Suggested Song: New Year’s Day, U2
Suggested Drink: Veuve Clicquot champagne (to ring out the old, in the new!)

At the Interprize® Group we are thrilled with big changes for 2015, including the launch of a new website (click here to see) and set of accelerator workshops (dates to be announced soon). Come see what the buzz is all about!

I am finishing 2014 on an emotional high after leading another Interprize Workshop here in Aix, my third at the local IAE Graduate School of Management. The scope of interprize projects that students brought for development was inspiring, as I’ve come to expect from this school, and participation in the program continues to grow. We had wine bars and cafes and even a food-truck plan, nonprofits focused on baseball and football (soccer) sports camps for kids, schools for the underserved in Africa and Asia, career ambitions in acting, fashion and graphic design, various mobile apps, a variety of clean energy solutions, and too many other fascinating ideas to list.

The Interprize Workshop, IAE 2014


Over the 3-day workshop each of the aspiring interpreneurs considered their interlectual property and natural strengths, styles and passions, framed their interprize ambitions in terms of value and offering and market and customer, defined their personal stage of launch, worked through an execution plan of key milestones until their interprize was fully implemented, and announced steps they could take in the following day, month and year to move forward.

workshop2No entrepreneurial activity remains viable long-term without respect for balance and interpreneurial pursuits are no exception. Interspersed with our sessions on project planning were happy hours, with a focus on the power of positive emotions and practices to stimulate them. I think the chocolates test for vision expansion was a favorite (who knew those cherry-filled candies were spiked with liqueur!). We also built a paper chain of our change bracelets and burned them in the campus courtyard at noon, picture at right. On Friday afternoon my Interprize Group partner Jaki Weller led the class through 2 hours of yoga, meditation, and an insightful nutrition primer. All very unconventional for an IAE business seminar and thought provoking for the participants.

2015 will bring a few changes for my faithful readers to note. As mentioned above we’re launching an Interprize Group website (click here to view) full of resources on interpreneurship, life balance, and the pursuit of one’s grand ambitions, and I encourage you all to join … and please bring friends! With today’s internet inundation of spammers and bots I have to ask you to register, … my apologies. The Group is being launched with my partners Jaki Weller and Mary Carey and we’ll be listing workshop events for 2015 soon plus AMAZING daily references to the latest thinking on all things interpreneurial.

This Postcards blog will remain live and my outlet for monthly essays and new music releases. New music releases you ask? Yes, a collection of tunes is in development for the new year. She’s My Babe was the first of what I plan to be a dozen new recordings. It’s been an interesting 2014 full of rich and deliciously provocative inspiration and that would be a shame to waste!

I wish you all the very best with your year-end plans and a 2015 full of good health, grand ambitions, and deep reward.

Bill Magill

Suggested Song: Iron Man, Black Sabbath
Suggested Drink: A rich chocolate milkshake (full of carbs and protein for post-race recovery)

The 4th annual Ironman 70.3 of Aix-en-Provence brought 1,676 athletes and their supporters into town in early May. Uberjocks and jockettes filled the juice joints on Saturday, topping off their pregame power reserves, and then the many bars and pubs on Sunday for a well-earned post race reward and system flush. The commercial caravan in tow rivaled the Tour de France invasion from last summer. Open tents aligned along Cours Mirabeau were filled with top brands of racing bikes, running shoes, shorts and tee shirts, insulated swim wear, sun glasses, water bottles, coffee mugs, energy drinks and inspired consumers. Now if I just had that cool hat I could clip 2 minutes off my time!

ironman.jpgSpotting Ironpeople around town is relatively straightforward: look for expensive competition gear clinging to lean, muscular frames and registration numbers tattooed in Sharpie black along buff upper arms. The lack of body fat is another dead giveaway. Swimming 2 kilometers in open water, running a half marathon, or biking 90 kilometers over hilly Provence terrain; each alone would test the mettle of we mere mortals. Completing them in sequence over a warm Sunday morning defies belief. It’s not a pursuit forgiving of the few extra pounds acquired for winter insulation. It amazed me that the rigorous Aix 70.3 is just a half-competition. A full Ironman doubles the 3 distances covered.

Preparing for a triathlon demands real commitment. The training schedule offered in the Ironman website (click here to access) covers 6 months of preparation, ramping up to at least 2.5 hours per day of swimming, biking and/or running by month 5. And more than physical endurance training is needed to compete effectively. A balanced, healthy diet is key to building and replenishing energy stores, and mental conditioning is vital to overcome the many walls encountered through the long weeks of training and final race.

Anyone taking on a grand ambition – writing the next great American novel, opening a restaurant, buying a surf shop on some distant exotic island – can learn much about effective prep from the triathlon regime. We go through stages of contemplation, planning and action when considering major life projects or the immense challenge of an Ironman competition. In cases of profound aspiration I can think of 5 common elements that directly impact the chances of success when transitioning from plan to action:

  1. Commitment – to the months of hard work that follow your initial flash of inspiration.
  2. Pacing – to avoid overreach and burnout after that initial charge of adrenalin-fueled enthusiasm.
  3. Balance – among the holy trinity of mind (knowing your heading), body (having a sound ship) and spirit (building the passion to overcome the challenges).
  4. Partners – for mutual support and encouragement through the many miles of training, breakdown, rebound and achievement.
  5. Objective – to define the end goal and know when we’ve reached it.

Eiffel tower.jpgWhat am I missing?

A final thought on the properties of iron. It’s incredibly strong when well maintained but susceptible to rust and decay when neglected. Many of us entertain grand ambitions – what I call Intérprize® plans – at mid life, as the distractions of kids and career recede and our priorities turn to self realization; to the this is my time now time. If there is nothing pushing us to excel at this age the rust creeps in, and that fear motivated the few older Ironman competitors with whom I chatted to take on this challenge post 50. What is your challenge and is there an Ironman within ready to pursue?


Bill Magill

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:

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