The Dangers of Lowest Common Denominator Thinking

I think that much of the mire our world has fallen into is the result of lowest common denominator thinking.

For example, as an urban designer, I was disheartened by the watered down design plans we created in the name of community process.

All too often we allowed people’s fears, doubts, misapprehensions, and lack of knowledge to dictate the final outcome for the design of what could have otherwise been a gloriously beautiful urban space.

It was like each fear and each doubt pulled out a piece of what made it beautiful, section by section, until there was hardly anything left.

Yes, it’s true that it’s much easier to find a parking space in front of a strip mall than it is to find one on a small-scale street with lots of shops and overfull parallel parking. But which experience feeds your soul? Which one makes you want to stop the car and check out what everyone is looking at or try that cute little ice cream shop with the big line in front of it?

The Conversation

Similarly, when we plan our own lives, we allow our dreams to be watered down before we even give them the chance to be named. We don’t think, “Ooh, that’s interesting, I wonder how I could do that?” Or, “I wonder how can I take that idea to its highest level of expression?”

Instead we think, “There’s no way that will work. It’ll never happen. I won’t be able to make a living doing that.” That’s the default refrain we hear.

Take The Limiters Out of the Equation

It’s like we’re looking for the lowest common denominator solution first. We bring in the limiting criteria or dismiss alternatives way too early in the process, rather than giving ourselves the chance to Dream Big and imagine what’s possible.

And we do this in so many areas of our lives. We allow fear to dictate the way we birth babies, raise children, run our organizations, deal with politics, grow our food, take care of our planet, choose our careers, and so much more. Are we really only here to cover our butts, pay our bills, live in urban jungles, and just “get by”?

I don’t think so.

Each one of us, EVERY one of us, has a higher calling to fulfill. We have a purpose, a passion, a raison d’être. We simply have to allow ourselves the time and space to find our way to what it is that we were put here to do, and to design — in its full, glorious potential — what that is going to look like.



If you aren’t clear on your life purpose — what you were put here to do — I hope you’ll consider joining me for my upcoming Claim Your Calling life purpose and essential self workshop intensive coming up on March 4th. Early registration (save 25%) 797ends February 11th (this Friday). Details.



Big Dream Actioneering

I’ll be posting about my Big Dream action steps this Friday, and I hope you’ll join me to celebrate your progress as well.



What’s Jenna Up To?

~> NEW DATE: March 4, 2011. Virtual Workshop: Claim Your Calling: 5 Steps To Get You Back On Track With What You Were Put Here To Do. Details. Early registration ends February 11th — Save 25% when you register by this Friday.

Commit to Your Big Dream

Because Dreaming Big is the best place to start…

My Big Dream (in addition to making a Big Difference in the world for others) is to be a writer — a Sci Fi writer no less, though most likely also a self-help writer Revolutionary Philosopher as well.

About a week ago I wrote my very first sci fi screenplay, under the gun of a competition deadline no less (big yikes). It may not be my best work ever, and it may not win the round I was competing in, but I DID IT. That’s what counts to me.

Since then, as I’ve been crafting and clarifying my next Big Direction for my coaching business (seems like everything is getting Big around here all of a sudden; I like it!), I realized that I need to make a much Bigger :) commitment to my own Big Dream.

… And does even better with a commitment

So, I just cleared space in my calendar every workday (that’s Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) for one hour of writing time. And during that time, I will NOT be writing ezines, or blog posts, or articles, or web copy. Oh no.

What I WILL be doing is writing my feature length screenplay, come hell or high water. I will allow other Big writing projects during that time, e.g. writing my book, “Hey Folks, We’re Doing It All Wrong,” if I’m overcome with a massive inspiration. But it has to be Big Writing to qualify for that time block.

… And follow through

I intend to let you know how it’s going on the blog as a weekly accountability deal.

I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle it when I’m away or facilitating retreats quite yet (probably I’ll have to do a little schedule rearranging), but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

(I’m also sure my organizing coach will have some suggestions, and she’s the only one allowed to comment on this matter (see my request below). :) )

Drum roll, please, for the Big Invitation

This is where you come in: I’d like to invite you to join me. What’s your Big Dream? How have you committed to making it happen? I want to help you get your art, your message, or your movement to your audience, too.

Take a moment to think about your Big Dream and share what it is in the comments section below. Then tell us, how are you committing to making that happen?


In the spirit of Havi Brooks’ “Comment Zen,” I have this request:

Since I am exploring how to be more transparent, raw, vulnerable, and in my full, messy delicious creative energy in my posts, here’s what I would love to hear:

  • How you personally are doing whatever I’m writing about for yourself.
  • How my writing sparks something for you.
  • About your own stories, ideas, musings, and wonderings.

And I would love to skip:

  • You feeling like you need to take care of me, give me useful suggestions, or other well-meaning but unsolicited advice.

Thank you!


What’s Jenna Up To?

~> January 21st & 22nd, 2011. Voice Your Vision Mastermind Retreat. In-Person Workshop in Berkeley, California. Clarify your unique vision to implement your Life Purpose in a specific, step-by-step plan. Details:

~> January 27th & 28th, 2011. Powerful Strategies to Slay Your Inner Critic Demons So You Can Leap Into the Creative Spotlight.” Appearing as a guest expert at Baeth Davis’s “Claim Your Spotlight” program in Los Angeles, California.

~> NEW DATE: February 22, 2011. Virtual Workshop: Claim Your Calling: 5 Steps To Get You Back On Track With What You Were Put Here To Do. Details. Early registration ends January 27th.