook for an hour or so. There’s enough negativity there to fuel a space shuttle.

When stuff like this happens (and it happens with ever-increasing frequency), I struggle to speak up.

I’m stuck between the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and the desire to say what’s on my mind and in my heart, fearlessly.

Does it surprise you that I’m a lover, not a fighter?

Would it surprise you to know that I consider myself a feminist?

That I’m in favor of gun-control. And net neutrality. And gay rights. And equal opportunity. And affordable healthcare for all?

It might.

Because I usually steer clear of debates — online or off.

Debates — at least the heated ones — make me squirm.

The kind that rile us up but go nowhere (or at least seem to go nowhere) make me want to poke my eyes out.

They also make me sad. And depressed.

And no, I don’t think a hashtag or a Facebook post is going to help us make progress.

So rather than spend energy on the drama of it all, I stay quiet.

My cynical side takes over and I convince myself that it’s pointless to take a stand on these problems when really — they’re all too big to solve anyway.

Besides, which one would I even choose?

Wanna know what’s crazier than that?

That you or I think we could build a freaking business in the midst of this chaotic world.

Why the hell should we care about email open rates or writing another damn blog post? #FirstWorldProblems are so ridiculous.

If we’re all going to hell in couture hand-basket, why bother?

It feels like we’re all treading water in a shark-infested sea. And the logical thing — the kinder thing — would be to relax and let the hungry beasts devour us.

My grass-is-always-greener voice tells me it would be so much easier to get a J-O-B.

There’d be all that extra time, energy and money, right?

Time to spend with our families.

And maybe energy left over to volunteer or work for one of the many causes we believe in.

Do you ever feel that way?

Here’s the truth: almost every entrepreneur and self-employed person I know wails occasionally about the entrepreneurial roller-coaster.

How tired and fed up they are with the daily struggle, the crazy clients and unpredictable cash flow.

How sure they are that they’ll never be good enough. Because someone else is always doing it bigger, better and brighter.

And most of those big-hearted people? They’re also feeling hopeless about our collective future.

They, too, wonder if some days it wouldn’t be easier (and wiser) to throw in the towel.

Even the ones who look like they’ve got their shit together. Even the ones who do have their shit together.

We all feel the crushing weight of this tumultuous world on top of the burden of running a business.

What If There Was Another, Greater Truth?

I like to believe there’s a world where fabulous days are actually the norm.

Where fear and violence and all the -isms on this planet trend downward, rather than always up.

Where we all care more about the depth of our relationships than the size of our bank accounts.

A world where everyone gets it. And everyone lives it. Fearlessly.

Where we aren’t afraid to speak up or take action or do what we love for a living, because we know that we have a safety net: each other.

The way we get there? Through our connections with each other.

We ARE interdependent. We just need to acknowledge and embrace that fact.

ubuntu-sayingOur relationships are so very precious. And they are what will save us.

Real conversations. Deep, heart-to-heart human interactions.

And not just when it’s easy. But when we’re most challenged.

Like right flippin NOW. Today.

But we’ve got to do more than tweet out hashtags and comment on social media posts.

We’ve got to build and deepen our connections with our clients, vendors, blog readers…with everyone we come in contact with.

And to do that, we’ve got to actually spend quality time together. To expand our circles of reciprocity and see each other as real human beings.

My Big Why — in business as well as life — is the Deepening and Blooming of our relationships.

And I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

For the last two months, I’ve been telling you about the Storytelling Soiree.

Inviting you to come. Teasing you with stories of what we’ll do together.

I’ve approached the marketing of this event in a mostly traditional way. With early bird and bring-a-friend pricing. With emails and Facebook ads that took you to the sales page. Which then asked you to plunk down nearly $400 for the privilege of attending.

(Really, a total steal when you consider all the delicious food and drink is included.)

The ticket price was more than attractive and fair.

And I believed my vision of what we’d do together — and the value you’d get from attending — would be more than enough to get you here.

That the destination (Portland) would even sweeten the deal.

But I forgot something crucial: Your business dreams might still be a whole lot bigger than your bank balance.

After all, most of my clients are still in their early days of business-building.

So here’s what I’ve decided to do:

1. Gift TEN scholarships for those with a sincere financial need.
2. Slash regular admission by 60% to just $147.

This means I’m willing to invest ALL of my time in YOU.

This won’t be a revenue-generating event, but rather my gift to your/our business relationships and ultimate success.

If you’d like to be considered for one of the scholarships, please fill out an application here. (I’m not going to ask you to share financial details about your current situation, but you should be able to talk about where you are, what your big dreams and goals are, and what you can bring to the event in terms of your own energy and expertise.)

And if you’re the kind of entrepreneur who wants to focus on going deep with your audience (versus building big and wide), then grab yourself a seat today.

The event will be small (just 50 people). There are currently 39 seats left. Ten of those will be gifted as scholarships. That leaves space for just 29 more big-hearted, slightly rebellious, indie biz owners like you.

Let’s spend some quality time together next month.

Let’s get to know each other. To know ourselves, our individual genius and purpose and how we can use all of it to create a better world.

Let’s learn how to listen to each other and share our stories.

Braveblogging21When we do that kind of work together — each of us in our own way — we’ll build the safety net we need.

The one that allows us space to breathe and relax into our fearlessness.

The one that makes us brave enough to create the changes — big and small — that our world so desperately needs.

Are you with me?

(NOTE: If you really can’t attend the Soiree, please PLEASE find or create something in your neighborhood. If we all focus on the Deepening, we just might turn this crazy ship around.)

This post was inspired in part by Illana Burke’s #BraveBlogging project. Learn more here.

photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc