Meet Susie Wyshak. She believes in dreams. More importantly, she believes in chasing after and accomplishing those dreams in life. The San Francisco resident thinks that not only should everyone have a concise list of life goals but that they owe it to themselves to nurture and rigidly go after these dreams, no matter how ridiculous or far-fetched they may seem to the rest of the world.
So, being a woman of action, Susie decided to do something about this. A couple of years ago the LA transplant launched her website SuperViva.com where she encourages people to draw up "life lists" (kinda similar to the theme of that recent movie The Bucket List). Her goal is to inspire people to develop their inner goals in life (mostly dreams already in peoples' subconscious-- just not fully hatched & realized) and make a life list of these personal goals, and then one by one go about executing them.
Susie, an Amoeba fan and dedicated music lover (who "grew up during the great 80s punk era" in SoCal) already had her own life list but thought the web would be the perfect place for keeping a long list of ideas and tracking how they are developing: a way for herself and others to stay on track with their life lists by posting updates. When Susie meets people she gives them one of her SuperViva business size cards which encourage people to "LIVE A FULL LIFE" -- her mantra -- and she also invites them to "jot down their top dreams" which she hopes they will do, and perhaps post the results on her site. Recently she did something a little different -- she trekked around the Bay Area to cold interview strangers (a "brainstorming project" is what she called it) and posted the results on her site. I recently caught up with Susie to ask her about SuperViva, her own life goals, and, of course, music.
AMOEBLOG: For someone who knows nothing about the SuperViva project, can you describe it?
SUSIE WYSHAK: SuperViva is mainly the website, which connects people around the world to share ideas in addition to making their life list. Seeing other people’s goals is handy since many people have a lot of basic goals in common (like skydiving). My main desire was to inspire people, and have the network effect of them inspiring other people, to direct their energy toward activities that would lead to a fulfilling life.
The dog cartoon on the site is the “mascot” and is featured on stuff in the site’s store. It’s funny how kids love saying “I’ve always wanted to do that” and of course like the cartoon, which was unexpected but fun. I also blog about the successes various SuperViva members have had in pursuing goals from their life lists, as well as other topics that might spur people into living their dream lives.
The brainstorming project was something I wanted to do on my own. One of my biggest passions is generating and building upon ideas to help people or businesses reach their goals. I recently started offering an “Idea Coach” service for this very purpose. I’ve been to brainstorming “idea parties” before and am planning a series of brainstorming/social events. Also I recently met a guy who types poetry for people at random public events, on a manual typewriter, who really inspired me to pursue more public interaction projects.
AMOEBLOG: What are the main questions that you ask people in these brainstorming sessions?
SUSIE WYSHAK: I try to keep it simple to start with: Is there anything in your life you’ve been trying to figure out? Maybe something you want to do and you need ideas of how to do it? If they can’t think of anything then I might prompt to ask what their biggest dream is. There’s usually something people have in mind that lights them up.
AMOEBLOG: I imagine that it can it be difficult approaching total strangers to ask them questions about their lives. Is it?
SUSIE WYSHAK: Definitely. I found having the sign helped, as people could read it in advance and if they seemed interested I’d walk over. Once I got into it, I realized it wasn’t scary after all. And most people seemed receptive at least to hear me. The thing is, you never know what someone’s going through at the moment. So it’s important not to take it personally if people react negatively.
Susie's Top FIve Music Moments in Life List:
1. Seeing Kiss as a kid and going to an after party with my parents.
2. All the times I saw my favorite old school punk bands, smashed in a crowd of fans
3. Singing a Descendents song, very horribly I might add, at Punk Rock Karaoke.
4. Dancing in the carnaval in Brazil along with a girl drum band, kind of a female Olodum, after I'd bought their CD a few years before.
5. Hearing my favorite Bebel Gilberto song play in a small town in Brazil where I'd taken surfing lessons. One of those times when life seemed perfect.
PS: My future ones will be being a guest DJ, and seeing Led Zeppelin, which of course are on my life list.
AMOEBLOG: Do you feel that you are following your own dreams in your life as you would wish to?
SUSIE WYSHAK: I certainly have in many respects and am always thinking about what I want to work on next. The thing I like about having my long list of things I want to do is if an opportunity pops up, even if it’s something small, like seeing a band, I won’t have to think twice about going for it.
AMOEBLOG: Is the Bay Area a creatively supportive place to live: an environment that encourages people to follow their dreams?
SUSIE WYSHAK: Yes, for sure. So much innovation and creativity has gone on in the bay area related to technology, art and film, music, etc. You can pretty much be whatever and whoever you want to be in the Bay Area and California—if you can afford it!
Susie's Best of the Bay Area Top Five List:
1. The weather!
2. Interesting and beautiful architecture
3. Integration of nature and beautiful cities
4. The sustainable food movement
5. The beaches
AMOEBLOG: Anything you want to add?
SUSIE WYSHAK: Taking improv classes and Toastmasters, where you learn to speak impromptu, have been very helpful for making it easier to wing it and meet new people. It’s exciting to make new connections all over the world.