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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed entrepreneur and author Sally Dominguez about her life and career, what inspires her, and the creative process that went into her new book EPIC Resilience.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I trained and practiced as an architect, designed a couple of award-winning products and pioneered some new manufacturing details in that process because I came from outside the industry….then judged innovation on TV, designed an innovation thinking strategy and now work as an entrepreneurial futurist helping people strategize into the Fourth Revolution.

Sally Dominguez, author of EPIC Resilience, interview on The Table Read
Sally Dominguez

I’m a high energy, big thinking, super curious, adventurous lover of life with a huge appreciation for my community and my family. I’m really excited about the potential my EPIC strategy has to impact people and spread optimism and generally combat this global spread of fear and mistrust.

When did you first WANT to write a book? 

Several years ago my Adventurous Thinking students started really hassling me to write a book on that strategy. I spoke to a publisher and at that time I wanted to use QR codes to link to online case studies that I could continually update. She said – “The QR code is dead” which just shows that timing is everything!

I started that book but got distracted. Happens a lot! BUT then COVID stripped me of all my in-person work for several months and at the same time I noticed more than half the people around me – family, friends, work colleagues – were sitting in PJs, drinking, waiting for someone to “fix the problem” and I realized that so many people have become dependent.

So many people have lost their ability to jump into the unknown and “fix things” themselves. I realized I needed to whip up a book stat that was simple, quick, and enabled all people to stop and consider their resilience in terms of strength and growth mindset, and level up.

As a futurist and strategist, I know that COVID simply pulled the Fourth Revolution forward a few years: we were always going to see this level of disruption and meltdown but the overnight digitization of everything forced by COVID launched us into this new era. We are living through a social transformation akin to that of the industrial revolution. Our era is the rise of machine intelligence and the human response needs to be a switch to creative thinking. SO – EPIC resilience needed to happen because the fear we are seeing is contagious and polarizing and we need to lead through this period with hope and inclusion.

When did you take a step to start writing?

Beginning of COVID. All my work as a speaker and Mindset coach was put on hold. I gave myself three months to pull together all my thinking around mindset shift, inclusion, idea-sharing and growth mindset. Then I used the Pomodoro timer to get it done!

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

12 months. I had a very clear vision of a short, almost pamphlet-like book with a “book within a book” layout so you could flip the blue quotes and get quickly inspired or read my text for a deeper dive. I was aiming for 10,000 words but all 12 of my readers asked for more detail and more exercises so I expanded. I self-published because I wanted it to be available quickly and I got sick of having to show publishers a target audience, my social media numbers etc.

This book is for everyone. Its quick and easy but it’s also meaningful and impactful. I had to get it done.  We will release the Spanish language version of EPIC Resilience in late December 2021.  I’m hoping to record my audio version this month also.

What made you want to write EPIC Resilience? 

I am deeply concerned at the global levels of fear and mistrust, both emotions that make people suspicious, angry, feeling powerless. I wanted to help people understand and discover that every human has the ability to be resilient, to thrive in uncertainty by using their incredible creative thinking power to ideate, idea-share and connect with others.

I am concerned with the sky-high teen suicide rates in the USA, and the research that shows generation Z fearing job security and climate change like no other generation has. I know that if people feel optimistic, creative and connected, the future looks good.

Anything is possible. We can tackle the big global issues as well as local issues with confidence and big thinking. And we can harness the new exponential technologies to realize this big solutions.

What were your biggest challenges with writing EPIC Resilience?

Sally Dominguez, author of EPIC Resilience, interview on The Table Read

My ADHD. I get distracted easily and I’m an information and research geek so too easily I head down the rabbit hole of researching a quote, a new report on neural pathways, a new technology. I also assumed too much knowledge of the reader: my test readers were keen on more exercises, maybe even a journal space to work on within the book. My obsession with keeping the word count down turned out to be irrelevant to the readers.

What was your research process for EPIC Resilience? 

My day job is researching and future trends. I’m constantly reading new reports, new research, interviewing people. Because I was already using some of this material in my Adventurous Thinking workshops it was more a curation of the information I had, then finding new pieces to ensure it was as current and thoughtful as possible.

I ran the first draft past a diverse group of people ranging in age from 19 to 68, a very mixed demographic. I also made a 10-day EPIC exercise with videos and daily feedback to see if EPIC worked better as an APP and I beta-tested that on another 15 people. The research and the feedback were very interesting.

How did you plan the structure of EPIC Resilience? 

I had already structured the strategy in Quadrants, so the flow was pretty straightforward: define the concept, define each quadrant, assess where you are currently at then work on improving and balancing. THEN radiate optimism through building connections. Systems and strategy design is what I do. I think it all comes from my architectural training.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did EPIC Resilience need?

I didn’t employ an editor but two friends who are editors read it for me and made suggestions. I also took suggestions from my initial readers. I am very conversational in the way I write and some of my formal English was a bit “how you going” so I really appreciated more detail-oriented friends helping me upgrade my language!

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Just start writing using a timer for 25-minutes every day. File each piece so you can patch it all together later. Developing the habit of writing is the crucial strep. Overplanning a book is very much like sinking into the quagmire of a business plan. SO much advice out there, so much to distract you from actually getting the thing done. Just start writing.

Don't get caught plagiarizing

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Yes!  This writing experience has been so enjoyable that I am inspired to write the big book: The Adventurous Thinking strategy that I’ve been teaching for years at Stanford, at Singularity, and various organizations around the world.

Adventurous Thinking uses five lenses – Negative Space, Thinking Sideways, Thinking Backwards, ReThinking and Parkour – to push users way outside their expertise and into the realm of possibility thinking and imagination.

It is the proactive version of Design Thinking plus some disruption and backcasting.  And I WILL be using QR codes to link to online case studies that I can update! It will be a very graphic book. I’m excited.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I have had such great feedback – it’s a really good feeling. I wasn’t sure if EPIC would resonate, and I wasn’t sure who my audience would turn out to be. Unexpectedly, I head from a bunch of readers in their early 20s who told me they loved the boundary work and had never heard of boundaries.

Now I am working with Australian education specialists Clickview to create a 12-part video series of EPIC Resilience that will be free for schools across the world. Everybody needs to think about values and create boundaries. Everybody needs to be aware of their own tendencies and abilities.

As Jung observed, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

https://www.epicresilience,com  (you will find the EPIC Quiz on this site and also via this QR code)

Book on Amazon

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