What is an Evolving Alternative?
An example: Democracy arose in our world as an alternative form of government to authoritarianism and aristocracies. It created an alternative that provided for greater fairness, equality, justice, opportunity and empowerment. It was in service of the greater good and to this day continues its evolutionary journey.
My "Standard" Bio
I'm John Shapiro, and here is my more "standard" bio i.e. a set of info about my education and work experience: I have 5+ years experience in nonprofit, leadership & coaching work, 10+ years as an educator, 15+ years in technology and 25+ years in the arts. I hold a B.A. in Music and Certificate in the Authentic Leadership from Naropa University, and I also attended Berklee College of Music and University of Colorado - Boulder. Additionally, I was a fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership in 2011. I've been an active social entrepreneur, creating various greater good projects since 2008. I've run a successful music instruction small business since 2004, during which time I developed awesome, innovative, practical methodologies for teaching voice and guitar. I worked as a software engineer from 1999 to 2003, contracting with clients such as HP, Visa and Bank of America. I'm an artist that's been involved in many creative projects over the years including co-writing/producing an original theater piece, recording original music and creating & performing with various bands. I am currently a performing member of the Faceplant Playback Improv Theater Group.
My "Non-Standard" Bio: What Has Shaped Me & Informs Me Now
Here is the "non-standard" bio i.e. a set of experiences and practices that have shaped me and inform my coaching/consulting, my own projects and my life:
Fearless Learning: To endeavor to learn what we don't know with a willingness to fail, to make mistakes and to persist allows for real growth, evolution and possibilities that our play-it-safe-do-only-what-we-are-good-at selves can only dream of. Through an attitude of "I can figure this out", I taught myself piano and successfully auditioned for entrance into a college music program; I learned to write software and was hired as a successful software engineer; I learned how to teach voice and guitar lessons, started a successful small business and developed an awesome, innovative, practical teaching methodology; I bought a fixer-upper house and learned how to remodel it; I figured out how to start a nonprofit and take its work nationally... to name a few.
Mindfulness Practice: The practice of self-awareness and self-acceptance allows for deep insight, focus and attention and is a "house cleaning" for the Self, giving space for greater clarity and healthier decision making. Since 1994, I've spend thousands of hours practicing mindfulness via ten day Vipassana meditation retreats, meditating on my own and other mindfulness techniques.
Creativity: When we authentically open to our inner unknown, we can create, express, problem solve, innovate and evolve, and reach far beyond the limits of the predictability of what we know. I was an avid "artist" as a child: painting, ceramics, wood working, and then I discovered music. I've been creating, playing, writing, recording and performing music for over 25 years. I also love to dance, have dabbled in theater and currently perform with a Playback-style improv theater troupe.
Teaching: When we teach what we know, we greatly expand the depth and breadth of our craft and connect more authentically with ourselves and those with whom we share our gifts. I've been teaching music since 2004, and I've worked with hundreds of different students with different dispositions and at different skill levels. I developed awesome, innovative, practical methodologies for teaching voice and guitar. In during this whole process, I've learned invaluable things about myself and relating to others.
Contemplative Education: Contemplative education seeks to engage the mind, heart and body to create a wholistic learning experience which in turn cultivates a graduate capable of full, compassionate, balanced engagement in work, life and play. After realizing that attending "the best modern music school in the world" was killing the joy I had for music, I transferred to Naropa University and graduated with a B.A. in Music in 1996. I went back in 2010 to get my Certificate in Authentic Leadership.
Leadership Education: The idea that leaders are born and "just have it" is limited, as learned leadership models and skills can have a profound and positive effect on a leader's ability to create, transform and guide. I have deep passion for cultivating my leadership knowledge and skills. I participated in Naropa's Authentic Leadership program in 2010 and was a fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership in 2011.
Small Business Owner: The nuts and bolts of endeavoring to make something of our own expands our resourcefulness, strength and clarity. I've owned small businesses since 1999 and have been fully self-employed since 2004. And along the way, I've done it all: Marketing, taxes, accounting, customer service and of course the work itself. I put food on my table and pay my mortgage based on how well I make my small business happen.
Jack of Many Trades: Why stay limited? If we love something, we do it boldly and we succeed and we fail and we learn and we grow. My passions have resulted in a dynamic skillset: photography, software engineering, book writing, audio production, filmmaking, house remodeling, songwriting, graphic design, improvisational theater, nonprofit creation... to name a few.
My Intentions in My Work & Life
To serve the greater good: The work I do has the underlying intention of being of service and help to others. I define service and help broadly: From creating opportunities for community, to creating systemic political change, to teaching others to communicate more respectfully and much more. I define "greater good" as improving the health of a situation while doing as little harm as possible whether it is environmentally, psychologically, spiritually, physically, politically and/or financially. My projects and assistance serve the greater good of ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities and our entire world.
To work for fairness, equality, equity justice & opportunity: I value and work towards the ideals of fairness, equality, equity, justice and opportunity for all. I believe that these are the primary building blocks of creating better circumstances for all individuals and communities.
To serve others with compassion, open-heartedness, kindness and goodwill: I define compassion as the understanding of another's suffering and the desire to alleviate that suffering. I strive to bring compassion, open-heartedness, kindness and goodwill to the work that I do.