In Write Your Hard Steps Story, I told a story about living by a value.

<aside> 📖 We first made eye contact while waiting in line for dinner. A man had cut in line, just in front of us, and she made a little gesture—towards him but intended for me—as if to say "be my guest" to the interloper. I smiled big. I liked her, and decided to maybe make friends.

Later, in a dance class, she couldn't keep up with the choreography. I saw her struggling and feeling bad, and wanted to signal my compassion somehow. I was finally able to do this on the way out of class, by mentioning one of my own experiences when I couldn't keep up.

At lunch on the third day, I found a quiet spot away from the rest of the group. She saw me across the grass and pointed to ask if she could come join me. I nodded. After eating our food for a bit she sighed before proceeding. I could tell she was going to share something hard, and I put my food down.


In this exercise, we'll take a story like that, and make a "step sketch" a small social design in our intended area, which focuses on one hard step.

My turn

I'll focus my step sketch on one hard step. This one (taken from the list I made in Write Your Hard Steps Story):

signal my compassion → mentioning one of my own experiences - actions that show compassion

What I want to do is sketch what a "founder dating" event might look like, if it was all about making this one hard step of vulnerability easier for participants.

<aside> 👩‍🎤 My sketch.

Anonymous founder hardships are collected at the beginning and then read aloud. After each is read, there are a few minutes for people to respond verbally and publicly to what's been read. They can say something like "oh man, that shit happened to me too" or whatever.

After, some mingling.


Your turn

Write up a hard steps story, if you don't already have one handy. Then make a step sketch, focusing on how to make your social design better for one hard step.

<aside> 👉 This sequence is continued in Chapter 5. Funnels, Tubes, and Spaces, with Step Sketch #2 — Ritual.